Friday 24 November 2017

Q&A: Cerys Matthews

On tabloids, booze battles and yeats

Ed Power

Ed Power

Well, if it isn't Cerys Matthews -- the Welsh firebrand off I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here ...

I didn't want to be defined by that [show]. I don't want to be defined just in the tabloids. I really wasn't aware of how big it was before I did it. I have a lot more going on that that. My whole philosophy in life is that you should try as many things as you can. I wasn't going to not do it because people were advising me against it.

You're also famous for being a bit of a party monster ...

The way the media is nowadays, everybody is looking for that 'jeopardy' moment. Everyone is looking for those extremes, for the big headlines. Well, that's how it works.

Come off it, you've done time in the Priory ...

It's difficult, being defined by a couple of headlines. Especially when you know you're not that person. You can't tell a life story in a couple of paragraphs. It would be boring to everybody. That's just the way it is.

Back in the 1990s, your band Catatonia stood out like nuns at a nudist colony. At the height of beery, blokey Britpop, here was a Welsh band fronted by a female ...

We escaped relatively well. We weren't linked TOO closely with the whole britpop thing. We just happened to be successful in the 1990s, when Britpop was happening. I think we were a little more prog rock than the rest of the britpack.

You've got a new job presenting a show on BBC Six Music. You must be pretty browned off that they're planning now to close the whole service down...

We really have to look after the BBC, it is something that shouldn't be taken for granted. Growing up as children, we had such a wealth of programming. I want my children to have the same wealth and diversity, and access to educational programming. It's not just about Six Music. The BBC can't be streamlined in a bad way. It cannot be streamlined to be in competition with the commercial sector. It needs to be very diverse and informative and full of content. No commercial sector is going to be able to take the risks the BBC can.

You were close to Stuart Cable, the former Stereophonics drummer who passed away recently ...

He was an absolutely lovely chap and an amazing drummer who I loved to watch. That's all I'd like to say about him really.

So you're going to be in Dublin soon performing the poetry of Yeats. Funny, we didn't have you down as a fan of great literature ...

He's one of those writers where you can open a book and read it, without having to delve too deeply. And then, if you want, you can go more deep. But it's lovely to be able to just pick up some Yeats and read it. He's very musical, very lyrical. We do seem to have an immensely rich history of Celtic poets. And Yeats is bang in the middle of that.

Mind you, when we were studying him in school, everyone just thought he was a dirty old man ...

Ha! There are a lot of poets that are.

Cerys Matthews will perform the poetry of Yeats on Monday at the National Library as part of its month long Summer's Wreath Yeats Celebration, see

Irish Independent

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