Today I’m delighted to feature another debut novelist, Richard Lumsden. I was fortunate to meet Richard earlier this year and was somewhat starstruck. Some of the more eagle-eyed among you will probably recognise Richard from his many and varied stage and screen appearances. Based on the reception that his debut novel – The Six Loves of Billy Binns – received, and knowing he has more in the pipeline, I suspect Richard will have to get pretty adept at juggling between writing and acting going forward.
Born in Manchester & brought up in Derbyshire, Richard has worked as an actor in tv, film & theatre for over 30 years. Leading roles in tv series include ‘First Of The Summer Wine’, ‘Sharp End’, ‘Is It Legal’, ‘Wonderful You’, ‘Sugar Rush’ and ‘Millie InBetween’. He has performed in over 30 theatre productions, most recently appearing in ‘White Teeth’ in London. Films include ‘Sense And Sensibility’, ‘Sightseers’, ‘Downhill’ and ‘Darkest Hour’. He is about to start shooting ‘The Singapore Grip’ for ITV.
Writing work includes the 7 hour drama ‘Wonderful You’ for ITV and six verse plays for Radio 4. His debut novel ‘The Six Loves Of Billy Binns’ is published in hardback by Tinder Press. Richard also recorded the audiobook for his novel.
Richard lives in London and has two sons. He is currently finishing a second draft of his next novel.
So over to Richard
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
DAVID BOWIE – ‘SWEET THING / CANDIDATE’ from Diamond Dogs.
I could have chosen so many Bowie songs, but this is dramatic, cool, mysterious and sexy.
Bowie’s voice is astonishing. I was a teenage obsessive and still playing all his records now. Station To Station is probably my favourite album, but that can change on a daily basis.
PREFAB SPROUT – ‘CRUEL’ from Swoon.
In my opinion, the best pop song, written by the best pop songwriter of all time – Paddy
McAloon. I borrowed this album from Bakewell library when it came out in 1984 and struggled to like it at first. As a musician myself I couldn’t work out his chord progressions. I still can’t. Three plays back-to-back and I was in love with it, and I’ve stayed that way ever since. All Prefab Sprout albums are works of art, but Swoon will always be special.
TALKING HEADS – ‘ONCE IN A LIFETIME’ from Remain In Light
It’s not nearly 40 years old, is it? Odd and timeless and fresh as a daisy. It shouldn’t be this beautiful but it just is. And you will ask yourself, how did I get here… Those weird verses and the searing chorus. Haunting and ethereal, same as it ever was.
TALK TALK – ‘AFTER THE FLOOD’ from Laughing Stock.
Ok, so I wrote a novel about an old man trying to remember what love feels like. This piece of music is what I wanted my book to be like. It’s another song I’ve been listening to all my adult life. Mark Hollis’s oblique vocal takes you on a journey to the depths of a broken heart.The music is closer to jazz, but it pins you down and doesn’t let up. Turn the lights off, lie still on the floor and give yourself over to it. Halfway through, the beautiful track gets ripped up by a distorted drone that rattles your head and shows you what a broken heart really sounds like.
CHAKA KHAN – AIN’T NOBODY
I’d rather not to spend my evening dancing (thanks for asking), but this is the one song
impossible to resist getting up for when it comes on.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
I’m not sure if this is a materialistic question, or should I be saying ‘peace & harmony, good health, the love of friends… ’ as three of my five? Let’s take the holistic stuff as read and go for material objects, mainly because it’s more fun:
A beautiful 1970s Hohner acourstic guitar given to me by my American friend Jane when
she went back to the States after college. We had dinner a couple of months ago and I could tell her it’s still lovingly played.
Two paintings by Lincolnshire and Scottish artists (Stephen Newton & David Morrison)
whose works I love. I’ve bought a small number of paintings over the years and each one
gives me a lot of pleasure. I don’t have a car, so I figure I’m allowed to buy the occasional
piece of art.
Red wine. I have 3 or 4 days every week without any alcohol. Today was meant to be one of them, but I started answering these questions this evening and couldn’t resist finishing a bottle left open at the weekend.
My laptop for writing. If I had a typewriter, like Billy Binns, I’d probably give up. And my
handwriting’s terrible so no one would be able to read what I’d written.
Is it weird that my Filofax still feels so very pleasing to hold?
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
You will only regret the things you don’t do.
Despite trying hard at school, your inability to do exams well wont matter in the future.
The orange hoodie looks good, but that mustard yellow jumper against your sallow teenage complexion is a disaster.
You will have the best friends you could wish for.
Stop kidding yourself before a lie becomes its own distorted version of the truth.
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I enjoy privacy and solitude, which I shouldn’t really be admitting now because it defeats
I gave up caffeine 15 years ago.
I once learned how to Morris dance for a feature film, and really enjoyed it.
My friend Paul told me I think too much, and I know he’s right but I don’t know what to
do about it.
I’m actually much better looking than most people think I am. (see answer no 5 in ‘advice
to younger self’).
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
Another walk around Stanton Moor – my favourite place in the world.
Last meal: Skate wing with capers and black butter and a pile of hot crispy chips.
Tell all those I love that I love them.
Thanks for joining us today Richard, it’s been lovely to discover more about you and we appreciate you letting us intrude on your privacy. Apologies for being responsible for having you fall off the wagon as a result of completing these questions. I very much concur with your advice to your younger self, in that you will only regret the things you don’t do. On that note I hope you get to achieve your bucket list thereby giving you 5 less things to regret.
The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden
(Click on image for non-affiliated buying link)
I remember my dreams but not where they start.
Further back, I recall some of yesterday and the day before that. Then everything goes into a haze.
Fragments of memories come looming back like red London buses in a pea-souper.
Time plays funny tricks these days.
I wait for the next memory. I wait and I wait.
At 117 years old, Billy Binns is the oldest man in Europe and he knows his time is almost up. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time. As he looks back at the relationships that have shaped his flawed life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a life full of hope, mistakes, heartbreak and, above all, love.
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