As PopMatters music writer Steve Horowitz noted in his review of David Ford’s latest CD, Songs for the Road, “There’s charm in finding out one is not the only person who looks at the world and wonders why it sucks. There’s joy in learning that while many people may disappoint you, some won’t, and may even delight you. Isn’t that enough, really.” Indeed, there’s a coarse sensitivity to Ford’s gaze at the world,a bittersweet tenderness to his lyrics. We get a taste of that here, in Ford’s replies to PopMatters 20 Questions.
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
I’d like to have a solid intellectual and cultured answer but in reality, it was watching Forrest Gump on TV. I cried like a little girl.
Songs for the Road
(Original Signal; US: 1 Apr 2008; UK: 15 Oct 2007; Internet release date: 12 Feb 2008)
I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I've Caused
(Magnolia; UK: 3 May 2005)
2. The fictional character most like you?
Antigone, daughter of Oedipus—overly principled and ultimately doomed.
3. The greatest album, ever?
Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine. The songs, performance, production, attitude; all immaculate.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars, but with the exception of Episodes 1-3 which were quite horrible.
5. Your ideal brain food?
I often take inspiration from CNN - if ever you need a reminder of where it’s all going wrong. Also travel and solitude tend to get me humming tunes and scribbling words.
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
After five years of trying, last year some friends and I won our local soccer tournament in a Hollywood-esque display of stoic chivalry over brutish aggression.
7. You want to be remembered for…?
I imagine I will probably be quickly forgotten and I have no problem with that.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
There are so many, but here are the ones called Bobby:
Bobby Moore: England World Cup-winning soccer captain.
Bobby Kennedy: Gave a really good speech.
Bobby Jones: Golf legend and gentleman who once lost the Open championship after calling a foul on himself.
Tom “Bobby” Waits: writer, performer, innovator, invincible romantic junkyard poet.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Catch 22. It’s a huge piece of work. It blows my mind how Joseph Heller could balance pathos, comedy and political/historical comment in such a way as to make me cry and make me confused but angry and laughing all the while.
10. Your hidden talents…?
Building things from wood, attacking musical instruments with power tools in the hope of improving them… also I can open beer bottles with pretty much anything: spoon, telephone, fruit, rodents, etc…
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Never insult your audience, even though they are probably fat and stupid cretins.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
I don’t know about bought/stole/borrowed, but the best trade I ever made was when I played rudimentary guitar on a Natalie Imbruglia record and received as payment some basic recording gear, which allowed me to make my first record. An afternoon spent strumming two chords afforded me the opportunity to build the record I always wanted to make.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
I have a t-shirt which I bought ten years ago and is now entirely misshapen, full of holes and faded to a colour which is too non-descript to warrant a name. To wear it is to feel like being home, safe and comfortable.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Stood up while I grab a slice of pizza with my wife and friends.
15. Time travel: where, when and why?
I’d be interested to visit the mid-‘70s to see whether my romantic notions of a yesteryear music business which valued artistic ambition and excellence above all were ever actually true.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
My stress management strategy consists of the mantra: “Get over it you whiney little bastard”.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
I would have to opt for the pure filthy pleasure of chocolate - but not American chocolate which I find lacks a certain sinful joy. The British stuff feels like it’s doing much more damage.
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
I love a lot of different places I have been but there really is no place like home. Regardless of the weather or the allure of finer vistas, I’d take the green hills of the Sussex countryside every time.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
Who are you? What happened to Tony?
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
An oak table for the lounge.
Also touring my new record in North America and thinking about songs for another album.