Karl Pilkington: On My Culture Radar
The TV personality on why he likes Sean Lock, Rome, and the film Force Majeure
Karl Pilkington: “If you watch the early James Bond, he had a gadget for every film and you’d never see him use it again”
Current favourite restaurant
I don’t like the modern style of eating on shared tables, the kind you see in Wagamama. It’s like it’s out of Oliver Twist. So I like Murano in Soho, which is run by Angela Hartnett. The atmosphere there is nice and relaxing and the food is delicious. Half the time I don’t know what I’m eating, but they could make a Pot Noodle taste delicious.
I like Sean Lock. I can relate to a lot of the things he says; he likes a bit of a moan. He’s one of them who doesn’t crop up on telly all the time, so you don’t get a chance to be sick of him. He does what he does, keeps his head down and gets on with it.
I’ve been around, and a lot of cities are starting to feel copy-and-pasted. You can be dropped in any of them and you end up standing next to a Starbucks and a Topshop. But Rome stands out because it’s different. If you got dropped in Rome, in seconds you’d know you’re in Rome. I couldn’t live there, it’s a bit too hectic for me, but it is my favourite city. When I go I just mooch about and look at the buildings, it’s like an open-air museum.
I like Harry Dean Stanton, who died recently aged around 91. He was in loads of things that aren’t massive but the last film he did was Lucky, and he was also in Paris, Texas. His face is interesting, partly because he was old. He always plays the same character but I know that if he’s been happy to appear in something, it’s going to be a film that I like.
I’ve just started listening to The Two Shot Podcast with Craig Parkinson. He gets in various actors, some of them you know, some of them you don’t, some of them are starting out. He simply talks to them about their life, like about the memories they have as a kid and their family life. There’s no bells and whistles or big production piece. My favourite one is with Steve Evets, who was in a film called Looking for Eric about Eric Cantona. He’s a good storyteller, and was talking about how he was in the navy.
The thing with gadgets is you use them once and stick them in the drawer. Like if you watch the early James Bond, he had a gadget for every film and you’d never see him use it again. It was always something he’d use once and then stick in a drawer. The Actifry is something I bought and gets used a lot. I mainly use it for roast potatoes and chips, which turn out better than oven chips. They’re the sort that you’d normally have to make in a frying pan with proper fat.
I don’t like things that run and run. I was enjoying Mad Men, and then I got to Series 4 and I realised it felt like it could be Coronation Street. A mate recommended End of the Fucking World on Channel 4, which I enjoyed. It didn’t rely on big effects and had a good soundtrack, it was shot nicely, the location looked nice, and you were with the couple on their mad journey.
I recently saw Force Majeure, directed by Ruben Östlund. It starts off with a husband and his family sat outside in a ski resort and it looks like an avalanche is coming towards them, so he picks up his phone and legs it, leaving his family. Then all the snow settles and he comes back to the table and his wife is like, ‘That’s what you would have done, is it, if that was a real avalanche?’ The movie is about what happens from that small incident. I liked that question: what would you do in that situation? You think you’d stay there and protect your family, but you don’t know until it happens. It’s funny how a small, tiny thing can have such a big knock-on effect. That’s life, isn’t it?
Sick of It continues on October 4th on Sky 1 and online streaming service Now TV