Swan Song: Paul Smith

Maxïmo Park frontman’s arranging a buffet for his final meal…
Paul Smith, Maximo Park

Swan Song is where Clash questions someone about how they’d like to spend their last day on Earth. Not that we’re wishing that any of these respondents shuffle off before long – more because we’ve all got our own Last Suppers in mind…

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Maxïmo Park, ‘Lydia, The Ink Will Never Dry’

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Where would you like to wake up?
I would like to wake up in my house, in the arms of my girlfriend.

What would like to achieve on your last day?
I enjoy writing songs at home, so I would like to record an album on my last day. It would probably be a fairly melancholy, stripped-down record with just me and my guitar.

How do you spend the afternoon?
I’d go for a walk and watch the sunset somewhere. The Town Moor is a really flat open space in Newcastle, and if I could just go for a walk round my hometown for one last time, that would be quite nice.

You host a Last Supper – who’s coming?
I would invite all of my friends, because they’re probably more interesting than all of the dead and alive celebrities that people usually pick. And even if you got somebody like Nelson Mandela, who’s clearly got a story to tell – and is dead – you’d still think to yourself, ‘I really don’t want to bother Nelson. I don’t want to bring up all that stuff about jail and apartheid.’ I’d rather he just had a drink and enjoyed himself.

What’s on the menu?
It would be a buffet, a bit of all of my favourite foods. So, being a Middlesbrough man, I’d have some chicken Parmesans, which is the local delicacy – a breadcrumbed slab of meat with béchamel sauce and then cheddar. I’d have fish and chips, and I would also have a Sunday dinner made by my mam.

What would be your biggest regret?
I don’t think you can afford to have regrets, and I certainly wouldn’t want to spend my last day on Earth thinking about the things that I could have or should have done.

What would your final words be?
I’d just say thank you to all of my friends and loved ones and just say, ‘Thanks for the memories.’

How would you like to die?
When I was younger I wanted to jump off a building just to see what flying would be like. As I grew up I realised how painful that would be at the end. I’d still like to fly, but I have a very low pain threshold. So, for me, dying peacefully would be the nicest way to go.  

Who would you like to meet at the Pearly Gates of Heaven?
My nana, who died a couple years ago. It would be nice to see her again and see how she’s getting on. She was never great with sense of direction, so showing me around in Heaven would be a very interesting experience.

Describe your vision of Heaven.
I think it will be like Superman at the start, where his dad talks to him. They’re wearing white gowns and it’s quasi-religious. I think we’d all agree it would be great if God was Marlon Brando.

If you could be resurrected the next day, what would you come back as?
I would like to be reincarnated in somebody’s body in the Bauhaus, around 1917, before the Nazis came and shut it down. It’s just amazing to think that there was this art school that laid the foundations for all other art schools - including the one I went to - but you were actually being taught by Kandinsky and Klee and Moholy-Nagy and all sorts of incredible people. Just to be there and be surrounded by all of that inspiration is probably somewhere I would like to be.

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As told to Simon Harper

Maxïmo Park’s album ‘Too Much Information’ is out now and reviewed here. Find the band online here.

Related: Foundations: Maxïmo Park
Related: Swan Song features with Guy Garvey, Mike Skinner and more

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