The Skinny Q&A: Anna Meredith
Following her 2020 Mercury Prize nomination for new album FIBS, Anna Meredith takes some time out to tell us what she's been up to during lockdown, what scares her the most, and lets us in on a little secret
What’s your favourite place to visit?
Probably something like Brighton Pier arcades; I love the lights, the greasy food, the smells. But the games – I like those two-person, get-in-a-booth games like Jurassic Park, and I've been known to spend a good twenty, thirty quid of hard-earned pound coins, pumping it in and shooting dinosaurs with a giant gun.
What’s your favourite colour?
The most basic answer is just blue. But for specificity I would say I'm drawn to, for maximum pretension, Vermeer blue.
Who was your hero growing up?
I had these amazing twin babysitters called Debbie and Lyneke, and they were just the coolest... [we'd] do blind food tastings and try and feed my little brother cat food, and make mud pies, and slide down the stairs in sleeping bags.
Whose work inspires you now?
You know those videos where people touch something and a marble falls, and that triggers a ruler that rolls, and then a fork tips off a table and it lands on a cat, you know those huge big long chain of event things? People who do those. That’s my jam.
How have you stayed inspired during the lockdown?
I would say I haven't felt hugely inspired and I've really struggled… for ages I just couldn't get my ass off the sofa and didn’t really want to… so 'with great difficulty' is probably the answer to that.
What has been your favourite food to cook during lockdown?
Well, it’s a bit boring, but I’ve mastered a really good dal... I’ve really fucking gone for it, all my meals have been unbelievable, if I say so myself, but yeah, I make a really quite exceptionally good dal, with homemade roti breads.
What three people would you invite to your virtual dinner party and what are you cooking?
I'd make my aforementioned award winning dal but I'd make it the day before. In terms of guests, I really have enjoyed The Great British Sewing Bee [with] Joe Lycett, so maybe he'd be fun to have there, and I've always wanted to hang out with Björk... I think she'd be good company, and for pure ticking all lifetime ambitions, Keanu Reeves, just to be there looking handsome in a suit, perhaps serving drinks.
What have you enjoyed listening to during lockdown?
So during lockdown I’ve only listened to audiobooks, which is probably not what you want to hear... I really like the new Philip Pullman books, I’m listening to Adam Buxton’s one just now, that’s all great. Music-wise, Owen Pallett’s new album’s nice, he’s always good, so I’m enjoying that at the moment.
What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?
Relatively recently, for the first time, I saw Big Trouble In Little China, but I can't really say that was bad because I absolutely loved it, it was ridiculous and hilarious. And, you know, sure, insane [...] I think The Last Airbender wasn’t great and I really loved those cartoons... That's a bit of a shame when you've seen something and you’ve loved it as a book or a TV thing and it turns into a film and it's not at all how you thought it'd be.
What book would you take to a protracted period of government-enforced isolation?
Maybe something, you know, self-improving [...] some sort of DIY manual. I could finally learn how to make a wooden bracket properly, or drill something correctly, as opposed to just slamming it up. A bit of home improvement, I think that'd be useful.
Who's the worst?
Wow. There's a lot of contenders right now. I mean, who’s worse, Boris or Trump? Let's just say it's a battle between the two big blonde men in our lives.
When did you last cry?
Oh, I cried yesterday watching the trailer for a documentary that's coming out soon about the Paralympics (Rising Phoenix). I even had the sound off... and I was just looking at it on my phone, but just watching people do amazing things... I was blubbing.
What are you most scared of?
I'm scared of the idea of being scared. So I can't watch horror films because the intention that I'm going to be scared is almost worse than the thing itself, so as soon as [there] is scary tense music, I can't bear it. It could be tense scary music showing some raccoons playing with a bit of grass, for example.
When did you last vomit?
Wow. Jeez. That's been a while. I drank too many Dragon Soops, a potent tin of fizzy caffeinated horror, and nearly spewed in a cab in Edinburgh.
Tell us a secret?
I am the only member of my family that can roll my tongue, and it made me for a long time be absolutely convinced that must mean I'm adopted. And perhaps it still does. Real mum, if you're out there, come and claim me.
Which celebrity could you take in a fight?
I'm a total wuss. I remember at primary school, one day [a girl] grabbed my hair and it hurt so much I immediately burst into tears… I don't really think I could take anyone... maybe somebody who’s asleep, a child or a drunk, a drunk old lady, someone like that.
If you could be reincarnated as an animal which animal would it be?
You’ve just got to wanna do the flying, right? ... But if you're gonna do the flying, maybe you want to be looking fucking great while you're doing it. Maybe you’re just a straight out the door Golden Eagle. No problem. Looking great. Big head. Big wingspan. Lot of respect.