The interview was taken by two students of the 6th course - Stanislav Belogrivov and Max Kashuta.
– After university I had a degree in Philosophy, but the job market for philosophers isn’t huge. So I worked in a bar in Brighton for a year. And while I was walking with a friend of mine around the city I saw a lot of chalk boards outside the shops with some ads on them, but these ads contained a lot of grammar errors. And I used to correct those mistakes. My friend just said to me: “Why don’t you become an English teacher and you can actually get paid to do this?” So I took an intensive course and I thought that I’ll just do this for a summer. That was 20 years ago. A 20-year summer I’ve had.
– But why have you come to Estonia? Why not any other country?
– I thought, ‘why not?’ Because I’ve lived in a lot of places, but I’ve never been to the Baltic area. And then I’ve got a job here. I also had a job waiting for me in Germany, involving teaching in a corporation. But I didn’t want to teach people in suits, because I felt there wasn’t much variety for me. There my day would be the same every day: helping people with their e-mails, doing a bit of 1-to-1 conversation class; and I hate doing 1-to-1 classes, I really do.
– Are you going to move to another county in some time?
– It’s kind of in my plans. My girlfriend lived in Oslo at some point, her father lives there. And I just love Norway. It’s also where my family is originally from.
– After all this we can assume that you love traveling, don’t you?
– No, I don’t. Because I want to settle down somewhere. I’ve spent my life searching for that place, I just can’t find it. So I keep moving and moving and moving… This travelling is a curse, not a blessing.
– What music do you like?
– Alternative rock, indie rock, industrial metal, post-punk and classical music.
– How do you like Tallinn?
– I really like it here. Before I came here I was living in London, but I don’t like London. I think it’s a mess (architecturally), not a beautiful place. These horrible buildings from the 1970-s sitting next to the buildings from the 1770-s… But in this city everything is more than just every single bit of it. All parts become the whole, actually.
– What are you favorite places here? Any churches, museums…?
– I think I'll pass this one now. When I was in London I never went to the London Eye, never went to London these places by… I don’t do a lot of sightseeing. When I lived near York Bridge, I never went to Madame Tussauds just because I lived there. So I live here now and I don’t really do these things, but I have particular places I go to at the weekends, and people there are very friendly, very open, really interested in finding a foreigner who seems like he belongs and I think that is the key. That if I feel like I belong somewhere then it’s going to be good for me for quite some time.
– Some people say that every city has something unique, like good pubs or something… What about Tallinn?
– Well, there are some good clubs. The places, where people gather to listen to same music… I very often go out alone at the weekends, but I always meet some new friends. Because I like the challenge to go out and find someone or some people that I can sit and talk with all evening. And it’s good for me, because I didn’t have this in London, so I’d say that the atmosphere there was suffocating me, whereas here I’m able to breathe…