Seniority/British native enjoys guitar, Rotary Club
Published 5:50 pm, Thursday, November 10, 2011
Editor's note: This is one in an occasional series of chats with local seniors about their lives, youthful aspirations, sources of pride and regret, plus a bit of wisdom to share with younger folks.
The follwing is an interview with British native Nick Clarke, 72, who went to sea for $22-a-month at 16, sailed `round the world many times and set sights on being a good guitarist. He's lived in Westport 32 years, continuing to promote guitar-playing. He suffered a life-changing loss in May when his wife of 38 years, Mary, passed away. The couple raised two daughters and a son.
Q: How long have you lived in Westport?
A: About 32 years.
Q: Are you married? How long and to whom?
A: My wife Mary and I were married 38 years. She passed away on May 8th of this year.
Q: Children? How many?
A: Three. Two daughters and a son.
Q: Are you retired?
Q: What did you do when you worked full-time?
A: I published books about the guitar under the name The Bold Strummer Ltd.
Q: What did you want to do when you grew up?
A: Travel, meet musicians.
Q: What was a significant memory or defining moment in your childhood or youth?
A: I don't have a defining moment. However I went to sea working at $22-a-month on passenger ships at the age of 16. I sailed around the world many times. That was sort of defining.
Q: What is your greatest guilty pleasure?
A: I plead the fifth.
Q: Do you have any regrets in life?
A: I think everyone has a few. I would have liked to be a better guitarist than I am.
Q: What achievements of yours are you most proud of?
A: My children, if they can be considered an achievement. And putting back into print books about the guitar and flamenco that would have been long forgotten.
Q: What, if anything, are you greatly concerned about?
A: Pretty mundane stuff. Stock market. Kids. House. Getting old and fat.
Q: What are your main hobbies and interests?
A: I am a keen kayaker. I also do Bikram Yoga a couple of times a week. I play the guitar fairly well. I have a well-stocked library and I dabble in oil and acrylic painting. I am very fond of modern art. I am also a proud member of the Westport Sunrise Rotary Club.
Q: Do you have a favorite work of art?
Q: What music do you listen to and what is your favorite piece?
A: I listen to Glen Gould, the late. I should say, playing Bach two part inventions and Django Reinhardt's Hot Club of Paris. My favorite piece is Stephen Grossman playing Auror's Powder Rag on the guitar.
Q: Do you have a favorite movie?
A: Zulu. Starring Michael Caine and Stanley Baker.
Q: What TV show do you watch regularly?
A: None with any regularity.
Q: Who do you think was the best President of the United States and why?
A: I can't give a definitive answer.
Q: If you could tell the President of the United States one thing, what would it be?
A: Flat tax.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Tag sale signs up ages after the event.
Q: Best piece of advice for the younger generation?
A: Well, I'll quote my dear departed wife Mary. Her motto was Be Ye Kind.
Q: What brings you your greatest joy?
A: My children. Modern art. Westport Public Library.
Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: Well, that question catches me at a bad time. My wife died last May.
Q: If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?
A: That's a catch 22. I can't find my magic wand. I wish I could.