Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Akaji Maro, dancer

Akaji Maro is a Butoh dancer and the leader of the Dai Rakuda Kan (Great Camel Battleship) dance troupe. He is also a well-known movie actor in Japan. Internationally, he has appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies. I met him on the 15th of November, 2001 after a Butoh performance. We talked, with the assistance of an interpreter, for around an hour at a coffee shop in Kichijoji, Tokyo. When involved in these kind of interviews, you have two feedback loops to keep an eye on, the actual interviewee and how he responds to questions, but also the translator and how comfortable he looks. Sometimes you notice that the translator is (a) clearly out of his depth, (b) bluffing it, or (c) asking his own questions instead of yours.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Mike Peters, musician

In July 2014, I did a "phoner" (or "skyper") with Mike Peters, the singer and main songwriter of 1980s rock band The Alarm. Here are the first 15 minutes of what turned out to be a one hour interview. In this segment of the interview he used "y'know" a mere 15 times.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Maceo Parker, musician

In February 2014, I did an email interview with Maceo Parker, a famous funk musician, both as a sideman to James Brown and in his own right. As usual with these kinds of interviews it was very much a case of just throwing a batch of rather obvious questions out there and hoping for something good or at least usable in reply. Some punctuation has been corrected.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Hiroshi Ikushima, painter

"Donau Bar" by Hiroshi Ikushima

Sometimes interviewing can be very precise and specific, but other times you just throw out questions and hope for a good response. In February 2012, I interviewed three Realist artists for an article I was writing about the Hoki Museum. As they were all good painters of nudes, I sent them three identical sets of questions. This is the response from Hiroshi Ikushima.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Mark Karpeles & Gonzague Gay-Bouchery, bitcoin "entrepreneurs"

Gay-Bouchery and Karpeles

In early 2013, the “virtual currency” or “crypto commodity” bitcoin was starting to attract a lot of attention around the world. Realizing that Mt. Gox, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, was located here in Tokyo, I decided that it might be a good idea to do an article on it. Around the same time, Mark Devlin, the founder of Metropolis, was in Tokyo trying to start a new magazine called M2. He managed to involve me in the project. Following the launch of what turned out to be the first and last issue, we decided to do a story on bitcoin for a second issue that never appeared. Accordingly, sometime in April, we went along to Mt.Gox’s office in Shibuya to interview the company CEO Mark Karpeles and his right-hand man Gonzague Gay-Bouchery, now notorious around the world following the collapse of Mt.Gox. This is the first 15 minutes or so of what turned out to a long, complex, and baffling interview about something that was there one minute and gone the next.

Monday, 3 February 2014

James May, television presenter

Back in the Summer of 2008 we were motoring across Scotland, driving at a good speed through some moorland in Perthshire, when I spotted a film crew. More surprisingly I recognized the man in front of the camera, none other than "Top Gear" host James May, who was then making a series about beer. The program he was working on that day - the 4th of August - was about heather beer. Anyway, as a bit of a fan of "Top Gear," we immediately stopped and I got out to go and see if I could get a photo. May was genial and friendly and we took a photo together and had a brief chat about his two Top Gear co-hosts, which I recall here purely from memory.