Getting to know you: everything you ever wanted to ask Beth Orton

"The worst date I've been on? That time he turned up with his girlfriend."

This month Beth Orton returns with her seventh album, ‘Kidsticks’, made once again with a progressive electronic mind of the day – Andrew Hung of Fuck Buttons. The Norwich-born artist filled in our Getting To Know You questionnaire.

The best piece of advice you’ve been given

Don’t count your nits before they’ve hatched.

Your favourite word


Your pet-hate


If you could only eat one food forever, it would be…


The worst job you’ve had

Working to become a parody of my former self. Being abandoned and rejected for trying to be someone I thought those I looked up to wanted me to be. Forgetting that all I ever wanted was to make something resembling art. On and on an endless cycle of self-loathing. Until… I forgave myself and remembered how it was working as a waitress.

The film you can quote the most of

Paris, Texas.

Your favourite place in the world

New York. Because I was there just last week and Spring broke in two all over my face and the faces of those around me and poured into our very beings and let us into one of the best feelings ever.

Your style icon

Annie Hall.

 The one song you wished you’d written

The one I hear someone else singing that I know I could have written better if only I’d seen it sitting right under my nose.

The most famous person you’ve met

The Queen, at Buckingham Palace. I was in a little huddle with Jeanette Lee (Rough Trade), Mick Jones and Jarvis Cocker. We were eating peanuts and dry curly-edged cheese and ham sandwiches, drinking warm champagne and giggling when the Queen rocked up to us, her aides bustling nervously around her because she’d gone off-piste. We all found her very jolly and thought she was incredibly genuine all things considered. She seemed truly interested in us all and curious to know what it was like to write a song, like she’d never met musicians before, when of course she’s met billions. She asked me if my mind was forever whirring and pointed her finger at her head and did little circles with it. Maybe she just thought I was off my rocker. I thought she was really like someone you could like and it was one of the most brilliantly unusual nights out all round.

The thing you’d rescue from a burning building

Family photo albums.

The worst date you’ve been on

That time he turned up with his girlfriend. 

Your guilty pleasure

Reading the press of people I’m really fucking jealous of.

Your first big extravagance

My first guitar – a Gibson Hummingbird.

The characteristic you most like about yourself

I’m actually quite a good Mother as it goes….

Your hidden talent

Cooking and eating.

Your favourite item of clothing

A proper pair of jeans that actually fit.

Your biggest disappointment

Getting home and finding out the jeans don’t actually fit. 

The celebrity that pisses you off the most even though you’ve never met them

It’s impossible to begin and oh-so-difficult to end and it’s not big or clever…

Your biggest fear

Being haunted.

The best book in the world

Anything by Graham Green.

People’s biggest misconception about yourself

It’s none of my business. 

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Marilyn Monroe.

What is success to you?

Acceptance of what is.

What talent do you wish you had?

To be flexible. 

How would you choose to die?

I want to fall asleep in the arms of my dearest.

What is the most overrated thing in the world?

Being with someone so as not to be alone.

What, if anything, would you change about your physical appearance?

I’d get perfect tits and big fat lips.

What’s your biggest turn-off?


What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

You don’t have to have sex with him if you don’t want to.

Your best piece of advice for others

Be kind to yourself and the rest will follow.