David Mitchell is Chester’s long serving Town Crier. He has written 2 books and made numerous film and TV appearances.
1. How are you?
Right now I am feeling honoured to be interviewed by Britain’s premier blogger.
2. Who is your hero?
3. What advice would you give to your younger self?
You have a maverick personality so you are going to have a hard time fitting into conventional roles. On the other hand, you have got loads of initiative to go in unusual directions, so don’t make yourself miserable trying to be ‘normal’. You are going to have to create your own path. The sooner you accept that, and go with it, the happier you will be.
4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
Sit in on the recording sessions for a Bob Dylan album.
5. Fav album of all time?
I am torn between ‘Blood on the Tracks’ and ‘Slow Train Coming’, but if pushed to choose between them I would probably go for ‘Slow Train’.
6. What would you sing on karaoke night?
‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ (off ‘Slow Train Coming’)
7. If you could change one thing about Chester what would it be?
I would love to see Chester become more confident about all the good things – and excellent people – we have here. Chester always seem to be looking for some outside experts or investors to turn things around for us, rather than fully playing to the strengths we already have
8. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
9. What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?
I would take a Kindle to give me an endless supply of books, an infinite supply of writing materials, and a black Labrador.
10. Name 3 things you hate
Sitting in the ‘quiet coach’ on a train but having to endure people using their phones, or listening to music without headphones.
Service-providers who make it deliberately difficult for disgruntled customers to communicate with them.
Anonymous internet trolling.
11. What is the greatest memory of your life?
Well there are so many things I could choose so choosing just one would be difficult. My proudest moment, though, is much easier. It was on the first of April 2017: the day that I was appointed rooftop-mower to Chester’s new bus interchange.
12. Fav film of all time?
‘Notting Hill’. Yes I do regret having turned down the lead role in that film, but I thought Hugh Grant did a good job in my absence.
13. What do you do to relax?
Walk, spend time with friends (especially over a meal) and read. I am hugely enjoying ‘At Home’ by Bill Bryson currently.
14. Which person, living or dead would you take for an independent coffee or drink?
Danny Bhoy, the Scottish story-teller and comedian.
15. Favourite place in the borough (specific)?
My answer to this question would change fairly regularly. When the Covid lockdown first happened, and we were confined to an hour’s exercise each day, I loved walking along the banks of the River Dee in those circumstances of exceptional peace and quiet. Then over the summer I have enjoyed sitting outside Leonidas in Bridge Street, drinking Musty’s excellent hot chocolate, reading a book and watching people pass by. But if you are offering to take me somewhere, I would choose Hoole’s ‘Made In Italy’.
16. If you could time travel, where/when would you go?
Well first you have to promise me that I can come back to the present day whenever I decide. (I like living in this time of hot showers, anaesthetics and central heating.) But if that is agreed, I would choose to go back to Shakespeare’s time.
17. If you could have one superpower what would it be?
I would like the ability to always know where I last put my reading glasses and car keys.
18. Why should we hire you?
You couldn’t hire the town crier in the normal way right now, because it is my job to attract crowds and crowds are not encouraged in the midst of the epidemic. However, I can still proclaim messages by filming the proclamation in my back garden to be posted online. So the usual principle still applies: hire me because I can get your message across in a way that is loud, colourful and quirky.
19. Which are the three most unusual things you have done as a town crier?
Jumping of the top of St Peter’s Church at the high Cross and sliding down Bridge Street on a zip-wire; walking the high-wire when the Moscow State Circus came to the Roodee; making a horseback proclamation at a wedding in Mickle Trafford.
20. What are your three tips for leading a better life?
Well I don’t know about leading a better life but here are three small things that always brighten my life. I would recommend in need of a cheerful tonic to look on YouTube for:
1. Deaf people hearing for the first time after receiving cochlear implants.
2. Clips of colour-blind people seeing colour for the first time after being given Enchroma glasses.
3. Clips from Danny Bhoy’s stand-up shows.