Thank goodness for The English Game, and thank goodness for Kevin Guthrie. Without Netflix’s new sporting drama and period romp — or its winning leading man — us football fans might have been resigned to a 1000-piece commemorative jigsaw of Lincoln Town FC, or a penalty shootout with Maximus, the neighbour’s cat. (Stupid name, excellent goalkeeper.)
But Guthrie’s here, alright (as Fergus Suter, the first ever professional player), and he’s sticking it to the chinless poshos of the Old Etonian clique, one knickerbockered kick at a time. (You should really watch it, if you haven’t already — not least for the excellent facial hair on show.)
We caught up with the Scottish actor for the first in our series of Quarantine Questionnaires — and discussed Mary Poppins, stoicism, and why you should never pet a dog in a pub.
Where are you living right now?
Thankfully I managed to get back ‘up the road’ to Glasgow two days before lockdown officially started. I had a hunch it might go on a while.
Who are you with?
What are you reading?
A lot lately: The Master Key System by Charles Haanel; The Poetry Pharmacy by William Seighart; 365 Daily Stoic Meditations by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman; and The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman.
What are you listening to?
I’m very much into my cinematic scores at the minute so my John Williams playlist is on repeat.
What’s your daily exercise of choice?
I’ve been doing a 30-day daily workout challenge through an app on my phone. Myself and my girlfriend are pushing each other through it — it’s a healthy competition… I hope. It’s a full body HIIT workout which focuses on each of the muscle groups in the body.
For the most part we’ve been working out in the flat so I like to throw in one cycle/run/skipping session per day to keep the cardio levels high, get a sweat on and maximise my ‘fresh air’ time.
What’s your favourite board game?
Monopoly. Very old school. I love it.
What’s the best thing you’ve cooked?
Last week we were craving some home comfort, so the good old mac ‘n’ cheese was put to the test once again. I make a huge tray of it with a couple of key ingredients — then cook it slowly in the oven at a low temperature for over an hour. It’s pretty damn good, if I do say so myself!
Are you still able to work at all?
Very much so. It’s all prep work, but vital nonetheless. Oddly, I’m finding myself pretty focused during lockdown. I very much embrace the routine of work and thrive in that environment so as soon as I created the structure I was good to go. Skype/video calls have been brilliant, I can still take meetings on, which has been great.
What small, unexpected thing do you miss the most?
Going out for a coffee! It seemed really trivial at the time, almost an excuse to get out the house, but now, without it, I realise it is a really important part of my daily routine.
Which three people, living or dead, would you most like to be quarantined with?
I’ll go down the ‘famous/influential’ people route because I’d happily be quarantined with my family and loved ones indefinitely. Marcus Aurelius — I could listen to that guy’s teachings all day. Robin Williams — can you imagine the f***ing laugh?! And then Mary Poppins, just to keep us three in line. Pip pip.
Have you had any ‘light bulb’ moments since this all started?
Community still exists! I’m pretty sure it always did. Just when we thought we might lose it for good, here it is with a surprising knock at the door. Come in, come in.
Have you taken up a new hobby?
Writing short stories. Strictly not a new hobby, just a new genre of writing. I’m writing a story just now and the challenge is to complete it by the end of lockdown.
What projects have you got coming up?
We had started filming the third instalment of Fantastic Beasts, so I’m due to resume that after lockdown, and thereafter I am doing a really cool indie film, but I’m keen to keep that one under wraps.
What are the biggest positives we can take from all this?
- That the NHS are our f***cking life-line, and they are amazing.
- Community still exists.
- The simple things in life are the most sacred.
- Exercising everyday — I’m pretty sure as a nation we are going to win every gold medal going now.
- Maybe mass consumerism will take a breather for a bit — that would be cool.
How will you celebrate once this is all over?
By…(takes a deep breath)…going back to work? I jest. With a massive BBQ: friends and family, everyone, get along — it’s going to be off the chart!
Finally: tell us a joke.
A guy walks into a bar, sees a dog lying by the barman. He goes up to the barman and orders a drink. He says to the barman, “Here mate, does your dog bite?” Barman says, “Not at all.”
So the man bends down to pat the dog — and the dog instantly bites off his hand. Screaming in pain he says, “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite?!” Barman looks down at the dog and says, “That’s not my dog.” (Thank you).
The English Game is available to watch on Netflix now.
Looking to up your lockdown exercise regime? James Yates has the perfect one-hour workout…
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