Swiss writer, philosopher and documentarian Alain de Botton - interview
First record you ever bought
Genesis by Genesis.
Last extravagant purchase you made
An Easter holiday to Istanbul.
First film you saw that really moved you
The Jungle Book.
Last lie you told
That I had read a book I hadn’t.
Last time you cried
When my five-year-old son read a poem out in assembly about his family.
First thing you do when you when you’ve got time off work
Hang out with my kids.
Last great meal you cooked
I never cook well, but recently did some passable salmon.
With the actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Last book you read
John Armstrong’s The Secret Power of Beauty.
First great piece of advice you were given
Finding something difficult is no indication you should give up on it.
Last time you were star struck
When Lou Reed came to a talk of mine in NY.
First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Insist all new housing developments were put in the hands of talented architects.
Last meal on earth – what would it be
I’d be too sad to eat, but hope my children would be there.
First song you’ll sing at karaoke
Phil Collins, ‘Against All Odds’.
Last time you exploited your position to get something
Got free parking at the Oxford Literary festival.
First time you realised you were famous
When recognised at Boots the day after my first documentary was broadcast on Channel 4.
Last time someone criticised your work
About two minutes ago.
First three words your friends would use to describe you
Crazy, anxious, funny.
Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
Bought a horrible carpet in Istanbul.
First concert you ever attended
Bach’s cello suites.
Last time you bought someone flowers
Valentine’s, for my wife.
First object you’d save from your burning home
A painting by Michael Andrews.
Last funny thing you saw online
Larry David on YouTube, love to watch clips of him.
Time Out London, researching a guide to household services.
Last person you fantasised about
I imagined a discussion about literature with Keira Knightley.
First word you spoke
Last crime you committed
Parked in wrong bay.
First song at your (potential) wedding
We had no music.
Last song at your funeral
Bach’s Mass in B Minor, final movement.
First person you’d thank in an award acceptance speech
Last thing you recommended to someone
First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
What am I fighting today.
Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
What to write next.
Alain de Botton appears as part of the School of Life: Live Tour, The Hub, Edinburgh, Thu 24 May.