Simon Pegg – Pieces Of Me

The actor and zombie expert dissects the blood splatters, sex manuals and musical poetry that made him the über nerd he is today

My first album
‘I Feel For You’ by Chaka Khan
“When I started to be a teenage music aficionado I bought Chaka Khan’s ‘I Feel For You’. I was 13 and I was into my breakdancing, and the video for the title track was so cool. It’s a Prince song, so it’s just a brilliant tune. I recorded the video on VHS as you could in the early ’80s, when that was a novelty, and just watched it over and over again.”

My first gig
Echo & the Bunnymen, Gloucester Leisure Centre
“It was in 1985 after they released a compilation of their greatest hits to that point. I discovered them when I was about 15 and backtracked into ‘Porcupine’ and all that stuff. It was extraordinary. Very weirdly, years later I ended up jamming with Ian McCulloch in a studio. I played drums on ‘Lips Like Sugar’ and ‘Changes’ by Bowie.”

My favourite lyric
‘I Want the One I Can’t Have’ by The Smiths
“‘If you ever need self-validation/Just meet me in the alley by the railway station’. The guy’s a poet! I just love The Smiths. Johnny Marr would write melodies, then Morrissey would pour words into it. I absolutely adore them.”

Book that changed me
‘The Facts Of Love’ by Alex and Jane Comfort
“It was the children’s version of ‘The Joy Of Sex’ which my mum gave me when I was 12. It changed me a lot because I learnt more about what goes where. I was in my bedroom going, ‘The penis does WHAT?’ I’ve just written my own book, ‘Nerd Do Well’, which has been a great experience. It’s a memoir about going from watching ‘Star Trek’ to working on the Starship Enterprise. I’ve got competition from Carl Barât on the memoir front, haven’t I? Well, I probably don’t have as many Pete Doherty stories as him. I haven’t heard from Pete for a while. Is he still working or is he in rehab forever? The Libertines are back? I’m so out of touch.”

My favourite film
‘Dawn Of the Dead’
“The original by George Romero. Not just because we ripped it off [for ‘Shaun Of The Dead’] but because it is a film I love. I think it’s a brilliant movie. The fact that it’s about zombies and is full of red splattery bits is by-the-by. I’ve been upset by the way that zombies run in some recent films. You’re slowly rotting away but you’re still moving so it’s going to be slightly debilitating. It’s going to be worse than two pulled hamstrings.”

My hero
John Lennon and Paul McCartney
“Using the telepods from The Fly I’d combine them into one person, then I’d say that gooey mess would be my hero. Together they’re responsible for so much. It was like the most passionate fuck ever, musically, and I admire that enormously. So I think a bizarre particle hybrid of Lennon and McCartney. Yeah, McLennon!”

My favourite piece of art
‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hopper
“I’ve always thought it’s a beautiful painting. There’s so much going on and you can look at it for a long time and figure out the story. It looks like an incredible combination of detail and when you get up close to it, it’s not as detailed as you think.”

This article originally appeared in the October 23 issue of NME

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