Sprout questionnaire? Yes, for once this isn’t bad spelling on my part. My Proust questionnaire has been put through the mincer and this is the result. A Sprout Questionnaire. Nothing at all to do with leafy green vegetables or European capitals, but hey, that’s probably a good thing.
[Actually I got the idea for the title from a game I’m playing by myself (I repeat, by myself) on Twitter #authoranagrams. The clue is in the hashtag. You can join me if you like @TaylorHelen_M.]
The first willing (I think he was willing) victim of the revamped questionnaire is Chris McQueer.
Chris is a 25 year old writer and sales assistant from the east end of Glasgow whose debut collection of short stories ‘Hings’ has been published by 404Ink and is out now. His work has also appeared in Gutter magazine, The Skinny and The National and he has performed at Glasgow’s Aye Write book festival, Belladrum Festival and on BBC Radio Scotland. His stories are riotously, brilliantly funny and more than a touch surreal, and show Glasgow in all its irreverent glory but, (and maybe I should whisper this bit) beneath the spurt-your-drink-out-your-nose laughs and the don’t-let-your-granny-read-it swearing, they address serious issues like class division. Everyone should buy a copy if you haven’t already.
I’m really chuffed that he agreed to take part in this piece of ridiculousness.
Over to Chris…
1. You are a superhero. Who are you and what can you do?
I’d definitely want to be able to turn invisible to hide from difficult customers in work.
2. Last week, Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci lasted 10 days in his job as Trump’s communication director (or none if you start counting from his official swearing-in). I once lasted one day in a berry canning factory on the production line until I got travel sick (whence I was transferred to the canteen and almost sacked for making the custard with salt). One of my pals managed one day in the classroom during his teacher training before the kids turned him to a gibbering wreck. Have you ever had a level of success in a job to rival these?
While not quite as dramatic as any of those, I landed a job about a year and a half ago doing social media customer service for a large DIY chain. I thought this would be my ideal job. I quit my old job, said some long, heartfelt goodbyes and promised to stay in touch as I moved on to pastures new. I lasted 5 shifts in the new job. It was just dealing with people moaning about how their new fucking jacuzzi was getting their decking wet and I just thought, ‘Fuck this for a carry on,’ and went back to my old job with my tail between my legs, begging them to just take me back and give me one more chance. Thankfully they did. (They hadn’t even finalised the paperwork for me leaving so technically I’d never even left.)
3. Someone is going to reveal your worst secret. How much is it worth to keep them quiet?
Literally anything they wanted. Up to, and including, my life.
4. To celebrate 61 years of marriage, an 80 yr old woman from Carluke recently got a tattoo of her husband’s nickname—Grumpy. Which of the seven dwarves would you get tattooed to celebrate a significant other?
I’d probably go for Grumpy as well to describe my girlfriend, Vanessa, but it would be a close call between that and Sleepy.
5. You can eat one meal only for the rest of your life. What’s it going to be?
100% it would have to be mince and totties. Absolutely no doubt about it. A taste sensation and a meal that leaves you feeling full for fucking hours. Nothing better than mopping up the last of the gravy at the end with a piece and butter.
6. The ‘Find My Bucky’ app topped the download chart last week, an essential for all Buckfast fans travelling outside of Lanarkshire to allow them to trace a supplier. What app (real or imagined) would be similarly indispensable to you?
Some kind of app that would help me keep track of my shifts in work and stop from getting mixed up and going in on my days off like a total fud. Although I realise this could be easily solved with a diary or something. Maybe an app that blocks me from accessing Twitter until I reach a certain word count when I’m writing stories.
7. You’ve been reported to the sweary police by your best pal’s nan. They are after you. Where do you go to hide?
I’d enlist the help of my granda and we’d go on the run. He’s the most innovative, resourceful man I know and he can pitch a tent, any size and no matter how complicated, in minutes. We’d head for the highlands and live rough for a while and enjoy a few cans on a hill somewhere while the police lose interest.
8. NASA are hiring Planetary Protection Officers at a starting salary of £141 000 plus benefits. Their role is to defend planet Earth from alien life forms and ensure that human space travellers don’t spread their lurgies to other worlds (this is true, by the way). Are you in any way qualified to apply?
Having worked in direct contact with the general pubic for almost 10 years now, I seem to have caught every strain of cold possible. I also think I would be good at talking to aliens. I am the right person for this job. I’ll start on Monday. Thanks.
9. What’s your favourite word?
I’m a big fan of the word ‘ghost’. I just like the way it looks written down and also how it sounds. I am also a big fan of the word ‘crisp’ because I like how when you say it, it rolls from the back of your mouth to the front. But my favourite word is definitely ‘avuncular’. I think in my original manuscript for Hings I’d used it like half a dozen times in different stories before I realised I should probably delete a couple of them.
10. ‘Don’t eat the yellow snow’ is one of the pieces of worldly wisdom by which I live. What’s your essential life-hack motto?
I try my best to just ‘say aye to everything’. The first time I was asked to perform spoken word I really didn’t want to do it but thankfully due to my motto, and my maw’s encouragement, I went for it and it was a huge part of the reason I landed my book deal as my current publishers were in the audience listening. I encourage everybody to just say aye to everything for a month and see what happens.
Want to know more about Chris? See what the papers are saying.
Some Hings were just meant to be Scots. The Daily Record, July 27 2017
Glasgow author Chris McQueer on releasing his debut book and comparisons to Limmy and Irvine Welsh Sunday Post June 29 2017
And here’s a taster: Chris reading Davie at AyeWrite
If you liked this post, why not check out what Glasgow band Man With Glasses had to say about the definition of happiness. Or for more fiction set in Glasgow, there is always this excerpt from The Backstreets of Purgatory.