Danny Wallace is a man. This much we know from his popular column in ShortList magazine. But he is also so much more than a man – the presence of a Y chromosome in Daniel’s DNA is the least of his talents. He is also (in no particular order):
A best-selling author; A TV producer, TV presenter and potential TV actor; Cult (sorry, collective) leader and founder of the micro-nation ‘Lovely’; Video game character and prolific player; Magazine columnist and advice disher-outer; Radio DJ and podcaster; Photo-blogger and word-based tweeter; Quiz master; Hollywood supremo; Future time-traveller; Internationally-acknowledge ‘Yes Man’; Notable wearer of glasses and cardigans; Giver-outer of random acts of kindness; Campaigner for monkey-rights; Mastermind contestant; Charity supporter; Website owner and generally all-round nice guy. Oh, and husband too.
But at the start of last year, Danny took on his biggest job to date – when he became a dad. If, like me, you’ve followed Danny’s work for a while, you’ll know what a big life-change this would have been for him. So I was very pleased when he agreed to answer a few questions for me, about his experience of fatherhood so far.
As you can probably tell, I’m a very big fan of Danny’s work – as you can tell if you read my post “Five Fantastic (Famous) Fathers I Follow“. So I want to take this opportunity to thank him for taking time out of his busy (see above!) schedule to answer these for me. I should also apologise – to both Danny and you, the reader – for my painfully-bad interview technique. This is why I don’t work in journalism…! Anyway, enough chat – here’s the mini-interview (min-terview?)…
Danny – Your lifestyle before parenthood seemed – at least according to your books – quite footloose. How has becoming a dad changed that?
Just as you’d imagine, really. Less footloose and fancy-free and more structured. And while that takes a bit of time to get used to, it’s great. There’s nothing better than having this tiny best mate, and watching him grow and learn things day-by-day. I wouldn’t swap a day of it for the world.
As a well-known personality, parenthood must be very different in many ways. What are the pro’s and cons of raising a child when you’re often in the “spotlight”?
Well, it’s not like I’m papped every time I’m in town. It’s all fairly low key, but I keep his name out of things when I’m asked by journalists, I don’t take him to events where he’s likely to get his photo taken, I just call him “my son” on TV or radio or in my writing. That’ll change, but right now he’s just for us. He just seems so pure and so wonderful that right now I think that’s best.
You became a father in your thirties, which is about the norm these days. Did you feel you were ready to become a dad by then, or was it still a shock to the system?
No, I was ready. It was something that was missing that you don’t realise was missing until it’s happening. And then it’s a whirlwind. At first you concentrate on the lasts – the last time you’ll be able to go to the cinema as a couple, the last weekend away, the last this or the last that – but then it becomes all about the firsts. The first word, the first smile, the first laugh… firsts are better than lasts.
You recently inherited some quite antisocial working hours! Presumably this changes your parenting routine quite dramatically?
Yes it does. But the show is over by 10, and then I’ve usually got other work to do, but it means that at least I get to spend more of the day with him than I would. I realise how incredibly lucky I am to be able to spend time with him that some dads don’t get to with theirs, because of their commute or office jobs or whatever. I’m very thankful for that.
If you could go back and speak to your pre-fatherhood self, what words of advice might you offer past-Danny?
Get some sleep.
How has fatherhood changed your outlook on life, if at all?
I think it obviously puts things in perspective. Life isn’t about you – it’s about the next lot. Love matters most.
So there you go – thanks again for answering my questions, Danny. All that remains to be said is: If you’ve not read any of Danny’s books to date, go out and buy one! His latest is “More Awkward Situations For Men” and it’s brilliant.