Neil Hannon: 'I always get everything wrong on stage. The audience loves it'
You think twice about even letting kids walk the dog round the block these days which is a shame. I don't know whether Swallows and Amazons [Hannon has written the music for a new stage version] was quite fanciful for the 1930s – to let children go off on their own for a fortnight – but it wouldn't happen now. There's a lot of interesting themes going on [in Arthur Ransome's book] – mores concerning what you can let children do. I don't how much has really changed and how much is media-induced paranoia.
I can act 'me' quite well, but that's my only role I really don't want to be an actor but there's a huge appeal to hamming things up – it makes the audience laugh and it makes me chuckle. [Hannon recently performed a concert at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.] I just throw myself on stage and don't think too much about it. If I get it right in rehearsals, I get it wrong on stage. Actually, I always get everything wrong anyway – it's one of the "hilarious", "spontaneous" things that happen live. Anyway, the audience loves it.
I'm not generally that funny in everyday life I've rarely sat down to write a comic song on purpose. It's almost always for the sake of what the song is trying to say; you can point out something foolish or weird better. [As the frontman of the Divine Comedy, he was responsible for such songs as "National Express", giving observations of life from the window of a bus, and he also wrote "Lovely Horse", a song for Father Ted.]
I wrote almost all my big love songs before I'd been in love It's much harder to write when you're in love, as it's so mysterious. Often the songs that mean most to other people mean least to you – it leaves more room for them to put their own feelings and stories on top. I've lost count of the number of people who've told me they walked down the aisle to "Songs of Love", but they weren't listening very hard to it, because it's really about me being sexually frustrated in an attic in Enniskillen.
I was supremely angry when I wrote 'the complete banker' It was in 2008, and my manager said, "We've got to record [the song] now and get it out or it will stop being topical." But it's four years later and, if anything, it's more topical. It was mostly down to what I was hearing on Irish radio: this insanity had been going on and everyone looked the other way, and as soon as it went belly-up, guess who had to pay?
I hardly remember performing with a band I took a long time off to write and when I came back, nobody had any money; I thought, "Well, this would be a good time to do the solo tour..." It was scary, but incredibly satisfying.
I genuinely enjoy performing The only problem is being away from home for extended periods. Now I find it less and less appealing – but that's just getting old. It's a job; mustn't grumble.
'Swallows and Amazons' tours the UK from Tuesday (swallowsamazons.co.uk)
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...