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Paul Ewen
Paul Ewen

Francis Plug is a key figure in the British Literary scene, regularly found in the company of today's highest profile authors. Based in Tufnell Park, London, he also works as a residential gardener (with very competitive rates). How To Be A Public Author, his first book, was written with the assistance of amanuensis Paul Ewen, a New Zealand writer based in South London. His stories have appeared in the British Council's New Writing anthology, and also in the TES, Tank, and Five Dials. His first book, London Pub Reviews, was called "a cross between Blade Runner and Coronation Street'"(Waterstones) and "a work of comic genius" (Dan Rhodes).

Photo: Matthew Coleman


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Interview with Francis Plug


Francis Plug, of How To Be A Public Author, answers the famous Proust Questionnaire for us:

 

 

Your favourite virtue

The ongoing desire to understand where I am and how I came to be there.

 

Your favourite qualities in a man

Patience, understanding, good humour, kindness, dancing feet, donkey laugh.

 

Your favourite qualities in a woman

[Same as ‘Man’ qualities above.]

 

Your chief characteristic

A nervous energy, leading to laughter, weeping, and shouting with oneself.

 

What you appreciate the most in your friends

I have some new literary friends. When they listen to me yabbering on and on and on, that’s appreciated.

 

Your main fault

The inability to put enough aside for tomorrow, resulting in poverty, debts, and angry letters/phone calls.

 

Your favourite occupation

Gardening is most enjoyable, but as a business proposition it’s a friggin’ nightmare.

 

Your idea of happiness

To be anonymous. And to be paid to write in the pub all day.

 

Your idea of misery

Stuck on a stage, before a sizeable crowd, fending off questions concerning my book and myself, armed only with still or sparkling water.

 

If not yourself, who would you be?

Keri Hulme, Booker Prize-winner, living on an isolated beach on the other side of the world.

 

Where would you like to live?

On an isolated beach on the other side of the world. Or in the dome of the Boston Arms pub, Tufnell Park.

 

Your favourite colour

The rich burnt umber brown of horse poo innards.

 

Your favourite flower

Brugmansia

 

Your favourite bird

My regular companions, the sparrows. They clean themselves in dirt.

 

Your favourite prose authors

George Orwell. George Gissing. I also share some of the same social problems as George Michael.

 

Your favourite poets

Rimbaud, Nick Cave.

 

Your favourite heroes in fiction

Christie Malry, Don Birnam,  Erwin Sommer

 

Your favourite heroines in fiction

Istina Mavet, Daphne Withers, Anna Kavan

 

Your favourite composers

Mahler, Spike Milligan

 

Your favourite painters

Vincent van Gogh. I also see myself in many Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach works.

 

Your heroes in real life

J.G. Ballard, Oliver Reed.

 

Your favourite heroines in real life

Keri Hulme, Janet Frame, Anna Kavan.

 

What characters in history do you most dislike

Those spoilt children who blagged their way into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

 

Your heroines in world history

Mother Theresa, Mother Nature.

 

Your favourite food and drink

Ale pie. Ale.

 

Your favourite names

Wigglebottom. I also like my own name, except when unpleasant people change Francis to ‘Butt’.

 

What you hate the most

I hate the assumption that a person passed out in a doorway with pissy breath, wee-stained trousers and no money can’t be a great writer.

 

World history characters you hate the most

The kings and queens who lived lavishly while the people starved. Most rich and powerful folk tend to be shits.

 

The military event you admire the most

I like when they fly their planes low over the city and discharge coloured smoke. It probably kills the plants though.

 

The reform you admire the most

The end of six o’clock closing was quite something. The smoking ban, not so great.

 

The natural talent you'd like to be gifted with

Self-confidence, banter, slam-down wrestling moves.

 

How you wish to die

Direct meteorite strike. But I’ll probably choke on my pen lid, on the bus.

 

What is your present state of mind?

Right now I’m thinking I could beat Proust in a bit of rufty-tufty.

 

Which fault have you most tolerance for?

Shyness, awkwardness, drunkenness.

 

Your favourite motto

You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.

 

 

Read more about Francis in Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author, by Paul Ewen (Galley Beggar Press - September 2014)


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