5 Questions With Rags #2: Alain Williams

I think I met Alain Williams at a staff party for the Martlet, or something and though we didn't talk more than a few minutes, we were both intrigued by each others' presence at the time. Dude is into hip-hop and stand-up comedy (My favourites!) and is some kind of kung-fu warrior. He even has balls I can only dream of, getting up on stage and doing his own stand-up comedy - How cool is that shit? We haven't really struck up any kind of real friendship (For reasons that probably don't extend far beyond mutual laziness) but Alain's a homey, for sure. Props.

 Photo credit: Casey Bennett.

Photo credit: Casey Bennett.

1. If you had to choose between sight and sound, which one would you take and why?

 That’s a tough one. Oh man. I will talk myself through this and come to a conclusion for you. I’m a big fan of visual art so sight is obviously very important. I thought I was going to be a visual artist before I found out I don’t have the patience for it. So, even now, I draw and do things like that but it’s had to take a backseat to everything else in my life. Sound is so potent though. I think it’s become more important to me than the visual has. I can look at something for a short time and be wowed by it and enamoured by it but then my attention goes elsewhere. Whereas with sound I’m basically addicted to it. I need a pair of headphones everywhere I go. The first day I got here to Vancouver my a cat chewed through my headphone chord so my roommate lent me her headphones. Any other time I would have been like, “Oh no, it’s fine.” But this time I was like, “Give me those fucking headphones.” Not even just for music, which is important, but listening to podcasts and stand-up and things like that. So I’m going to have to say sound.

 That’s what I would pick too for probably the same reason. Sound addiction is a very serious thing.

 Yes! It is a very serious thing! I mean, I’ve walked past you and I haven’t said “Hi.” I’ll always something online afterwards like “I saw you, man.” And that’s because you had a pair of headphones on and I had a pair of headphones on and I’m not fucking with that. I’m not going to fuck with that. I understand.

 I actually don’t ride my bike because I know I can’t safely wear headphones on the bike. The listening is way more important than getting somewhere more…

 Quickly! Yo man, get a long podcast! Your legs can take it. Get the fuck out of here with shit. Just fucking walk. Stay healthy.

 2. You’re leaving Earth, it’s about to be destroyed and you get to take one piece of culture with you. What are you taking?

 Dude, what is with this hard-hitting shit? This is tough. I don’t know what it would be but I think it would be afro-centric. My first thought is, “Oh, take a piece of classical music.” But like, no, fuck that, there weren’t any niggas doing classical music. There’s going to be a lot of people taking Mozart. Like if you’re asking other people this too…we’ll end up with four people taking Mozart and one person bringing Snoop Dogg or Kevin Hart. Just something that is representative of a wider culture. OR OR OR…It would have be something afro-centric or something to do with Kung-Fu, martial arts. And item or a piece of media like a kung-fu film. If I had to sit down with two items in front of me, like a good hip-hop album and something like 8 Diagram Pole Fighter starring Gordon Liu, I would sit down with both of them on a mat and I would make a choice in the space of seven breaths as to which one I should take. The other one would just have to go.

 3. What’s the most influential movie in shaping your life philosophy?

Oooh, that’s a big one because I watch a lot of those. It’s kind of my jam. I’m going to have to talk myself through this one as well. A lot of films have morals, like that’s kind of their whole shtick. A studio might say, “That’s a good story but change the ending to reflect a moral compass that we can relate to our audience so we can sell more. Blah blah blah.” As a result there’s going to be more films people like because the “moral” is something like “Just be yourself,” or “Be positive.” But something that changed the way I look at things…When I was in the 8th grade the Matrix came out. When the Matrix came out it was the perfect storm of things. I was so into being a geek. I just moved back to Canada and before I left I hadn’t been a geek, just a kid. Now I was a kid specifically not into sports shit but into geek shit. I wasn’t getting along with a lot of people, they thought I was weird and stuff. I was really into sci-fi stuff and kung-fu stuff and then this movie came out. It was advertised it perfectly. They showed you cool shit and then said you can’t be told what this is, you have to go to see it for yourself. I went and watched it right away. The Matrix is maybe the first thing that comes to mind because when I walked out of the Martix that was the first time I’d questioned reality. I was touching shit as I walked home. “Is it even real?!” So I can’t say the most influential, but that was the first.

