On the Couch with Paul Livingston

Arts Review Paul Livingston photo by Shane RozarioWho is Paul Livingston?
The youngest son of Evelyn and Stanley Livingston. You can read all about them in my memoir of my Father, Absent Without Leave – The Private Life of Private Stanley Livingston. Their youngest son (me) has enjoyed an eclectic life, as an art student, animator, actor, comedian, author, musician, campanologist and rights management officer, but is generally best known for his A.K.A, Flacco – a confounding comic creation that refuses to abandon its creator. You can read all about him in my professional memoir, D.A.A.S. Their Part in my Downfall – How I survived life on the road with the Doug Anthony Allstars.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would learn to drive, swim, marry, have children, accrue substantial superannuation, own a freestanding home, retire, play lawn bowls and entertain the grandchild. (I think I have just described my brother. He’s a card carrying member of Mensa, and it shows)

Who inspires you and why?
The two gentlemen with whom I’m currently treading the boards, Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson. I first worked with the Doug Anthony Allstars thirty years ago and the fact that one of them is now in a wheelchair and the other is a curmudgeonous silver fox has not changed a thing. As then I am endlessly amazed at their dedication to their craft and commitment to the audience.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Nothing. The sublime uselessness of art has always impressed me. At best, comedians are the architects of other peoples happiness. My role is to offer the “difference makers” of this planet pause to laugh.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
My favourite part of any journey is arriving home again. I enjoy my empty nest.  It’s just a shame I can’t take it with me. Mind you business class on a Qantas A380 has its enticements. The seat is almost as large as my apartment and there are friendly staff who call me Mr Livingston instead of “Hey! You’re that guy!” Then they motion a curl of hair on their foreheads. I really hate that.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I give them a guide book and send them on their way. I nurture mere acquaintance’s, they are much easier to ignore.

What are you currently reading?
My answer to that last question. It’s somewhat malcontentious. (I think I just made that word up).

What are you currently listening to?
Olafur Arnalds, Nicolas Jarr, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, The Handsome Family and the complete works of Arvo Pärt.

Happiness is?
Campanology. I ring the bells at my local church (the church where Elton John was married and Muriel’s Wedding was shot). Becoming immersed in the mesmerising waterfall of sympathetic notes showering down from half a dozen three hundred-year-old bells high in the tower is my idea of the perfect Sunday morning.

What does the future hold for you?
I have no idea. My life to this point has been improvised. All I hope for is more of the same. Even if that same is utterly unpredictable. I wouldn’t say I lived on the edge, but I subscribe to a state that one of my favourite writers, Richard Holloway calls “expectant uncertainty”.

Following the Doug Anthony Allstars record-breaking reformation world tour, Paul joins Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson to present their shocking new show, Near Death Experience at the Civic Theatre Newcastle on Saturday 27 May, before playing selected dates throughout New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria in June. For more information, visit: www.cheekymonkeycomedy.com for details.

Image: Paul Livingston – photo by Shane Rozario