Frank Turner’s top cultural picks

March 26, 2015, Article by Tom in Culture, Music

With his tour memoir The Road Beneath My Feet out this week, folk/punk hero Frank Turner picks some of his all-time cultural highlights…

Book: Cultural Amnesia by Clive James. I felt like I’d been awoken after reading it. I always thought I was quite switched on, politically and culturally, but it turns out I’d been dozing on the job. It showed me that I wasn’t as engaged as I thought I was, and made me change my way of thinking.

Writer: Probably Paul Theroux, as his writing makes me feel like I can barely speak English…

Artist: Zdzisław Beksiński. He was a Polish painter and photographer who created these nightmare visions. He’d lived through WWII in Warsaw and so had seen the worst in humanity, and this was reflected in his work. He was actually murdered by his friend and caretaker’s drug addict son over just £50, as he was after money for a hit. A really tragic story. He’s the only artist whose work I have bought prints of.

Film: Beasts of the Southern Wild, because it makes me cry at the end. The lead girl in it was about 8 or 9 when they filmed it and I think she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, deservedly so. An incredible performance.

Food: If I was eating before a gig, I’d say sushi. It leaves you feeling clean and fresh, and not too full, which is great for when you’re about to run around on stage for a couple of hours. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a nice steak and a bottle of red, but that’s not ideal when you’re about to perform.

Drink: Jameson Irish Whiskey, straight. No ice, no mixer. On stage these days though I usually just drink water. I used to be on the booze but the shows are so physical that you’d just die if you were hitting the bottle too hard. Imagine running on a treadmill and someone giving you shots – that kind of thing.

Place or holiday destination: Walking the South Downs Way. It’s about 100 miles and goes through some of the most beautiful places in England, including the village I grew up in. I walked it immediately after the whole Olympics thing [Frank performed at the London 2012 opening ceremony], and it was the perfect way to get away from it all.

Band: The Weakerthans. Why they aren’t the biggest band in the world is a mystery to me. Their album Reconstruction Site is a great starting point – it’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do with recorded music, but better.

The Road Beneath My Feet is available in hardback and ebook from March 26th 2015