"Getting to know Sean"  June 2006

These questions were gathered from Sean's Message Board.
1. Angie Hershey, Gahanna, Ohio, USA   
Do you particularly enjoy Shakespeare? If so, which is your favorite play? Mine is "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
A.  I still have a special affection for MacBeth, although that's partly nostalgia. I've been involved in three productions of it and they were all intense experiences in one way or another. There are actually quite a few that I've yet to see performed.
2 Malou (AUS)      
I was reading an article in  Good Reading Magazine about all the famous fantasy novelists coming from Oxford  Uni, And this statement caught my eye: "The Narnia Chronicles and His Dark  Materials are obvious successors to The Lord of the Rings." Do you agree with the statement given?
A.  I was under the impression that Lewis and Tolkien were contempories at Oxford and produced Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia at around the same time. Regardless; I don't think it's a meaningful comparison in either case. Tolkien seems to have been credited with inventing fantasy of late. None of the similarities between His Dark Materials and Lord of the Rings were exactly original when Tolkien was writing. Pullman credits Paradise Lost as the biggest influence on His Dark Materials and that was pretty apparent to me when I was reading it. In my opinion; Philip Pullman is far superior writer to Tolkien or Lewis and doesn't owe much to either of them.
3. Mich Sydney Australia    
What do you think is the most useful invention in the history of inventions?
A. The spear.  Funny you should ask that as I am currently manufacturing them en masse so that I can corner the market when society crumbles and we all have to start hunting and fighting for ourselves again.
4. Lexxxi, Sydney, Australia   
What is the lamest and  most idiotic excuse you have ever come up with and for what?
A.  I once tried to get out of an English test at school by assuring my teacher of two years that I "speekee no eengleesh."
5. Katie Peterson, USA    
What was your favorite movie/scene to shoot and why?
A.  I will never forget shooting the scene in The Winter Guest where Douglas Murphy was skimming stones on the ice and he hit the focus puller (Baz, I think) on the head, knocking him right off his stool. Douglas and my reactions of horror and amusement respectively made for a great blooper.
6. Jenny  Seattle, WA  USA       
If you could bring one person back from the dead and have a private conversation with them, who would it be, and why?

And  also, when I was in Scotland, this guy was trying to explain to me that the  words "shit" and "shite" are both used, but in different contexts. Is that true, and could you perhaps clarify?

A. Chris Whitley.  Because he wasn't finished.

I wasn't aware that there were any strict rules governing when the different
terms applied.

7. Levina W Bandung, West Java Indonesia
Hi, Sean! I have a question here. There are so many people on the internet who pretend to be you. They're faking and tell everyone that they're  the real you. What do you think about these fakers and how do you feel when you  know they pretend to be you?
A.  I think it's fantastic. It's a great safety net. Should I ever do something that I live to regret and wish to shift the blame, I can just say it was a Sean imposter. I may or may not have used this technique in the past.
8. Ashley D Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada 
It's been on  the site your into photography. I was curious to know kind of camera and brand  do you use or own?  Currently I am using a Pentax K100 but am saving up eventually for an SLR,  (and debating whether digital is the way to go).   Any recommendations or any advice?
A.  I am a complete novice when it comes to photography. It's something I keep meaning to learn more about. I seem to have a fairly good eye so a number of shots have turned out well, but it's all been through stabbing in the dark.  Most of the shots on this site were taken with a Fuji S602Zoom which a received as a Christmas gift some years ago and is wasted on me. I am strictly digital but that's just because I'm lazy.
9. Erika Ohio, USA      
I'm currently in the market for a new  racing bicycle. After an interesting accident involving an extremely high curb, a rogue three-year-old and raw potatoes, I am out of a functioning racing bike.  What bicycle would you suggest as a replacement?
 A.  Um......I dunno. I've never bought an off the shelf bike in my life as that isn't how it tends to be done with good road bikes (not among the cyclists I know, at any rate). I do feel quite strongly that carbon fibre as a frame material is a gimmick. The good ones are very expensive and I have seem far too many breaking for no good reason to be confident in riding one. It seems like a lot of bother to save a few grams. Steal or titanium frames and Shimano components are what I tend to go for but a lot depends on how much you're looking to spend. I actually did my first race in years on Wednesday night. Jesus it hurts.
10. Wendy S.   
If you had wings, what would be the first place you flew to?
A.  Toronto, to see my cousins, obviously.  Or Space. Yeah, probably Space.
11. Becca S. South Carolina, USA   
Sean, It seems like you're constantly reading something and have recommended  several titles here on your site. Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide and Philip Pullman's Dark Materials among them (both of which I enjoyed immensely). I was wondering, what are you reading now? And what else would you recommend to an  avid reader with similar tastes?

