Interview: Danny Wallace

After I read Yes Man many moons ago, I felt inspired by the loose ramblings of Danny Wallace. Upon hearing that my new hero hailed from Loughborough, I felt it was our obligation, as a writer and  a sycophant, to find out exactly what this cult leader listens to on his day off.

The man himself and I had an in depth discussion about everything from his love of Star Trekkin' to playing The Sweeny on Loughborough campus...

Hello Danny Wallace! How are we finding you today? Well? I am well, thank you. Just about to head out into central London for something called Karmageddon. I started my own cult about nine years ago, and every December, loads of people descend upon London to carry out our one commandment - to do random acts of kindness. And then everyone piles into a pub. So a goid evening awaits.

You have just returned back from LA filming your new sitcom, How do you find in your experience the British humour, both writing and general demeanour, went down across the pond? Very well, it seems. Both with the books and other projects, the Americans do seem to enjoy our perspective on things. Often they're accused of having no sense of irony, which is clearly untrue - it's the nation that gave us The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Frasier, for example. And as far as British humour goes, they like its relative subtlety, I think. But they also like it when people fall over. Everyone likes it when people fall over.

It's no secret that you grew up in the dreamscape that is Loughborough, What were some of your early memories of the town? It was a great place to spend some formative years, and great for families. Quiet, safe, with excellent university grounds to sneak onto. We used to do that all the time and then spend our days running away from the security guards' dusty blue vans, like a low-budget version of the Sweeney.

What sort of music were you brought up on and did your parents have an influence on your early musical taste? Mum is a Johnny Cash fan, so I remember that being played a lot. The Beatles was played a lot too. And mum would take me down the library where we'd rent a vinyl record from time to time. I remember taping a lot of Queen, and pompously striding about the place like I was Freddie Mercury.

What was the first album brought and gig attended? First single was Lionel Richie's Dancing On The Ceiling, which I thought was amazing. Then some comedy singles like Star Trekkin'. First album I consciously went out and bought was probably Bad by Michael Jackson, which then dominated my life completely and absolutely. First proper gig was probably Oasis as they'd just broken through and become the most exciting band around. It was a warm-up gig, probably only a couple of hundred people, the night before they headlined Glastonbury. Pretty exciting, it was.

You have a few songs recorded on your site, are these a manifestation of young dreams of rock and roll stardom? Heh heh. Not quite. They tend to be associated with specific projects I've done, but you are right, I should be a rock and roll star. Thank you for implying that so clearly.

You're quite a positive person, is there any music that you have to put on when this feeling of positivity dips to get you back up again? The Proclaimers get me happy. When I was a kid I had a Scottish accent as I moved to Loughborough from Dundee, and the Proclaimers were the only band I had come across that sounded just like me. They were important to me, growing up. Still are, I suppose.

Did you listen to the band Yes during the whole yes man project? I did not, although I later found out that a friend of mine's dad was in Yes. He'd never told me.

What's next on the horizon for Danny Wallace? Can we expect another stupid boy project or is it sensible man projects from here on? A little from column A, a little from column B...

Posted on 4th Dec, 2011