I think it was about a year or two ago when I really stopped. That was a result of realising that a lot of things are out of my control; a lot of people’s perceptions of me were out of my control, so there was no point caring.
As I’ve grown older, I have had more and more conversations with my cousin Anthony. Over time, the conversations have increased in depth and intrigue. I admire Anthony’s ability to encourage people to follow the path they desire and try new things; he was the person that sent me books for aspiring architects back when I actually wanted to be one. Such qualities aren’t easy to find in many people. By having a conversation with him, one may visualise his mind as wide; one that considers the various sides to various things, and that is open to new concepts and opinions. This sincere and honest interview took place shortly after Charles’ interview, also in the same room with the same people. It was a fun day.
Here is his response:
Hi, what’s your name?
My name is Anthony.
What did you eat for breakfast?
Erm, for breakfast I had…what did I have? Shreddies.
What’s one thing you wish you had done?
Most recently, I saw this guy I recognised from a TED Talk, walking down one of these streets in Oxford. But I kind of pussied out.
Of talking to him?
What’s his name?
I’ve forgotten his name now actually.
Um, what’s one thing you regret doing?
What’s one thing I regret doing? Caring too much about what people thought about me for a long time.
How old were you when you think you stopped caring?
I still care a bit, but um, I think it was about a year or two ago when I really stopped. That was a result of realising that a lot of things are out of my control; a lot of people’s perceptions of me were out of my control, so there was no point caring. When you get into that Uni environment, you kind of come across a wide range of people from different backgrounds. They’re all going to have different perceptions of you.
Okay, is there something that makes you happy?
Loads of things make me happy…like working…
(His voice trails off then rises again)
Are you even enjoying this?
I am enjoying it. you’re just taking long but I can’t force you to speed up.
Do you want me to make it quick-fire and say whatever comes to my head?
It doesn’t matter!
Cause I usually like taking a bit long to…
Just don’t think too hard.
Okay. So what was the question?
Is there something that makes you happy?
Yeah, going to the gym.
(I laugh again)
Is there someone that makes you happy?
Loads of people make me happy.
Can you name one of them?
When is the last time you read a book?
Um, two days ago. It was called ‘Economic Development and Globalisation’.
Why do people like the Spice Girls so much?
Because they represent a rebellious, “don’t give a f**k’ attitude that a lot of people wish they could emulate.
Do you care for 90s Rnb?
I love it – because it’s just so wavy isn’t it? (He smiles) It just makes you feel…good! (Then we laugh)
What’s your favourite song?
Probably Rough Soul by GoldLink.
I like that song. I won’t sing it though. What is the one thing you look forward to?
Depends where I am; like a given time, it varies.
Okay…what do you want to be when you grow up?
(Someone sighs in the background, then we start laughing. On the Christmas of 2015, Anthony told us that he would like to be immortal and none of us have let it go ever since – including Anthony himself. Such an aspiration is new to me. ‘I can’t wait for this!’ Says my sister.)
So if you were to be immortal, how would you achieve that? Do you think it’s possible?
I think science is working towards it; I’m not the best qualified person to speak on the technicalities. But, I hope that it happens.
(My sister: ‘Really?)
Okay. Can you use an analogy to describe love?
(Anthony starts laughing, as does everyone else)
I’m just thinking of Charles’ answer… I don’t know how I’m gonna top that!
It was so beautiful!
(He smiles) Refer to Charlie’s answer, that’s all I’m gonna say! It was more of a description than an analogy, but it fits perfectly I think.
Yeah. Who do you miss?
Um, most recently, my ex-girlfriend.
Aw cute, (my smile was so wide) have you ever been in love?
Aw (I started giggling) okay.
(My sister: ‘Are you meant to be giving your opinion or not?’)
I don’t know sometimes I write it down, and sometimes I don’t. How are you?
Tired. (Pause) Actually, I’m excited.
And what are you excited about?
Um, I’m going to Camden tonight.
Tonight? It’s 9:30pm! Are you going to a club or…?
Yeah it’s a special Kanye West night, and they just play Kanye West music. It ends at 2 or 3am. If we get going now, I could probably catch the last hour and a half.
Oh, I’ll make this quick then. Black or white?
No, take your time, we’re not going anywhere. Black.
Red or green?
How do you express yourself?
…I don’t think I fully have yet.
Okay. Do you believe in God?
I believe in an ultimate creator, because that’s what makes logical sense. But if we’re talking about…
A Christian God?
Yeah, the reason why is because there are too may conflicting pieces of evidence in the Bible.
(I agree with him on the conflicting parts, but I believe nevertheless) Name an opinion of yours that has changed.
(Another pause) Shoot, this is a hard one. An opinion of mine that’s changed? Um, can we pause it for a second so I can think?
We can come back to it.
Have you ever been told that you’ve changed?
A lot, recently.
What do you think of social media?
It’s a double – edged sword.
There are positives and negatives. It just depends on how the individual uses it.
Okay. Are you a fan of museums and galleries?
If you could live in one other country, where would it be?
Um, anywhere that was sunny, had a beach close by, and cheap to live in.
Do you think that school is bad for your mental health?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with education, if that’s the deeper question you’re asking. But I think that the way it is delivered can be changed, for sure.
What was your least favourite part of school?
Waking up every morning.
Favourite type of sandwich?
Ooh. Right now, probably Salmon and cream cheese.
Do you think you’re photogenic?
(I turn to my cousins and say ‘everyone love yourself man, everyone is photogenic’. I didn’t realise fast enough that not seeing oneself as photogenic doesn’t imply that you don’t love yourself.)
I’m not saying that I don’t love myself, I’m just saying that I don’t think I’m photogenic.
I think everyone is photogenic, as long as you get the right angle, you know? Define happiness.
I don’t know if you can define a feeling; that would be subjective. So for me, it’s just a feeling followed by positive thinking, I guess.
Is there a difference between happiness and joy?
Uh, by textbook definition, yeah. But for most people it’s indistinguishable.
When you’re joyful, I feel like it is more intrinsic… you know what I mean? No?
What do you mean by intrinsic?
(Charles in the background: ‘Like an internal state of being.’)
Joy is like, on the inside.
Okay, that’s what I think as well. (I smile) Can you spill your heart out to me?
Nah. (Laughing again)
I love that question. Do you ever feel lonely?
What do you buy when you’re treating yourself?
How old are your parents?
46 and I think 48.
Name one thing that everyone but you seems to understand.
Crisper technology. (The confusion at this answer leads Charles to say ‘It’s a gene-editing technology.’)
Oh. I don’t know what that means! But back to this question, name an opinion of yours that has changed.
I haven’t been thinking about it.
But hold on, I actually want to give you a good answer for that one.
(He sits and thinks for some time)
I don’t know if it would be an opinion, but it’s like a shift in perspective. I’d say, just realising that people are a product of their environment and when you’re interacting with people, you have to always take that into consideration.
Equality of opportunity or equality of outcome?
Ideally opportunity…actually, I don’t even think that’s an ideal situation. But I’d say opportunity.
Okay, is there something about you that you want people to know about you?
Um (another long pause), without coming across as shallow, no.
Okay then. End of interview!
Is that it?
Anthony is a cool person to speak to – I wish you could meet him.