You ask the questions
(Such as: Bob Geldof, how do you rate Jane, Sarah or Mary as names for girls?)
Wednesday 23 September 1998
When you walk past homeless people, do you give them money?
Tom Reynolds, Hastings.
Sometimes. I find a kind but firm talking to with a spirited, upbeat message serves them better in the long run. And d'ja know something? They usually really appreciate it too.
Have you, like Dana, any ambition to become president of the Irish Republic?
Tony McLean, St Helens.
Do you believe in God?
Emily Whitney, Stockport.
You have opinions on most things - do you read contemporary fiction and poetry and, if so, who do you rate?
Tobias L. Young, Brixton, London.
Not much fiction - history, biographies mostly. A lot of poetry - inevitably Larkin, Yeats and the brilliant new Robin Robertson.
Are there any plans to release 'definitive' editions of the Boomtown Rats' albums (digital remastering, B-sides and out-takes added on etc)? Similarly an album of a 'Rats Live' show - your shows 'really cooked'!
The BBC is planning a Rats session soon. I don't know where any actual live gig tapes are. I'm not sure we recorded many.
If your accountant ran off with six million would you, like Sting, not notice?
Ann Reeves, Aberdeen.
Like Sting I'd probably be embarking on my fifth hour of tantric shagging and frankly not have time to notice.
What's your biggest regret in life?
Ross Woodward, Finchley.
Is it difficult maintaining the design of your facial hair? What would it take to get you to Nicky Clarke?
Tamsin, Helen and Jo, Sheffield.
All the face stuff has gone now. But it was easy. Occasionally shave - leave a bit in the middle. Nicky has always done my hair. Wouldn't let anyone else touch it, darling.
What is the worst insult you have received? What is the best riposte you have given?
John McMahon, Watford.
"But it's so ... tiny!"
"Er ... sorry."
When did you last wash your hair?
Tina Fenton, Swindon.
Were you bribed in any way to spout all that unbelievable tosh about Michael Jackson at the Brit Awards. If so, by whom?
Jenny Phipps, Hayes, Middlesex.
Yes. An autocue. Michael is, of course, a close personal friend, a towering genius and a genuinely warm and wonderful human bean.
What album do you play the most?
Tania Belfour, Chalfont St Giles.
At the moment, Eels - Electroshock Blues, but consistently, Van Morrison.
How do you think you compare to the Chris Evans school of radio deejaying? Did he offer you any advice?
Pete Grice, Southampton.
Taught him everything he knows.
How do you rate Jane, Mary or Sarah as girls' names?
Kath Wright, Oxford.
As highly as Kevin, Trev and Brian.
What's your favourite punk rock single?
Jon Gimell, Hants.
There's no point in asking - you'll get no reply.
It's now 21 years since the first Boomtown Rats album - any inclination for a nostalgic tour?
Steve Murray, N Ireland.
Where did you eat last night and who were you with?
Shane Jackson, Sussex.
At home. With the kids.
a)What happened to XFM, once 'London's only alternative', now one of London's many mainstream music stations?
b)Surely, as an artist you should have protested - and urged others to do the same?
Rachel George, Daniel George, David Graham, South London.
a)It's got better. b)Don't be stupid.
Like many Londoners, I'd like to ask you your views on the recent XFM debacle.
G Mallett, Sanderstead, Surrey.
Here's 2p towards your new anorak.
What are your top three records at the moment?
Kevin Baker, Stroud.
Placebo's "Pure Morning"; Nick Cave's "The Ship Song"; "James" byHuffamoose.
What was the exact location of 'The House At The Top Of The World?'
Simon Fisk, Somerset.
The end of a small lane on a hill above Laughlinstown, outside Dublin.
If you had to form a 'supergroup' for one evening, with yourself on vocals, who would you choose to play drums, bass and lead guitar?
Dan Carson, Edinburgh.
Drums - Niall Power; Bass - Pete Briquette; Guitar - John Turnbull.
Describe one of your happiest memories.
Sinead McEwen, Queens Park, London.
I woke up. I couldn't think of one awful thing. Then I began remembering.
You Ask The
Next: Melvyn Bragg followed by Bjork
Please send any questions you would like to put to broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg and singer Bjork to: You Ask The Questions, Features Dept, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DL; by fax on 0171-293 2182; or e-mail them to: yourquestions@ independent.co.uk by lunch time on Friday, 25 September
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