The DEF­I­NITE AR­TI­CLE

We ask a celebrity a set of dev­il­ishly prob­ing ques­tions – and only ac­cept THE de­fin­i­tive an­swer. This week: mu­si­cian and pre­sen­ter Jools Hol­land

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - NEWS - As told to Rob McGib­bon

The prized pos­ses­sion you value above all oth­ers…

The gift of mu­sic and my sense of hu­mour. With­out them, I don’t think I’d sur­vive.

The biggest re­gret you wish you could amend…

Not putting air con­di­tion­ing in my record­ing stu­dio at home when I had it built. I spent ten years swel­ter­ing be­fore I fi­nally had it in­stalled.

The temp­ta­tion you wish you could re­sist…

Think­ing I’m right. Most of us have the propen­sity for wrongly think­ing this. Other peo­ple have a view that can also be valid.

A book that holds an ever­last­ing res­o­nance…

The Faerie Queene by Ed­mund Spenser. My dad, Derek, had an old edi­tion he read to me when I was six. It made me ap­pre­ci­ate books aes­thet­i­cally and I still have it.

The song that means most to you…

I lis­tened to Louis Arm­strong’s In The Gloam­ing last night and I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard.

The pri­or­ity ac­tiv­ity if you were the In­vis­i­ble Man for a day…

I’d make petri dishes float mys­te­ri­ously while sci­en­tists work in their lab­o­ra­to­ries. It would make them stop and think that they might not al­ways be right about ev­ery­thing.

The pet hate that makes your hack­les rise...

Novel­tyshaped plates in restau­rants. I don’t like ones shaped like a fish sim­ply be­cause you are eat­ing fish. I like a nor­mal, round plate.

The film you can watch time and time again…

The Blue Lamp star­ring Jack Warner. It’s set in Lon­don in 1949 and de­picts a world that is gone, ar­chi­tec­turally and in terms of at­ti­tude.

The per­son who has in­flu­enced you most…

Duke Elling­ton. I read about him in my 20s and he taught me to be­lieve in my sound.

The trea­sured item you lost and wish you could have again…

My 78 rpm record of Sis­ter Rosetta Tharpe singing Up Above My Head. Some­one sat on it 30 years ago. I’m still get­ting over it.

The un­likely in­ter­est that en­gages your curiosity…

Peo­ple’s eyes glaze over when I tell them that I love me­dieval Flem­ish history. I’m fas­ci­nated by the art and the build­ings when I’m in Bel­gium or Hol­land.

The fig­ure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint…

My great­grand­mother Bri­tan­nia. She was born in a work­house and still man­aged to make life good for her fam­ily. I’d love to see how she did it. She gave my grand­mother a piano for her wed­ding, which is the one I learnt on aged eight. I’d like to thank her for that.

The piece of wis­dom you would pass on to a child…

Don’t rush into things but don’t pre­var­i­cate for years and ruin it.

The unend­ing quest that drives you on…

Writ­ing, or find­ing the next piece of mu­sic that ex­cites me.

The poem that touches your soul…

I like po­etry but, for me at least, words can’t quite ex­press what mu­sic does.

The mis­ap­pre­hen­sion about your­self you wish you could erase…

That it was me driv­ing when a speed cam­era pho­to­graphs my car hurtling past.

The event that al­tered the course of your life and char­ac­ter…

Dis­cov­er­ing that I could play the piano. My un­cle Dave showed me how to play a boo­gie-woo­gie piece of mu­sic [a fast blues style]. I was very ex­cited when I re­alised that I could copy him.

The crime you would com­mit know­ing you could get away with it…

I’d steal a Rem­brandt self-por­trait from the Ri­jksmu­seum in Am­sterdam.

The way you would spend your fan­tasy 24 hours, with no travel re­stric­tions...

I’d be up very early to have break­fast in 1940s Chicago lis­ten­ing to blues mu­si­cians Al­bert Am­mons and Tampa Red. Af­ter that I’d whizz off to 14th-cen­tury Bruges to have my por­trait painted by Jan van Eyck. Then to 18th-cen­tury Leipzig to meet Bach for lunch of chicken pie and Chateau Petrus 2010 (I’d bring it with me). We’d play the piano to­gether and then I’d meet the 16th-cen­tury pain­ter Pi­eter Bruegel at a peas­ant wed­ding. He liked to paint such scenes. Later, I’d wan­der around Dick­en­sian Lon­don and the day would end in a 1930s mu­sic hall in the East End lis­ten­ing to the great singer Les­lie Sarony.

The hap­pi­est mo­ment you will cher­ish for­ever…

Learn­ing what chords were when I was 13. Know­ing that there was a the­ory to mu­sic meant I could sud­denly play lots of things.

The sad­dest time that shook your world…

When my dad died in 2007. Any­one who’s lost a par­ent they love will know that it is not an easy time.

The un­ful­filled am­bi­tion that con­tin­ues to haunt you…

That I never met the great jazz pi­anist Mary Lou Wil­liams. I was liv­ing in New York when she was there and if I’d known, I would have tried to see her.

The or­der of ser­vice at your fu­neral…

I ex­pect it to be at West­min­ster Abbey with huge out­pour­ings of grief from strangers. I want Louis Arm­strong’s St James In­fir­mary Blues and Get Away Jor­dan by Dorothy Love Coates. My ashes should be put into key rings and sold as mini shrines.

The Plug…

Jools Hol­land and his Rhythm and Blues Orches­tra will per­form on Oc­to­ber 14 at Dublin’s 3Arena. See Tick­et­mas­ter.ie.

Piers Mor­gan is away this week

‘Peo­ple’s eyes glaze over when I tell them I love me­dieval Flem­ish history. I’m fas­ci­nated by the art and build­ings’

Left: Louis Arm­strong. Above: a nov­elty din­ner plate. Right: a Rem­brandt self-por­trait from Am­sterdam’s Ri­jksmu­seum

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