Questions 13 to 15.

Three questions from Lyle:

13. What do you want to be when you grow up?


…and calm.

Shall we indulge in a little dream scenario? Oh, I see no harm in that.

The Guardian, October 13 2009.

Writer, columnist, critic, patron of the arts – and, on the eve of his much anticipated screen acting debut in the self-penned Forty In Forty Days, potential movie star in waiting – Mike Troubled-Diva greets us at the door of his surprisingly modest Barbican apartment. (“Most of our clutter lives in Derbyshire” he explains, his characteristically self-deprecating smile never far from his lips, as he leads us through to the tastefully appointed sitting room.)

Mike shares both his city and country addresses with K, his partner of nearly twenty-five years’ standing. Best known for his groundbreaking work in the field of animal cancer diagnostics, K has recently begun to scale down his day-to-day business interests, in order to devote himself more fully to the couple’s shared passion for seeking out and championing the freshest talents in the world of contemporary painting. (Mike and K’s Troubled Arts gallery, less than ten minutes’ walk from their apartment, continues to go from strength to strength.)

It is difficult to believe that, just five years ago, Mike’s creative output was known only to the readers of the Troubled Diva weblog, which he continues writing to this day. (“I’m afraid that the content has been a bit sparse over the last couple of weeks”, he mutters, distractedly stirring the freshly brewed pot of Earl Grey.)

So, you know, realistic goals and all that.

14. PDMG – a thing of wonder, or more bloody hassle than it’s worth?

This might sound horribly haughty, but what the heck.

Since our decision to have a garden was freely entered into of our own volition, tending the PDMG rarely feels like a hassle. One particular motivating factor: since both the design and the construction are of such an exceptional quality, we feel a certain sense of duty to the original creative vision, and to the people that were responsible for implementing it. To let the garden slide into an unkempt, weed-strewn wilderness would be a wanton act of vandalism that we could never countenance.

(Besides, since almost all the garden is visible from one point or other in the surrounding streets, the disapproving clucks at Gardens Open Day would be too much to bear. We are an essentially self-regulating community.)

Furthermore: the exercise and fresh air are good for effete drawing-room fops such as ourselves; the regular tasks have a certain therapeutic quality; the learning curve forms a pleasant ascent (give or take the odd bump); and regular physical contact with the constituent parts of the garden allows us to acquire a deeper knowledge, and thus to forge a deeper bond.

(Observe, if you will, how hearty son-of-the-soil words like “forge” and “bond” start creeping into my prose at times like these.)

In fact, so enamoured of the PDMG are we that we have just commissioned PDMG #2: The Nottingham Version. With the building plans already completed, that familiar anticpatory tingle has already started to kick in.

15. Will we ever see Mike TD entering Eurovision for the UK?

One of these days, I’ll record and post an MP3 of me wheezing and croaking along to the instrumental version of “Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit”. Then you’ll have all the answer you need, matey.

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