Before performing his Fringe First Award-nominated show Hervé at this weekend’s Being A Man festival, we asked actor Hervé Goffings a few questions for our BAM Q&A.
Why is a festival like BAM a good idea?
I think BAM festival is a great idea! It is not often that subjects and issues around men and masculinity are openly discussed. It is a great opportunity for men to debate and share experiences, knowledge, fears and many other important subjects in a supportive and safe environment.
What motto do you live your life by?
I have just adopted a new motto in my life: ‘Everything you want is on the other side of fear’. My fears were holding me back and preventing me from achieving my true potential and getting what I want in life. I decided to face my fears with courage, in all aspects of my life. The extraordinary thing is that I am discovering that most of my fears are the fruits of my imagination!
What would be your speciality pub quiz subject?
I am French-African, born in Mali of Malian parents. I was adopted at birth by a white Belgian couple who met after the revolution in Cuba in the late sixties and who then travelled the world. After Mali, I lived in Chad, Belgium, Cannes, Paris, Manchester, Glasgow and now London. My adoptive parents currently live in Mexico. So, because of all the travelling I did with my family and all of the places I lived in and visited, my speciality pub quiz subject would be, without hesitation, geography!
What makes you feel most like a man?
I usually feel most like a man when a woman falls fast asleep in my arms. It means that I am providing her with a space where she can feel protected and secure.
If you could have a super power what would it be?
After much thought… if I had a super power, it would probably be the power to travel in time. I would appear at crucial moments in people’s lives and advise them on the decisions they would need to make to ensure themselves a bright and happy future. Having said that, seeing the stress that Marty McFly goes through in Back to the Future… I would probably need another super power that would prevent me from dying from exhaustion!
When did you last cry?
The last time I cried was two weeks ago. I never used to cry, but now I do. I now make sure that I cry every time I feel I need to. I came to realise that crying is not only a healthy thing to do (cathartic), but it also reminds me that I am human and therefore a man, not a superman.
Who’s the hero or role model in your life?
My role model has always been my white father – Indiana Jones has nothing on my dad! His adventures took him to Africa, the United States, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Brazil… In 1969 he was involved in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution. His passionate idealism drove him there. Although he is now 72 and not quite as able as he used to be, I still admire him. He has lived life to the full.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Undoubtedly, my guilty pleasure is cake and puddings! I could easily be won over with a sticky toffee pudding, an apple crumble, an almond cake or an éclair au chocolat!
What book, film or performance changed your life?
In 1983 Michael Jackson did a live performance of ‘Billie Jean’ for Motown’s 25th anniversary. I was 12 years old when I watched the performance on TV. Seeing him sing, dance and do the moonwalk for the first time simply blew me away. “Mummy”, I said. “I want to do that – can I do that?” If I am a performer today, it is thanks to Michael Jackson and his stunning performances. Also around the same age, I discovered the world of Jules Vernes. His books not only developed my love for reading, but also for traveling.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I vividly remember my enlightened Belgian granny saying to me (a little black boy kneeling at her feet): “Always work with your brains, not the colour of your skin.”