The 5-minute Interview: John Wesley Harding, Singer-songwriter and novelist

'I woke up one morning in New York and buildings were falling down'
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The Independent Online

John Wesley Harding (who writes books under his real name Wesley Stace), 41, has released 15 albums and performed live with Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Bruce Springsteen. 'Misfortune', his first novel, was published in 2004 and was shortlisted for 'The Guardian' First Book Award. His latest work, 'By George' (published 18 October), is partly narrated by a ventriloquist's dummy and tells the story of a family and its secrets.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Standing in the line at the Apple store or getting ready for my book launch.

A phrase I use far too often is...

"I knew that was going to happen." It's about an air of predictability and how messed up things are.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Other pedestrians on the street. People don't care about other humans walking on the same planet, and they will often have large umbrellas.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

9/11. I was living in New York, and I woke up one morning and buildings were falling down. I've lived in New York seven years, so it happened within the first few months of me moving there.

A common misperception of me is....

That I don't take the things I do seriously and that things come easily to me. My first novel took six years, but because I didn't tell people I was doing it they thought I had written it in a week.

I am not a politician but...

Wars create terrorism.

I'm good at...

Getting up very early in the morning with my 16-month-old daughter.

I'm very bad at...

Containing my frustration when faced with DIY projects. My wife is way better at it than me.

The ideal night out is ...

Having been a musician for so long I've spent too much time at gigs for them to be enjoyable. I love getting a cheap meal before going to the opera.

In moments of weakness I...

Smoke, and have an unnecessary glass of alcohol.

You know me as an author and musician, but in truer life I'd have been ...

A nippy left-winger. My allegiance has always been to Arsenal, but I wouldn't be aiming that high, I'd just be playing football more regularly.

The best age to be is...

However old you are.

My philosophy is this:

If you do nothing, nothing will happen. But if you do something, nothing may happen but something might.

Toby Green

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