The Momus Questionnaire — Harry Gallon

Harry Gallon’s second novel, Every Fox is a Rabid Fox, is a fractured, feverish narrative which reflects on class, mental illness, guilt and heredity. Jumping between past and present, the novel explores its protagonist’s sense of guilt at the deaths of his twin sister and his brother, with Gallon’s free-flowing style creating a sense of spiralling desperation. His debut, The Shapes of Dogs’ Eyes, was first runner up for Best Novella at the 2016 Saboteur Awards, and was longlisted for Not the Booker Prize the same year.

Have you rebelled against someone else’s dreary expectations of your life, and become something more unexpected?

I don’t think anyone ever actually had any expectations for my life. I think my dad was anxious that I didn’t make the same mistakes he think he made when he was just becoming an adult (like having me?). After school I worked on a farm, in a bar, in an office. It was shit. Every time my dad and I spoke on the phone he’d try to convince me to go to Australia. I guess he thought that’s what he should’ve done. But taking ‘that kind’ of year out seemed like the dreariest thing imaginable. I guess if I’ve rebelled against anyone’s dreary expectations they’ve been my own. Low expectations, low disappointment, right?

What in your life can you point to and say, like Frankie, ‘I Did It My Way’?

Almost everything. But that doesn’t mean that my way has ever been the best way, or even remotely correct. Sometimes it has, though. More importantly, my way once tended to require validation from something bigger than me. Now, it tends to be a shared way. I guess I ignored people’s advice about writing and publishing, which was to just not bother, but like all these legit indie publishers, I did it anyway. So fuck you, guest lecturer in second year from some big publisher I can’t remember. Your way is redundant.

What creative achievements are you most proud of?

At school I made a really cool project about great white sharks. Also, I helped my dad move house once and the moving guys couldn’t get his bed up the stairs. After they left I whipped a tape measure out and boom. Broken plaster. Bed upstairs. Nailed it.

Also, two published books.

If there was one event in your life which really shaped you, made you the person you are today, what would it be?

I was told by a woman at an airport once that The Alchemist would change my life. Wrong. I’m not sure there’s one specific, standalone event. There are a lot, and they all make up the life experience that continues to shape me. All that bad shit is great (mostly), when you can look back on it from a good place and say yep, needed that. When I discovered that books could celebrate the mundane, the beauty of the every day; that they could be violent, grotesque, honest; that I didn’t just have to read bollocks designed for kids. That was big. When I realised I didn’t have to say yes to everyone anymore, that was big too.


If you had to make a song or rap boasting about your irresistible charm and sexiness, how would you describe yourself?

I’d go with a Neil Young Hurricane theme: I see you seeing me, [potential romantic partner]. Come at me, please (no really, please), because I’m too busy thinking about myself thinking about you thinking about me from across this room. Sigh.

Have you ever made material sacrifices because of your integrity?

No. I don’t consider not buying stuff a sacrifice. And by not buying stuff, I don’t have much to give up. I don’t put myself, or let myself be put, in a position where integrity could be compromised, because without it, what is there? Getting rid of something to retain that wouldn’t be a sacrifice, it’d be a gift.

Describe a public personality who exemplifies everything you’d like to be yourself, then another public personality who incarnates everything you’d least like to be.

Like: Donald Glover. Good at seemingly everything and able to say enough.

Lease like: can’t we just chuck the names of Tories into a hat and pick a different one out each day? Let’s start close to the top, with the last several Secretaries of State for Education, since bad education is the basis for most bad things. Also, generally, bad-role-model footballers and right wing broadcasters.

If you were an Egyptian pharaoh and had to be buried with a few key objects to take to the next world, what would they be?

My glasses. Notebook. A hotel room, please, with an extra large bed, a TV and one of those little refrigerators you have to open with a key.

Do you have a favourite joke, quotation or proverb?

See above. Or “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” –Wayne Gretzky –Michael Scott

What’s your favourite portrait (it can be a song, a painting, a film, anything)?

Pacific – Alex Colville (1967). But mostly the work of Kurt Vonnegut, collectively, as a portrayal of humanity. Ugly, honest, pointless, redemptive and ever-searching.