Also, where exactly does one come up  with a nickname like "The Irreverend Gondola"?

A.  I'm currently slugging my way through War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. It's an enjoyable read but insanely long. I've also read a lot of Chuck Palaniuk and Steven Pressfield recently. Oh, and 'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut is a belter.

He's not a nickname. He's a character, and I have very little control of him.

12. Jessica Little Rock,  AR, USA    
Sean,  Do you think that there is one role out there so  perfect you will never act again? Hypothetically, speaking of course. I mean, seriously, why would you stop because of one role? I don't know why I'm asking that question. I'm taking a psychology class, and I guess I'm trying to find a deep, deep answer.
A.  I don't think so. If I were to stop acting, I doubt that would be the reason. Apart from the fact that it will almost certainly never happen, I don't think art is about trying to obtain some sort of perfection. If you're looking for a psychological reason, it's always seemed to me that there are two main groups of actors; the natural extrovert showmen and the more timid beasts who are only able to perform when they are hiding behind a character. I'm very much the latter, so no matter how good one role was, I would still want to keep hiding behind characters. Like any other art form, I think it's done for it's own sake a lot of the time.
13. Niki C  Fridley, Minnesota USA   
    Q.  I just saw The  Winter Guest and I'm curious, at the end of the movie, you just sorta walked off. Where did you go?
A.  Well, depending on whose take on it you prefer, either a) A premature grave or b) Edinburgh.  Douglas Murphy and I favoured option b at the time as it left the door open for a sequel.
14. Carol W Near Glasgow Scotland         
Y'ello! What would  you say is the 5 greatest albums ever, in your opinion? (obviously)  Thanks!
A.  That's an impossible question but here, in no particular order, are a few of my favourites.

'Abbey Road' by the Beatles
'Forever Changes' by Love
'Tommy' by The Who
'Do you like it here now... Are you settling in?' by Man (and lots of other stuff by them.)
'War Crime Blues' by Chris Whitley (and pretty much everything else by him.)
'Down On The Upside' by SoundGarden
'Try Whistling This' by Neil Finn
'Evil Empire' by Rage Against The Machine
'Waiting For The Sun' by the Doors
'Mock Tudor' by Richard Thompson
'Kick' by INXS
'Queen II' by Queen
'Murder Ballads' by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
'Band On The Run' by Paul McCartney and Wings
'The Bends' by Radiohead (With OK Computer as a close 2nd)
'Californication' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
'We Are All Sluts Of Trust' by Sluts Of Trust (and I'm not just bigging up my mates.)
'Hunky Dory' by David Bowie
'Thank Christ For The Bomb' by Groundhogs

And I reckon if the Child Echo ever get an album out, It'll be right up there.
15. MJ Newfoundland, Canada    
Hiya Sean, First off, congrats on  the Oscar nomination. Secondly, although initially I wasn't particularly fond of the quality of the Renfrew Ferry recordings, I saw you guys play at the Oran Mor  and you blew me away. I had such a great time. So, when are you making an album?  More importantly, when is your Dad making an album? He rocks.
A.  Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. We played in Glasgow last week and that,
unfortunately will be the last time that we are all in the same room together for some months. The only other gig we have booked is at a friends wedding. We're not likely to get time to do much recording this year and God only knows when we'll get round to doing a whole album. We don't  have enough good material and we're not even attempting to do it on a professional basis, so don't hold your breath.
16. Gaby,  Mexico 
If you could only eat one food for the rest of  your life, what would it be? And what drink? 
A.  Sushi and Red Wine.  Although, that really wouldn't be healthy.