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Article: Small Talk with Writer, Journalist and Author Nick Johnstone

Beastie Boys

Small Talk with Writer, Journalist and Author Nick Johnstone

Today we check in with London-based writer Nick Johnstone for another edition of Small Talk. Read on to find out how music has enriched his life with his daughter and what rockers Perry Farrell and Paul Westerberg told him that he'll never forget. NICK JOHNSTONE Bio: Writer/ journalist, covering arts/ lifestyle for various titles, including The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Huffington Post. Also an author of 13 books, including biographies of Amy Winehouse, Patti Smith and the memoir A Head Full of Blue. Brood: Bella is 8 now. She's a raging butterfly. Famous rock star my daughter most resembles: On account of her very English look, these days she often resembles a young Jane Birkin. When she was younger, she looked more like Tina Weymouth. I don't resemble any musicians, though I've often-to my bemusement- been told I look like the actor Bill Murray. How has parenthood affected my work: It's taught me to be more patient because you often get inspired right when you're busy doing parent stuff. Best advice I ever received: When I was a few months away from becoming a father, Perry Farrell said this beautiful thing to me about how our children are our best teachers. Since Bella was born, I've thought about that almost daily. 5 things Bella can't live without: Chocolate. Books. Her beloved jellycat monkey. Her goldfish Cheap (who is alone now after his partner Juicy recently died). Tivall vegetarian sweetcorn grills. 5 things I can't live without: Travel. Coffee. My sunrise faking alarm clock. A wild imagination. Bella's love. How has music enriched our lives: Bella's always been around and loved music. For instance, when she was a baby she loved The Clash. We knew because their music was the only music that stopped a crying fit. It was sort of destiny that, via a story too long to go into here, she ended up coming to know Paul Simonon. Her favourite track by The Clash today is "Guns of Brixton." Music we love: Bella's really into Bob Marley, Warpaint, the XX and Beastie Boys at the moment-all of whom I like, too. But where we really cross over is in sharing a serious co-obsession with Phoenix's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album. It's always playing.
Biggest misconception about parenting: That anybody has a clue how to do it. Are you ready to introduce your baby to the music you love? If I were to write a book about parenting, it would be called... "Go home and give Bella a big kiss." Which is something Paul Westerberg said to me once when he was over here inLondon. It was unforgettable to have the hero of my youth say something like that: I suppose I "grew up" that night. Our limited-edition Rockabye Baby! Good Day, Goodnight 2-CD compilation is a great way to start. It features lullaby renditions of 24 songs by some of the coolest rockers around, including Beastie Boys, Arcade Fire, The Strokes and The Kinks.

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