Last Word - Ewan Morrison

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Ewan Morrison

Novelist Ewan Morrison is the author of Swung. Distance, his second novel, is the story of a long distance relationship. Here he ‘fesses up to the sophisticated joys of prog rock and fishcakes.

First film you saw that really moved you
The Elephant Man. I was 12 and ran away from the TV and wept in the shower for an hour. It was that whole thing about the Cathedral made of matchsticks, and him going to sleep without a pillow even though he knew it would kill him.

Last lie you told
‘Yes, I really respect the work of James Kelman.’

First movie you ever went on a date to
Jaws. An unfortunate choice because I spent the entire movie hugging my knees, while teenagers in the rows behind snogged their faces off.

Last time you cried
On hearing Jose Gonzales cover version of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ on YouTube and realising that it was part of the canon of great songs and could be played on a classical guitar.

First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
I never have time off work. Work is more fun than not working. Having fun is more work than work.

Last time you were chatted up
I never get chatted up. I have to do all the work and have certain secret devices I use, which involve Neuro-Linguistic Programming and body language, which I then, later, have to confess to when in a relationship.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Turn Scotland into a thriving capitalist economy, make it go bankrupt and get a loan from the IMF, like Ireland did. Destroy all the quangos and development agencies. When I lived in America, there was no need for government agencies to try to breed entrepreneurial spirit. Quite the opposite in fact, every person on every street from drug dealer to millionaires was cutting deals. It was the role of government to try to reign it all in.

Last time you were star struck
Paddington Subway. Standing next to Thom Yorke or maybe a Thom Yorke impersonator. He had big shades on so I couldn’t tell for sure. I went to speak to him to tell him that In Rainbows was all I’d listened to for a month. He smiled, nodded and walked away and I said nothing. He is very short but even bigger for it.

First time you realised you were famous
When an American woman proposed marriage to me on a blog, then started sending me take-away Indian food with love notes attached.

Last time someone criticised your work
Last week, as a nominee for the ‘Prince Maurice’ prize for love stories. I made the mistake of reading a particularly sexually explicit bit from my first novel. The judges afterwards, told me that I had been ‘Very brave’ and I knew I had trashed my chances of winning.

First three words your friends would use to describe you
Twitchy, silly, intense.

Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
I don’t do impulse buys. Shops and supermarkets are laid out to encourage such things. It takes me months of careful planning and hand wringing angst to buy anything other than essentials. OK, a can of coke.

First concert you ever attended
OK I admit it, I was a prog rock teenager and I travelled three hundred miles, with my dad, to see Magnum play in a pub in Birmingham. I was fan number one and used to exchange paintings with the fan club secretary who was the lead singer’s mum.

Last time you bought someone flowers
I should have today, maybe there’s still time. It’s my sister’s birthday and I’m wondering if the shops are still open.

Last great meal you cooked
Two years ago. Thai fishcakes with three kinds of fish and coriander. It took three hours to make and I’m sure everyone told me it was fab just cos I took so long to make the damned thing and they wanted to go to bed.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
Mmmm. Bagel with philadelphia cheese.

Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
Maybe if I scrunch up the duvet and hug it, it will approximate the missing human form of my girlfriend who lives in Australia.

Distance is published on 29 June by Jonathan Cape.

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