My Weekend: Gareth Howells

Gareth Howells
Gareth Howells
Portsmouth & Southsea railway station by Andy Cooper

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Gareth Howells, 41, from Southsea, is a music teacher and frontman of folk band Bemis, who are nominated for Best Band at The News Guide Awards at the Kings Theatre on Monday.

When did you last go away and where did you go?

The gigs often get in the way of that kind of thing. Last year, for example, Bemis played eight festivals. Pretty much every weekend of the summer was spent in a field somewhere in England. But with so many festivals in trouble or stopped next year, it could be we’ll have some free weekends....

What was the last gig/concert/comedy show you went to?

Bruce Cockburn, the incredible singer-songwriter from Canada at Bush Hall in London. He inspires me to write better and has always been one of my musical heroes.

What about the last theatre show you saw?

Avenue Q (pictured right). It’s an amazing one-off that makes you laugh, makes you think and makes you feel for the characters in the show.

The last book you read? Street Gang: The History of Sesame Street – an account of how Sesame Street was made and some of the ways it evolved through the years. It’s a brilliant read if you’re interested in the development of the Muppet output. Me and my kids were fed a healthy diet of Sesame Street (pictured far right) when we were little, and I think it has been a good influence for all sorts of reasons.

The last film you saw at the cinema or on DVD?

The Hobbit. It surpassed my expectations. I loved every second of it. Whether it’s a wise decision to make three films is yet to be seen, but I have a lot of faith in Peter Jackson. It’s quite incredible what he has achieved with Tolkien’s work.

What’s your favourite way to relax?

A cup of tea, some biscuits and a good music DVD .

What do you watch on TV?

I’m totally hooked on The Walking Dead, but also keep up with Once Upon a Time and Grimm. The Walking Dead has always amazed me at how strong the script is and how much they have expanded the concept from simply the ‘siege’ scenario you often get with zombie fiction.

And which TV programmes do you avoid?

Soaps and X Factor. What it stands for and what it promotes is appalling.

Which celeb would you most like to spend a weekend with?

Scarlett Johansson or a weekend of jamming and trading musical ideas with Andy Partridge of XTC.

Where do you shop?

I love secondhand bookshops. That can be the most satisfying shopping experience for me.

What about pubs and bars? Where do you go?

The Cellars and The Barley Mow. They are particularly music friendly.

Where’s good for a day out locally?

I love going to Marwell Zoo – its food for the soul. I also love taking the dogs for a walk down Queen Elizabeth Country Park. It’s good to escape to greenery.