Broadsheet: What are two all-time favourite books you often recommend?
Shaun Micallef: Puckoon by Spike Milligan. It was the first book to make me laugh. Milligan has such a strong narrative voice, and while I was familiar with it through The Goon Show, Puckoon is literary and literate in a way the radio show could never be, yet they both share the same intimacy between author and audience. Both create the comic pictures.
And The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. I read this for the first time earlier this year and I was amazed by its audacity. I can’t imagine how shocking it must have been when it first came out at the end of the 1700s. Yet 200 or so years later many people still think the Holy Bible is of divine origin.
BS: What's one book you're looking forward to reading this summer?
SM: Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. Mainly ’cos I haven’t finished it yet and the bloody thing runs 554 pages. I’m only up to the Ides of March.
BS: What are you most excited to do this summer? And least looking forward to?
SM: I have been invited to go to Slottstorget in Sweden to work on a new fire-retardant Gävle Goat for 2017. Obviously I’m not looking forward to that, as I loathe all the Scandinavian countries. I am, however, very excited about playing in the Australian Open in January (but I suspect I won’t be asked again. It’s an old-boys network).