At The Mike Stand with Hazel Larkin

By Mike Fitzpatrick

You know, it’s not easy attempting to describe this week’s ‘Standee’.

You see, Hazel Larkin, the Irish writer, and proud mom of two, has been a tad busy of late. She’s currently lauded in Ireland, the UK and beyond for her association with ‘The Big Book of Hope’, a wonderful project that she and Vanessa O’Loughlin worked on.

‘The Big Book of Hope’ contains over forty stories (fact and fiction) written by Myles Dungan, Maeve Binchy, Denis O’Brien, Joe O’Connor, Brian Crowley (MEP), Brian Keenan and a host of other influential individuals, with all proceeds going towards the HOPE Foundation, and its efforts at providing shelter, education, food, healthcare, love and moral support for children born on the troubled streets of Kolkata, India.

Having lived in Asia for ten years, where she wrote for stage, screen and various publications, Hazel witnessed much of the poverty that HOPE strives towards combating.

In the coming year, she’s looking forward to the publication of the first volume of her memoirs, before relocating back to Asia at the end of 2011.

‘The Big Book of Hope’ is available for purchase at Amazon.com, the publishers’ official website, Poolbeg.com, and many bookstores.

What would you like your own tribute act to be called?
Hmmm, I don’t know. ‘May Contain Nuts’ maybe?

When’s the last time you laughed out loud?
I’m always laughing out loud. I think the last time was about half an hour ago when my daughter, in her sleep, said ‘Mind the kangaroo!’

What act would you like to have seen perform live?
Marlene Dietrich.

What team(s) do you support?
I cannot abide any sport so the only team that I support is the team of chefs at my local pizza place.

What period in history would you most like to have visited?
I think I already have visited most periods of history. I think any period was fascinating and wonderful as long as one had money. If I had to choose one era to revisit, I think it would be the 1900s-1930s in India. As a Rani, (Queen) of course.

What song would you most like to have written?
‘Happy Birthday’ – think of the royalties!!

Who or what, would make you leave a room?
Bigotry. You can’t argue with a bigot because they refuse to accept that there is any side other than their own. And hitting them gets you into trouble.

What decade rules (and why)?
The 1920s. So much was possible in so many places – Africa, India, Europe and the US. I’m afraid I haven’t the foggiest what they were up to in the Antipodes at the time.

What song do you most enjoy singing?
“Love is Teasin'” A wonderful song about how love doesn’t last.

What movie role would you like to have played?
Ilsa in ‘Casablanca’. Clichéd, I know, but there you go.

Have you ever been told you looked like somebody?
In India, I am often told I look like Sonia Ghandi, but I think that’s just because I’m a white woman in a sari.

What’s the first album you remember buying?
I honestly can’t remember the first album I bought.

Who’s your favorite Beatle?
Paul McCartney.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
I hate Christmas. I hate Christmas songs. ‘Band Aid’, however, still brings a lump to my throat.

Who’s the most rock and roll person who ever lived?
It has to be Mick Jagger. Whether you like him or his music or not – he is Mr. Rock ‘n’ Roll.

What artist/song/genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?
Boyzone. Shhhhhh.

Who would you most like to meet/have met?
The children I’m yet to have.

What book can you read again and again?
‘The Big Book of Hope’.

What’s the greatest album ever recorded?
I haven’t a clue.

What artists would you most like to have played with in the band of your dreams (supergroup)?
Johnny Marr (Guitar), Larry Mullen (Drums), Flea (Bass), Rick Wakeman (Keyboard) and Yo Yo Ma (Cello)

What do few people know about you?
There’s not much that people don’t know about me. Or that I have an honors degree in psychology.

What sitcom character can you most identify with?
Fr. Dougal in ‘Father Ted’.

What movie can you watch over and over again?
In English – ‘Monsoon Wedding’. In Hindi – ‘Salaam -e-Ishq’.

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
I hate cartoons. I always have. But if I had to choose, I’d say Bugs Bunny. He’s nobody’s fool.

What’s the greatest place you’ve visited?
I’ve been very lucky to visit a number of wonderful places. If I had to choose one, though, it would probably be Kasauli in the foothills of the Himalayas.

What’s mankind’s most wonderful invention?
The wheel.

What’s mankind’s most irritating invention?
The house alarm.

Who’s the funniest person who ever lived?
Tommy Tiernan.

Who’s your favorite namesake ?
Some nut or other (Took a while, but now we get it! – Editor).

Who’s your favorite character from literature?
Scheherazade. Beautiful, intelligent and a great spinner of yarns.

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