The Steeple Times asks musician and architectural historian Oliver Gerrish: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
My guiding force is optimism.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
“Wealth and fame”! Just joking, I think that “I’ll sing for my supper” would be a good one!
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2012?
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
Singing in The London Oratory Schola, which I enjoyed so much. I also miss my grandfather, who died recently. He was a constant source of fun, support and love.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
I would swap all my wealth (maybe “paltry savings” would be a better phrase) for a chance to present a TV show exploring the history of architecture and music in Britain. It would be great if it became a great success and made me lots of money and educated people about the wonderful heritage we take so for granted.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
I don’t like to borrow money and I think it is utterly wrong for the banks to be supporting peoples’ misadventures with borrowing at the expense of other non-borrowing clients who can ill afford to bail out the former with their hard earned savings.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
I believe that by supporting smaller charities with far reaching ideals one can make a real difference. I run a charity music series called the Chelsea Concerts with soprano Alexandra Kennedy and we have now raised over £15,000 for various charities, including The Cystic Fibrosis Trust, SSAFA, The Rhinology and Laryngology Fund, The Rifles’ Care for Casualties and others. Each time, along with raising money for the charities, I have felt enlightened about these causes and educated about the extraordinary people and causes that are helped by these charities. I am also a Trustee of The Georgian Group and started The Young Georgians. We are the UK’s major architectural preservation charity. I was also recently involved with The Lady R Foundation and it’s fundraising for Veteran’s Aid.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
Never use a mobile phone or have it on at a concert. It’s always the people with the worst and loudest ring tones that leave them on.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Wowzers! Boris Johnson, Britney Spears, Rosamund Pike, the composer James MacMillan, my Grandmother Molly Lefebure, Henry Conway and my other closest friends, a pretty new girlfriend, The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, Jenny Agutter, Lady Lucinda Lambton and The Queen.
If I could have a few spectral guests too they would be Edith Sitwell, Winston Churchill, Georgian architect Robert Adam, Grace Kelly, Sir John Vanbrugh, M. R. James, Cecil Beaton and The Queen Mother.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
Smoked salmon and smoked mackerel pate with a very cold Diet Coke.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
A glass or two at lunch if with friends and then after 6pm otherwise.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
Negroni or a cup of tea, depending on the weather. I hate martinis.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
Older friends because they love to mix the generations and one comes back feeling full of information and also the food and drink is mostly better.
Who is the most positive person you know?
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Burger King XL bacon double cheeseburger.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
A well-proportioned Palladian house.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
Make? Probably an old VW Golf as mine works well, isn’t at all showy and gets me from A to B.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I am a total country bumpkin at heart and like nothing more than being back in Derbyshire at The Barley Mow pub catching up with my friends there.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
A punk rocker shaped scrubbing brush, a model of The Queen who waves her hand when the sun touches her bag (so not very often), my flatmate’s invitations (mine are on the shelf opposite since we are very competitive!) and some photographs of our mad garden in Derbyshire.
Oliver Gerrish is an architectural historian, countertenor and founder of the Young Georgian Society.
Read Oliver Gerrish’s blog ArchMusicMan at: http://archmusicman.blogspot.co.uk/
Watch his show reel at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LRXboRYT3fs
For information on The Georgian Group go to: http://www.georgiangroup.org.uk
For information on the Chelsea Concerts: http://www.chelseaconcerts.com
Follow him on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/oligerrish