ConanK: So, Anthony, how does it feel?
AnthonyC: What, how does what feel?
CK: How does it feel to be described as Ireland's foremost surviving man of letters? Like in the Sunday Indo. There you were. I quote. Ireland's foremost surviving man of letters. End quote.
AC: I see what they're trying to say.
CK: Well so do I, but it's a funny way of saying it, isn't it?
AC: It is the Sunday Independent.
CK: I suppose there is that. But tell me. Why isn't Ireland's foremost surviving man of letters writing in The Irish Times? Like the Sunday Indo is kind of man of letters free territory really. Apart from yourself and Declan Lynch of course.
AC: I used have a column in The Irish Times.
CK: I remember it. Yourself and Myles na gCopaleen.
AC: Well it was rather after his time.
CK: Well old newspaper columnists have kind of all merged in my mind. It was a long time ago. I was very young. A different country. And the wench is dead. Like that.
AC: Indeed. I actually don't think The Irish Times have ever forgiven me for being artistic advisor to Charles Haughey.
CK: Well at least he wasc a Taoiseach who had an artistic advisor. Who's artistic advisor to Enda Kenny?
AC: I'm not sure if...
CK: Exactly. Exactly.
AC: It might be Jimmy Deenihan.
CK: You could be right, that would explain a lot of things.
AC: So what did you want to ask me, I'm a busy man.
CK: I'd like you sneak me into Aosdana, I hear its a great gig.
AC: Sneak you in?
CK: You know, word in ear stuff. Say no more, nudge nudge, wink wink, scratch my back etc.
AC: But we're a bunch of no hopers.
CK: Not feeling that optimistic myself. And I’d be hoping eventually to get a canoeist.
CK: Yes I’ve heard that certain members of Aosdana get a canoeist. I’ve always liked girls in lycra wet suits.
AC: You know quite well, the word is Cnuas.
CK: Yes of course I do. We’re an Irish speaking family. But I’m a satirist. I’m part of a noble tradition. We go way back, us satirists. There were satirists in Ireland long before there were writers in residence. Us and great elks. Is that great elk still in the dead zoo?
AC: I think it was a great Irish deer.
CK: Must drop in some day. Check it out.
AC: Good idea.
CK: When it’s raining.
AC: A very good idea.
CK: So tell me, about getting in to Aosdana?
AC: You have to wait til someone dies.
CK: Oh. I see. Um. How’re you feeling yourself?
AC:Fine thank you.
CK: Well, how can I put this, are there any other literature people on the way out, so to speak?
AC: Not that I’m aware.
CK: Could I get in on visual arts panel?
AC: But you’re a writer.
CK: My sister went to DunLaoghaire School of Art. And I studied architecture in UCD.
AC: Have you produced anything of note, architectural?
CK:I designed the wall of Fitzwilliam Tennis Club that runs up along the Appian Way.
AC: I’m not sure if that...
CK: Music then? Could I get in on the music panel? Some music guy is sure to die soon, they're all on drugs. And I have all Johnny Cash’s records. Serious vinyl collector stuff. Got them years ago when I lived in America.
AC: You’d want to be a composer, or performer, or conductor.
CK I was a conductor on the Sussex buses. Southdown Motor Service. One of England’s most famous bus companies.
AC: Again, you know quite well what I mean. You play with words too much.
CK: Tell me about it.
[ Next interview...next week. Earlier interviews, including with
Sheila Pratschke, Arts Council, and Kevin O'Sullivan, Editor of The Irish Times,
scroll on down ]___________________________________________________________________________