Francis Macdonald

5 minutes with Francis Macdonald – BAFTA-nominated composer and drummer with Teenage Fanclub

Francis Macdonald

Francis Macdonald
Photo by Niall Webster

Drummer, composer, producer and manager of Scottish bands Camera Obscura and The Vaselines – Francis is a busy man. Last year he released his album ‘Music For String Quartet, Piano And Celeste’ described by Classic FM as “sublime, minimalist classical music“. Read More

Charlie Quirke

5 minutes with actor Charlie Quirke

Charlie Quirke actorCharlie Quirke is a professional actor, well known for playing Travis Stubbs in the ITV sitcom Birds of a Feather, (acting alongside his real-life mother Pauline Quirke)! This summer sees Charlie attending the Edinburgh Fringe to perform in the world premieres of plays Early Birds and Our Boys

Early Birds tells the incredible yet true story of how one of the nation’s favourite sit-coms, Birds of a Feather began, starting with a chance encounter in a West End hotel. Meanwhile, critically acclaimed show Our Boys tackles the aftermath of ‘Herrick IX’ Afghanistan, following six soldiers on a hospital ward.

Read More

travel massive ian
Travel & Tourism

5 minutes with Ian Cumming – Founder of Travel Massive

Ian CummingIan Cumming is the founder of Travel Massive, a community that connects thousands of travel insiders to meet, learn and collaborate at free events all around the world.

With a passion for travelling with purpose, Ian takes many an adventure around the globe, speaking at industry events and inspiring others with his knowledge, passion and enthusiasm.

1. What made you start up Travel Massive?

It was really started by accident (and luck) – I had moved to Sydney in 2010 and was staying in a hostel. I wanted to meet people in the travel industry so I used Twitter to organise a meetup for travel startups and bloggers. There were no co-working spaces back then – so I invited everyone to the rooftop of my hostel (the YHA on the Rocks). Six people came along and we all made new friends. The next month, we decided to meet again, and the group kept growing. And growing! I really had no idea that it would turn into a global community around the world – but my motivation remained the same as it is now – that when you bring people offline to meet in person, you can exchange knowledge and skills, motivate and support each other, and create amazing new partnerships and ideas.

2. Tell us about a day in your career that really stands out?

I don’t think there is one particular moment or day – every week hundreds of people in our community meet at events around the world, and I love seeing photos and videos shared by our chapter leaders and members. It really makes me realise what an incredible global community we are – and how many positive connections we’re making in the travel industry.

3. How many miles do you think you have clocked since you launched Travel Massive?

I can tell you exactly! 241 flights, 913782 km, 52 days in the air. That’s the equivalent of flying around the world 22 times!

4. Do you have a favourite place so far?

That’s really hard to answer as I find anywhere in the world an amazing place to visit. But I’d have to say that my homeland of Tasmania is still my favourite place – I’m happy to be a tour guide!

5. Where would you still love to go?

I want to go into space. Who knows if it will happen – maybe we’ll start a new Space chapter for Travel Massive? But until that happens, I’d love to explore anywhere that’s remote – many places in Africa, perhaps eastern Russia. Perhaps that’s in my DNA from having grown up in Tasmania!

And just for fun…

travel massive owner6. Where do you feel most at home?

In the water. I love scuba diving and snorkelling – so anywhere where I can dive and experience the ocean and beach!

7. What is your favourite song to sing at karaoke or in the shower?

I can’t sing to save my life!

8. The best meal you have ever cooked?

I caught a yellow-fin Tuna in Tasmania and had fresh sashimi on the boat. Does that count?

9. Most embarrassing moment?

Sleep waking on a plane. I took sleeping tablets on an international flight once, and woke up in the toilets at the back and didn’t know where I was. A fellow passenger told me I’d climbed over the back of my seat in my sleep! Since then I have a fear of sleepwalking on long haul flights!

10. Cheese or cake?


You can join Ian’s Travel Massive community over on Twitter: @travelmassive

Learn more about Travel Massive events in your area over on the Travel Massive website or on the Facebook page.

Interested in reading more 5 minutes travel interviews? Check out our interview with the Barefoot Backpacker.


5 minutes with Tim Firth – Screenwriter and Songwriter

Tim Firth

Tim Firth is a writer, producer and composer, famous for his TV work and captivating West End shows. His play Calendar Girls, adapted from his own film, was a huge hit with audiences across the UK during its 2008/09 tour, and in the process broke the all time British box office record for a play.

His new musical, The Band, has now been produced by David Pugh Dafydd Rogers, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen, and Robbie Williams. Featuring the music of Take That, the new production follows a group of friends, now 40-something women, as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their boy band heroes.

Read More

emma williams theatre

5 minutes with Emma Williams – Paula Pokrifki in An Officer and a Gentleman

Officer and a gentleman

Emma Williams is an actress working on the stage, screen, TV and radio. At the age of 18, she made her stage debut playing the role of Truly Scrumptious in the original cast of the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The role won her the Arts Correspondent Award for Best Newcomer and she has since gone on to be nominated four times for an Olivier Award.

With a number of film to stage musical adaptations under her belt, Emma is now leading the cast of An Officer and a Gentleman as leading lady Paula Pokrifki.

Read More