The Poet laureate answers 11 of Prospect's quick-fire questionsby Simon Armitage / July 19, 2019 / Leave a comment
What is the first news event you can recall?
The moon landings in 1969, set against the backdrop of increasing unrest and violence in Northern Ireland.
What is the biggest problem of all?
The climate crisis. It shades into every aspect of life. We’re engineering our own extinction.
If you could spend a day in one city or place at one moment in history, where and when would that be?
Somewhere controversial where I could officiate or make a judgment. Seeing Christ emerge from the tomb? Or on the goal-line at the 1966 World Cup final.
What is your favourite quotation?
Lichtenberg: “To do the opposite is also a form of imitation.”
If you were given £1m to spend on other people, what would you spend it on and why?
I’d give it to the Samaritans. I think the value they place on direct human communication is uniquely compassionate.
What do you most regret?
Not seeing the Sex Pistols when they played their last ever UK gig in Huddersfield, near where I grew up.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That I can fly. I think people would find that very surprising.
What frightens you most?
Ill health, friends and family getting ill, getting old. DEATH!
Are you proud of your country?
Yes, aspects of it. Its arts, its language and literature, its music, the landscape, especially the moors. And I’m very patriotic when it comes to sport—football, F1, rugby union, cricket, the Olympics, tiddlywinks…
Who is your role model?
No one person. I’m in awe of happy people.
Which person (or sort of person) would you most like to spend a day in the shoes of?
I don’t like the idea of putting my feet into someone else’s shoes. Can’t I just pick a new pair of Ben Sherman ankle-length suede loafers?