Q&A May 2012, Part II
6/5/2012 (updated 8/6/2012)

I imagine that you get a little tired when people think  you will have an opinion and knowledge of every guitarist who has ever played but having said that - here is another one for you. I find your guitar solos very original and come at the audience from a different angle than a lot of solos from other performers, I find the same to be true of the late  Robert Quine, (Voldoids , Lou Reed etc). Have you come across his work and have you any opinion of him. Best Regards, Bill M

I must have heard him, but I don't know him very well. I'll take a listen.

I have always loved the song "Pavanne."  The song is credited to you and Linda. Can you give any details about the composition of the song and how the songwriting was split? Pat Long

Linda dreamt the whole thing, and told me the story next morning. I wrote the song, but I thought the inspirational divide was definitely 50-50.

I'm curious to know if you a) saw the eclipse on May 20 and b) caught "Sir Mick" on Saturday Night Live? If so, how do you rate his performances fronting Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters and Jeff Beck?

Missed the eclipse, alas. Transit of Venus coming up though. Missed Mick too - he is a great front man who does not lack self-confidence, and I'm sure he would have done an interesting job with all of the above. I'll try and find that on Utube.

Do you think that the proliferation of technology in music today (e.g., Guitar Hero and other digital simulations of playing actual instruments) will eventually minimize the importance of musicianship for future generations, much the way digital photography has rendered film and traditional developing and editing techniques obsolete?

There might be a few kids out of every hundred who want to take it further, and go on to play real instruments. For the rest, it's that feeling of being famous for five minutes. Wonderful South Park episode on this subject. Things tend to go in cycles, and at some point, real content will reappear.

Any plans to attend the Olympic Games while you're in London this summer? Or do you plan to avoid London like the plague?

I have tickets for the football at Wembley - lucky dip on which teams you get to watch - and for something else rather marginal, I think it was Judo. Traffic should be pretty interesting.

Do you follow other forms of motorsport in addition to Formula One? In your list of favorite British sports heroes in last month's Q&A, you mentioned Stirling Moss and Graham Hill. I'm genuinely surprised that, as someone with Scottish blood, you didn't include Jim Clark or Jackie Stewart among your favorite F-1 drivers. What gives?

That was a bit of an off-the-cuff list, and I should have included Jim Clark. I met Jackie Stewart, and wasn't too impressed.

Speaking of Scottish blood, what's your opinion of haggis?

I love haggis. As a kid staying with my grandparents, breakfast was always eggs, haggis, black Geordie (pudding), tattie scones, and fried tomatoes - I'm lucky to get a bowl of muesli these days. You can get halal haggis in Harrods, you know. Truly the chieftain o' the puddin-race!

In addition to Werner Herzog, are there any other film directors for whom you would particularly enjoy scoring a movie given the opportunity? As always, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my Qs. Cheers, Douglas Alan, NYC

Many and various would have to be the answer. Peter Weir? Timur Bekmambetov? Too many to choose from. I'd just be glad of the work.

Whenever you appear with Fairport at Cropredy, there seems an above average chance that you will perform Hand of Kindness with them - certainly in 2007 and 2009 and at least on a couple of radio broadcasts I have from 20 or so years ago. Probably a forlorn hope, but any chance of, say, Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman this year ? Are there any Fairport songs (or songs from your own albums, come to that, when you've recorded with various members of the band) that you think 'it might be fun to do that one again ?' Jim Howard

There is a reasonable chance of Poor Will this year, also of H of K, and probably some other Full House stuff. Lists are still being finalized. I think we get through most of the songs we feel are fun to play over the years. The repertoire is, after all, not endless.

As you seem prepared to indulge all sorts of questions from your fans I have a nerdy one for you. What action height (measured at the 12th fret, for instance) do you prefer on your acoustic & electric guitars? Actual measurements would be wonderful. Looking forward to the Brook in August. Best wishes, Chris Warren

It looks like 3/32s on the bass side, and slightly less on the treble on my acoustic. My favourite electrics are all in the back of a truck somewhere, so I can't give you that, but I like it fairly high on electric.

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