 4. What was the first album you bought and how old were you?

 I have an older brother, 11 years old than me. So he had a lot of music and a lot of my tastes kind of stem from that. But then the geek culture thing happened and I started exploring new tastes on my own and it went in a very different direction. Now it’s kind of coalesced into one thing and luckily, so did the culture around me. So for example, my older brother would often buy a lot of hip, Snoop Dogg and Dre and things, but he was also into a lot of R&B like Lauryn Hill. That was him buying and not me. But the first CD I bought was a few years after on my way back to Canada. We stopped in Florida from the Bahamas, where I lived and my parents said “You can buy any album.” What?! I’d never bought music. I think because it was popular at the time I bought the Men in Black soundtrack. I bought it because it had Will Smith on it and was sci-fi. Besides having that main, super-hit jam, my favourite songs on it were the cinematic ones. There were two cinematic themes on there and the rest were collected hip-hop. And the first time I ever went out on my own to buy a thing I got the Star Wars Episode I soundtrack on cassette.

 5. Immortality…you have any thoughts about it? Think you’d like it?

 I have thought about it often and I don’t think I would like it. I do think that it is kind of that eternal thing within every person that you kind of want to find out what’s happening after. You just want to keep finding out. I guess if I got tired of finding out it would be time to die, but I’m not tired of finding out. Like, not that I’ve ever had suicidal thoughts, I can’t say I’ve actually wanted to die but I’ve thought about wanting to die. I’ve thought about people who want to die and took the steps to end their own lives. Even in juniour high I used to think, “Would I want to die.” And I always come back to the same place…I wouldn’t want to die because I haven’t seen this film yet or haven’t heard this album yet. And now that there’s a superhero mania in Hollywood that doesn’t look like it’s going to die any time soon, I’m good. I’m good, man. You’re never going to hear that Alain killed himself and if you do you better stand up and say, “That’s bullshit! He was murdered!” How do you know he didn’t kill himself? “Because Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t out yet and he wanted to watch it. It was important to him.”

 6. So that’s five questions, but what I’ve done is I’ve added a question that was asked by the last person that did this. This question is from folk-singer Dan Bern. He asks, “Who plays you in the movie of your life?”

 I don’t know if I want a movie made of my life. It’s not incredibly interesting. There’s a lot of gaps, a lot of downtime. I also don’t want a movie made of life because of the film The King’s Speech. That came in out in what, 2010? (Yes, Alain is correct. NEEEEERD.) It was a film about the King of England, as played  by Colin Firth, who had a speech impediment and he had to give a speech to all of England as they were going into war without sounding weak, impaired or less than a king, so they had to give him speech therapy. You need to understand I have not seen this film. It’s probably an amazing film. The reason I haven’t watched this film is because every fucking person on the planet told me I had to. I was like, “Fuck you, you piece of shit!” It was probably a great film. I’m sure Firth probably talked with people who actually had stutters. The guy who wrote it had a speech impediment! I mean, it probably works out but there’s an actor who doesn’t have a speech impediment acting up there like he’s got a speech impediment. I already go on stage and tell dick jokes, I don’t need to be influenced by Colin Firth. I talk how I talk. I don’t want someone to make a movie of my life and have them drop it on people with speech impediments saying shit like, “It will really inspire you. It will be so influential.” Fuck you! I talk how I talk! Eat a dick! (Alain has a speech impediment, in case you are too dumb to have figured that one out.)

Alain says, or I guess, fucking tweets, funny things on Twitter @AlainWilliams

Check around the Vancouver comedy scene for Alain's name. It's going to start popping up a lot in those parts. Trust me.