Interview with Throg Niemand

Not known so much in this world but a celebrity in the underworld, Throg Niemand talks about life, writing and gives hope to all wastrels out there.

Q. What age did you start writing. Did you have a happy childhood in Germany. And did your childhood have an effect on the way you write.

A. To answer the second part first, no. I wrote my first short story at the age of three months, several months before I spoke my first words. It was called "Agg owm wei pwappo" and was the harrowing tale of the abstract interactions of some barely understood emotions with a cluster of blurry lights. Or something. Meanwhile back at the second part of your question, I am not from Germany although my name is. My name had a traumatic upbringing: born an orphan in the fictitious town of Neuschlectsburg, he was horribly yet nebulously abused by the memory of the parents he imagined he would have had, had he actually existed.

Q. What inspired you to write Malcolm the Barbarian.

A. Malcolm the Barbarian is a true story. To protect the individuals depicted, some of the inside-leg measurements have been changed.

Q. Do you write everyday or only when you feel inspired.

A. I pretty much always feel inspired. However, I am very easily distracted.

Q. You confess to have side stepped reality for a number of years, what did you do over that time.

A. I danced I sang. I made marmalade from the bones of the old Gods and spread it upon the grim toast of disappointment to make it palatable. Then I ate it with some Fava beans and a nice Vimto.

Q. Do you receive a lot of fan mail regarding your moustache. I've heard people say it's mighty impressive. It seems to be the talk of the town around here.

A. Why, you flatterer! Oddly, no. I do receive a surprising number of fan moustaches. One particularly ingenious fan had written the first chapter of a novel on the individual hairs of his moustache. Sadly, due to some rough-handling by the post-office the original order was not preserved so I don't know if it was any good. It did feature the word "beetroot" a lot and I believe the author's name was either Hector or Plimsoll.

Q. Do you prefer to be known as a writer or a wastrel and what authors and wastrels inspire you.

A. I prefer to be known as a moustache with a writer/wastrel attached. An eagle-clawed reader would be very scary. What? Anyway, an eagle-eyed reader could probably infer some of the authors who have inspired me from my blog. I'll mention a few for readers who have the body parts of only a single species. Robert Heinlein, for being the first author to present me with worlds I hadn't imagined and sparked a life-long interest in science fiction, intelligent naked women and unworkable simplistic politics, Stephen King for making people in unbelievable situations believable. Umberto Eco for somehow managing to make stories entertaining and readable while requiring a trip to the dictionary or encyclopedia every three pages, Dan Brown for showing utter contempt for research, plot, characterisation, grammar, integrity and for inspiring in me utter contempt for authors named Dan Brown.

The wastrels that have most inspired me are Albert Einstein, Bender B. Rodriguez, Kwai Chang Kane and John Henry Holliday (despite his weedy moustache). The real trick to being a wastrel is to find the line between louche and lounging around in your underpants.

Q. What music do you like and has music ever inspired you to write a story.

A. My tastes are eclectic, but a disproportionate number of the songs I like are from the mid-sixties to early seventies. Not just the nineteen sixties and seventies, but from the adjacent centuries. I like a lot of Tchaikovsky, Bob Dylan, The doors, Queen, Sam Cooke and Queebril Vappfong (big hit with "My nanotech love" in 2068). The most recent band I can recall being really into are Radiohead and the least recent are Alvin Rrrg's tarpit troubadours.

I am quite often inspired by music, but it tends to be isolated strings of words, images or emotional stirrings rather than the ostensible content.

Q. Do you have any daily rituals and do you plan out your stories or would you say you are a spontaneous writer.

A. I have no rituals, nor sadly, any habits related to writing though I do intend to shop for some in the near future. I don't do any deliberate planning, and most of the stuff that appears on my blog is completely spontaneous and - as you can probably tell - rarely edited. Malcolm The Barbarian is also just typed as it comes. Some of my more serious writing rattles around in my brain for a while before I write any of it down though there is no formal planning. My novel tends to get between fifty and a hundred pages in before I decide if it could be better, or throw it away and start over again. I have a smoking jacket and a writer's hat now, so hopefully that will change.

Q. Are you still a big fan of The A-Team.

A. They don't seem to have done a lot lately, do they? Also, I was a fan of the real A-Team, who were rather more violent and much snappier dressers than those namby-pambies on television. Although, in contrast to George Peppard's "I love it when a plan comes together", the real Hannibal's catchphrase is this disappointing "My knee really hurts". Also, Face is a Mandrill.

Q. What would you say to all those people who said you were talentless. :-D

A. What? "All"? Who are these people? In all honesty no one has ever said that, but if they did I'd say, never presume to judge a man's talents until you've been naked with him and given him a few minutes to get his breath back.

Q. Are you working on a story at the moment. And will we be able to read more of Malcolm The Barbarian soon.

A. I am about four minutes into a ten minute film script I'm writing. I am between destroying the most recent draft of my novel and starting again. I have two thirds of a poem and about seventy ideas for things. There will be a lot more Malcolm The Barbarian. My plan is to write a new chapter every week, which means I'll probably actually write one every two or three weeks.

Q. How do you like to relax.

A. I never relax. Being a wastrel is a 24-hour-a-day commitment.

Q. Do you like frogs.

A. I am ambivalent. They look kind of gradely but they are boring conversationalists.

Q. Is being Throg Niemand hard work.

A. Being Niemand is easy, being Throg is something else and I'm not entirely sure what.

Thank you for the interview Throg, it's been great. Any final words.

It has, hasn't it.

My final words are "mellifluous", "moribund", "helicopter" and "oh my God, is that a - ?"

You can check out Throg Niemand's blogs here: