In honour of the beginning of my 34th year on this planet, my longtime friend and roommate, award-winning screenwriter Ben Rollo (aka Ollar Neb, The Infamous) asked me to get on the other side of the table and be the one answering the 5 Questions. So, we sat down on our back deck and had a long, rambly chat; as is our way. So, I start a new year with this, a new experience. My first time being the interview subject.
Some reading music chosen by yours truly.
When Rags Blake was born, signs and auspices graced the world like none before. The sun composed a song to celebrate the occasion, the four winds conspired to whisper a secret recipe for excellence in his ear, and beneath his crib was found a pair of golden headphones. And from these humble beginnings, he has grown into the man of humble legend we know today: thoughtful and gracious in his friendship, fierce in his scorn of jabronis and pylons alike, blessed with an ear for music most tuneful, and generous in his sharing of said musics. It was with great delight that I recently turned the spotlight of 5 Questions with Rags upon his noble personage, whiling away a pleasant hour gathering the fruits of his wisdom on many a topic, for the personal edification of us all.
- Ollor Neb, The Infamous
1. What's something you wish you'd had growing up?
Wow, that's a good question. Huh, that's hard. I had a really happy childhood. I had parents who loved me, I had friends and grandparents. I had pets. You know what? I used to really resent my mom for not letting us have a computer in the house. I didn't get a computer in the house until I was nearly graduated from high school. I was so jealous of all the kids with computers in there house, talking on ICQ and shit. But in retrospect, I'm really happy that I wasn't allowed to have a computer around all the time until I was 18. I don't think having unfettered access to the internet as a teenager would have been a good idea. I honestly don't know how young people today deal with anything. So yeah, a computer. It seems really superficial, but I was really lucky to have a lot of love in my life as a kid and that was pretty awesome, so it's going to be something like that.
2. Who would you choose as your tag-team partner for your big title shot?
Tag-team titles! I guess I could just take Braun Strowman and do nothing; just pull a Nicolas. You know what, I would go back in time and I would get D'Lo Brown and I would be part of the Nation of Domination. When I was a teenager there weren't many Black wrestlers – well, there still aren't that many black wrestlers in the WWE – but I would have loved to be a part of the group of militant Black dudes. Also, D'Lo Brown is highly underrated and everyone should go watch some D'Lo Brown matches.
3. What's a phase of an artist's career that they're unlikely to revisit but you wish that they would?
Michael Franti used to rap. Stay Human, Chocolate Super Highway, Home and even Everyone Deserves Music. I always loved the music but it was originally his rapping, that sing-song rap thing he does, that drew me in. I'd love him to go back to rapping. I mean, I know it doesn't really fit what he's doing now. A thing I've had to kind of reconcile as a fan over the last few years is that Michael Franti doesn't make music for me anymore. It's for families and all people, it's really music made for everyone and stuff that's made for everyone is just going to be, by its nature, a little more tame in terms of certain aesthetics. What about you?
I was talking to a friend about this a little while ago and we were talking about Sufjan Stevens. He did that Age of Adz, that weird electronic stuff and then he put out Carrie & Lowell and it's a lovely record but it's very much his past sound.
4. Which fictional world would like to visit or live in?
I would love to visit Springfield but I wouldn't want to live there. I would not fit in there with those buffoons but I think it would be a fun place to visit for obvious reasons. And to live....Hmmm...Well, under the sea would be nice...I mean, there's be no accusations...Just friendly crustaceans...A lot of places I like to read and watch things about are shit places. I guess I can't think of a place to live. I'd visit Springfield. Final answer.
5. Obviously you already have the best roommate in the world, so I'm going to start by saying you can't pick me for this question, but if you could choose one other person, living or dead, real or fictional, doesn't matter, who would you choose?
I feel like maybe I'd want to pick someone really rich that I could mooch off. <Looooong pause> I can think of so many people I'd like to hang out with, but not live with. Living with someone is hard. As I'm struggling to think of this I think I'm coming to the harsh realization that I'm not really that into people. I might like to live with ALF but he'd probably not be able to contribute much to the house. But maybe in the Age of the Internet, he could start a good online business and make an income that way. But he'd always be home. Damn, ALF's out. Actually, I'm gonna go with Adam Bibilo from the Attitude Era Podcast (My #1 top podcast, three years and running). I think I could maybe live with that guy. He likes coffee a lot like I do. He's into the Crucix.
<The most puzzled of looks>
Randy Orton used the Crucix to destroy the essence of Sister Abigail. I actually used to not like Adam at all, he was my least favourite on the podcast but he's my favourite. I think he'd have the proper amount of shame as a roommate. I feel like he'd be out living enough but we'd still get time to talk about shit on a regular basis. He also has glasses kind of like yours...He's just an English version of you. @biblops on twitter.
6. So, there's no guest question but we'll do a bonus question. I was staying with a friend's family a few years ago and this is the question they would use as an icebreaker. You're only allowed to eat five meals for the rest of your life, which do you choose? You won't get fat. The meals will be prepared for you if you want them to be. They'll be the best possible versions of that meal. You get one drink with each meal.
1. I'm gonna go with the Pineapple Express pizza from Oregano's. I'll have that with a just nice glass of crisp, clean Victoria tap water.
2. Huevos Rancheros with some coffee, little bit of cream.
3. Navratan Korma from the Sizzling Tandoor here in town.
4. When I was in Ho Chi Minh, when I was stranded after losing my wallet, I was staying on the outside of the city, we would go out at night have these, uhhh, they called them pancakes, but it was like a spicy street taco that was fried on both sides, all kinds of cheese and spices. Fucking delicious. Then for dessert we'd have this thing we called Milk Fruit, which obviously isn't what it was called (Milkfruit is an actual fruit), but it as this huge platter of fruit – enough for 3 or 4 people – dragon fruit, mango, apple, grapes and shit, that would have condensed milk poured over the top of it. It would seep down over the fruit and pick up a bunch of the fruit sugars and pool at the bottom. You'd take a sip of the milk with a straw as you were eating the fruit. Oh man, the best. That would be a meal. With an iced tea for a drink.
5. For the last one, I'm just going to go with tomato soup and grilled cheese. Comfort food. It can be a store-bought canned soup, don't care. Simple grilled cheese – a nice thick piece of cheddar, little butter on both sides and maybe a few slices of white onion in there. Glass of milk to go with that. Maybe my favourite part of being an adult is buying my own milk and chugging it out of the container whenever I want.