‘I am a crier. I’d cry peeling an orange’
In conversation: Russell and Patrick of the website GastroGays
Patrick Hanlon (left) and Russell James Alford
When did you last cry?
Patrick: Probably the last time I cried was happy tears.
Russell: You cry happy tears more than you cry sad tears. For me it was when I was getting nostalgic about my former life working in radio. Certain memories hit me and I start crying.
Patrick: You’re a crier.
Russell: I am a crier. I’d cry peeling an orange.
Patrick: Oh the humanity.
What is your favourite destination to visit?
Russell: I love Brussels. It’s like an unpretentious Paris in a way. It’s just fun.
Patrick: Mine is anywhere in Sweden. It’s the one place I’ve travelled to that instantly feels like home. I can relate to it more than any other place I’ve been.
What was your favourite item of clothing when you were a teenager?
Russell: I had a red My Chemical Romance T-shirt I got at their concert in the Ambassador. It was the one item of clothing I had that wasn’t black.
Patrick: I had a black Distillers T-shirt that I found in a shop in Temple Bar. It was a tenner.
What was the first album you bought?
Patrick: I think it was Steps. I say that with half shame, half pride.
Russell: Mine was Girls Aloud.
What is your go-to dessert?
Patrick: Affogato. It’s so simple and always works.
Russell: If I have the time, it’s a lemon meringue pie. When I was younger I was amazing at making them, but as I’ve got older I’ve got worse. I get too adventurous, a little too cocky and I screw it up.
What book do you keep returning to?
Russell: Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen. I’ve destroyed that book by having it open in the kitchen. It’s all about French food made very simple, a cuisine I’m accustomed to being difficult – in my head at least.
Patrick: For me it’s The Hobbit.
Is there any artist you feel particular connected to right now?
Russell: I adore Olly Alexander. I would have loved his confidence when I was a teenager. There are so many artists like that in the world that make me wish they were around when I was a teenager. It would have been so different to have someone like that to look up to. His attitude is amazing.
Patrick: I would say Sia. I appreciate the way that she’s come through an industry from obscurity to being a global name, but keeping her essence her own. She appeals to the masses but also embraces weirdness.
What is your favourite street?
Patrick: Drury Street [in Dublin]. If it was a street in any town, it would be my favourite street in that place. You’d probably say the same?
Russell: I would have to agree with you, annoyingly. You are right. It’s a place that we go to a lot together, or if we’re meeting friends.
When were you closest to death?
Russell: We were travelling around Sweden in the depths of winter this year and we went kayaking in one of the archipelagos near Gothenburg. I lifted my oar at the wrong time and a gust of wind knocked me under. I was worried I didn’t have my inhaler on me because I’m asthmatic.
Patrick: I would like to say on the record that I did come to your rescue.
Russell: You did. But it was quite scary. I needed to get my breath back to normal.
Patrick: I’ve always been afraid of flying. When I was coming home from a family holiday in the States, I was in the airport and could see ominous grey clouds gathering. When we got on the plane, we were at the gate for an hour, crawled out to the runway for another hour. In my head I was like ‘Why are we doing this, clearly all of these obstructions are telling us we should not be flying in a thunderstorm?’ In the ascent through the thunderstorm I felt that nobody was feeling what I was feeling. I felt that I was going to die and that no one else around me got it. Completely irrational.
What was the last gift that you bought?
Patrick: For a dog. How sad is that.
Russell: A friend fosters a load of dogs and she is inseparable from a chihuahua called Luna. My friend wears leathers, has a motorcycle, she’s like a gothic Paris Hilton going around. Black hair, chihuahua. The present was a little wooden bow for its collar.
Patrick: The dog will not appreciate it.