Proust Questionnaire 5: Seán Mac Erlaine

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Seán Mac Erlaine is one of Ireland’s foremost woodwind instrumentalists, who has worked with people such as Tommy Halferty, Mike Nielsen, Caoimhín O’Raghallaigh, Iarla O’Lionaird, Christian Weidner and Christian Skjødt. He is a founder member of Bottlenote, and among many other projects is currently completing a PhD, developing practice-led research around live electronics in solo woodwind performance.

He has been commissioned to create the music for The Thief of Fire event on Wednesday 22nd May in The Sugar Club, which “celebrates Rimbaud’s Illuminations”. The evening will also celebrate Ciaran Carson’s English versions In the Light Of (Gallery Press), and Liam Ó Muirthile will read commissioned Irish versions. This is part of the Irish Language strand of the Writers Festival.

What is your idea of happiness?

Being absorbed in doing an activity that you love doing.

Where would you most like to live?

Beside my family and friends.

What is your favourite virtue?

Love, generosity.

What are your favourite qualities in a man?

Humour, openness, warmth, expression, light.

What are your favourite qualities in a woman?

Humour, openness, warmth, expression, light.

What do you most value in your friends?

Humour, openness, warmth, expression, light.

What is your biggest weakness?

Selfishness.

What do you enjoy doing most?

Laughing, cycling, moving.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Quiet frankness.

What is your idea of misery?

Dishonesty.

If not yourself, who would you like to be?

A better version of myself.

What is your favourite colour and flower?

Orange.

What is your favourite bird?

Jackdaw.

Who are your favourite writers?

Beckett, Joyce, Dostoyevsky, Lao-tzu, Chekhov.

Who are your favourite poets?

Hartnett, Lao-tzu, Salvatore Quasimodo, e.e. cummings.

Who are your favourite artists?

Teresa Margolles, Jack Yeats, Steve McQueen, Andrei Tarkovsky.

Who are your favourite musicians?

Arve Henriksen, Jon Hassell, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hayden Chisholm.

Who are the heroes and heroines in your life?

My partner.

What do you most dislike?

Not thinking.

What natural gift would you most like to possess?

I don’t subscribe to the idea that there’s such a thing as natural gift, it’s all there for the taking. Although green eyes would be nice!

How would you like to die?

Happily.

What is your present state of mind?

Peaceful, clear.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

The existence of cars, and sports on the radio.

Which fault in others do you most easily tolerate?

Non-communication.

Which fault in yourself do you most easily tolerate?

Non-confrontation.

What is your motto?

Everything is easy.

(SK)

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