(Photo from official website)
Super Furry Animals and Monsterism artist, Pete Fowler, is a lovely man (I know this because we met in Norway a couple of years ago and he agreed to draw a picture for me in my 'Diary of Good Days', as well as answer a few questions for a radio station I was working for at the time).
So when I found out he was going to be in Cardiff, taking part in the city's first Children's Literature festival at the weekend, I had to get in touch to see what he'd been up to post our Scandinavian adventure...
I interviewed Pete Fowler (in chalk, of course) about books (it seemed only fitting given the festival he was working for), favourite places to hang out when he's back on home turf (Pete's originally from Cardiff), and what his plans are for 2013 (aside from world domination)...
We're in Morgan Arcade and we've found a rather nice bookshop.
What's your favourite childhood book, Pete?
"Mrs Moore in Space," he chalks.
"I remember getting it from WHSmith at the end of Queen Street like it was yesterday. It must not have been done very well because the price had been marked down four times when I got it. It was 25p! I think it's brilliant."
I have a little look online to see what I can find out about the book, and find out it was written by Gertrude Moore, the mother of the famous astrologer Patrick Moore. She was 87 years old when she wrote it!
Pete said he liked this book best because, "you could go to all of these different planets", and see what it was like to live on them...
I think Patrick Moore was fond of it, too. Apparently, he handed a copy to a reporter for the Daily Mail during one of his final interviews with them, and said something about keeping his number non-ex directory so that he could continue to answer people's silly questions about space...
Now, Pete has just finished a book called 'The Search for the Perfect Pub' by Robin Turner and Paul Moody.
He says it's available from a website called 'Caught by the River', which is run by a collective of established writers, artists and other doers-of-things, who initially united through a shared love of fishing.
I have a snoop and see that the website now champions nature, popular culture and music, too, and that Pete sometimes contributes artwork to them...
It's nice. You should check it out.
So, has Pete found out where the perfect watering hole is in Cardiff?
"What pubs do you like to go to in Cardiff?," I ask.
"The Goat Major,
& varous old men's pubs."
We drink to that!
(But in Dempseys, where he came the night before)
We move onto general places of interest...
(This is Cardiff Castle, which lies right in the centre of the city and attracts thousands of visitors every year)
"Where do you like to hang out in Cardiff?," I ask.
(Excuse my handwriting, the surface was all lumpy)
"Kelly's Records & Spillers Records...," he chalks.
"I have a bit of a connection to this place [Spillers]," he says.
Pete's bought records from both of these places for years, but when Spillers moved from its spot in The Hayes to Morgan Arcade, Pete designed a t-shirt for them to sell, to coincide with the reopening.
We go there and ask if we can chalk on the floor as part of the interview...
Well, Pete does the chalking.
I just stand taking photos and trying to work out what the picture is before it becomes obvious...
It's a funny creature (a pig and a cow and a reindeer combined, I think), reading a book (Mrs Moore in Space, I think), on top of a record...
"I am chalk finger," he says proudly.
Before collecting a record that Spillers have been holding for him, for several weeks...
"Where do you feel most relaxed working?," I ask.
(This is my sister's studio in Morgan Arcade. It's cosy)
"In my studio & at home/pub," he chalks.
Most adventuous place you've worked?
(Don't ask me who that man is. I didn't have time to work out whether he was in the game of stealing my chalks or not, so I pretended I didn't mind him posing for the photo, and legged it afterwards)
"On a fully extended scissor lift!"
"I'm scared of heights," he says.
(And then draws a scissor lift in the corner of the pad to show me what he means)
What are you working on at the moment?
Lots of exciting things, he says...
And then writes a very long list of things he has planned for the next few months...
"Loads & loads of very exciting things! Cross stitching, painting, coffee cup designing, record making & Rough Trade record store daying!!!"
Pete then gets wrapped up to run for his train, which leaves Cardiff Central for London, at 6.20pm.
I quickly give him a present to thank him for his time (it's a notepad illustrated by my sister and says 'time for more adventures', in Welsh, across the top).
And then we take one last photo using an iPad that refuses to point the right way.
(Neither of us say this)
(Or maybe I did in my head...)
Follow Pete Fowler online:
Cardiff Children's Lit Fest: