The Boating Party is a series of Q&As with writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, sculptors, illustrators, designers and the like.
In times of economic hardship, the Arts are usually the first things to be axed. But, in my view, the Arts are one of the most important aspects of our civilisation.
Without the arts, we wouldn’t have language or the written word. Without the arts, we have no culture. Without culture, we have no society. Without society, we have no civilisation. And without civilisation, we have anarchy.
Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists view themselves as rebels to society. To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers.
Perhaps, most importantly; without the Arts, where is the creativity that will solve the world’s problems going to come from? Including economic and scientific ones?
In this Q&A, I am delighted to welcome author Nigel J. Rayner.
What has been your greatest personal or career achievement?
That’s a difficult one? I used to be a pretty serious climber in my younger days, and have enjoyed many magnificent and unforgettable climbs, but I suppose to pick just one, it would probably be being a dad to my son Ben. As for career achievements, surviving the 70’s and 80’s in advertising without any permanent damage to my liver has to be up there.
What has been your greatest sacrifice?
My bank account, after putting my son through private education.
To whom do you owe a debt of gratitude?
My wife Valerie, who has allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a full time writer, even though it’s a risky decision.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Creative people. Whether it’s writers, artists or filmmakers, seeing something really original is always inspiring.
What makes you unhappy?
Bureaucracy, bean counters, technology when it doesn’t work, and the squirrel glued to Donald Trump’s head.
What makes you happy?
My wife, my son, beautiful landscapes and getting nice reviews.
What are you reading?
Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories.
Who, or what, are you listening to?
Today has been a mix of Pink Floyd, Del Amitri, Steve Earle & Debussy.
What’s your favourite film?
What’s your favourite tipple?
Either a nice cup of tea, or a cold beer.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
1967, Haight–Ashbury, San Francisco.
What frightens you?
The people who run the world.
What do you do to relax?
Listen to music while walking in the countryside.
What do you do when you’re angry?
Become very petulant and irrational.
What can’t you live without?
What’s your motto?
God loves a trier.
Where is your Utopia?
The road from Grasse to Cap D’ Antibes, in an E-Type jag with Kaleidoscope Affair by Swing Out Sister on the stereo.
If you only had one year to live what would you do?
Try and succeed where Guy Fawkes failed.
Up who’s arse would you like to stick a rocket, and why?
Bill Gates, because nobody should be allowed to get away with inventing bloody Windows, without getting a rocket up their arse.
Who would you like to be stuck in an elevator with?
Katherine Ross from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
What are you working on at the moment?
The Assassinator, book two in The Stobes Trilogy.
What is your ambition?
To write a Best Seller.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
The lack of humanity in the world.
Which six people would you invite to your boating party?
Douglas Adams, Frank Zappa, Peter Ustinov, Margret Thatcher, Arthur Scargill & Peter Cook.
What would be on the menu?
Pie, chips & gravy.
What question would you have liked me to have asked?
Do you watch the news while standing in the kitchen sink dressed as Kirk Douglas from The Vikings?
Thank you Nigel.
N.J. Rayner grew up in Mellor, Cheshire in the United Kingdom, where as well as briefly holding the record in the local “100 yard Tripe Juggling” category, he was also one half of “The Flying Yoghurt Brothers” a specialised trapeze act involving death defying feats of acrobatics on a plank of wood balanced on two upturned buckets.
He has played golf with Bernhard Langer, Des O’Connor’s Pianist and the man from the Oxo commercials, been a Dog Handler at Crufts – where he came last – and been ridiculed by both Billy Connolly and Stan Boardman.
He now lives in Kent, and is married with one son and two step children.
After spending over thirty years working in the advertising industry for several top agencies, he decided to become a full time author in 2014. His debut novel ‘The Time Table’ is the first book in The Stobes Trilogy. The second book in the series ‘The Assassinator’ will be published around July 2015, with the third book ‘The Exodus’ expected in December 2015. He also has a fourth novel, Peter Panic and the Book of Dreams due to be published at the beginning of 2016.
He firmly believes that Douglas Adams was correct when he said the world is a giant computer program run by mice, and refuses to take life too seriously.
Favorite authors include Douglas Adams, Tom Sharpe, Terry Pratchett, Stuart Marconie, Joseph Heller and Alan Titchmarsh.