Seth Landry is what one might call “raffishly handsome”. With his impish smirk, hair oh-so-mussed, and a carefully-cultivated five-o’-clock shadow, he draws stares as we enter the dim pub he’s chosen for our interview. When the phrase is suggested, he looks briefly perplexed, and shrugs it off. “Is that English, ‘raffish’?” he muses. “I wouldn’t really know.” But then, modesty is just a part of his charm.
It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since he first wowed audiences with his performance in Graeme Wilcox’s Rigor Mortis. Since then, it’s been one long whirlwind of star turns, endorsements, interviews—and, of course, gossip and scandal.
“I got a lot of that, yeah,” he grins ruefully, mopping up his salad with a fistful of pommes-frites. “It wasn’t so good.” If only that were how his very public doings were characterized in the press, which has had a field day with his trysts and lager-fueled shenanigans. He seems genuinely honest when he says that he doesn’t want a return to those days. “It’s kind of like I’ve had enough,” he explains, suddenly serious. “I don’t care for the BS about how, you know, I did this or that or the other.” As if to punctuate the statement—and against the protestations of this interviewer—he orders a round of ale, and promptly makes short work of his mug. For one who brings such an air of gravity to whatever he’s working on, it only seems natural that he’d put away food and drink with a vengeance. Fittingly, the maitre d’ seems to know him, and they exchange a minute of good-natured banter, of the sort that only casually-acquainted men can pull off. “It really is like my neighborhood place,” he admits, “I love that.” Indeed, the bistro is barely a stone’s throw from the townhouse he’s recently purchased with his wife, designer Helena Smith. Together with decorator Neville Jean, the couple have been renovating the flat in anticipation of their first child (due for Christmas!). Will it be Landry Jr., one wonders? “Oh, we don’t know what to call him, yet, really,” he says sheepishly, settling back in his chair and pushing off his plate.
His gaze moves to the street outside, as if this turn in the conversation has taken him to a more private place. However, when I inquire about his newly-constructed, steel-reinforced cement sub-basement, his eyes crease at the edges and he screws up his face in a merry grin, at ease again. “You mean the pounder!” he exclaims, lapsing into gales of mirth. ‘The pounder’ is what he and Forgery front-man Clive Duncan call their new practice room. It’s an addition to his 18th century townhouse which, tellingly, was installed against Helena’s wishes. Pressed on the point, he squints into the middle distance, brooding. “It’s not really a row,” he insists after a pregnant pause, “more of a tiff”. Such a distinction is just what one might expect from the man whom some have dubbed the “life style buccaneer”.
Talk turns to his work, which he has sensibly placed on the back-burner now that Helena is expecting. “I’m really just looking for that good bite,” he explains, “the kind of one that would pretty much put it away, for life.” He leans in conspiratorially and whispers: “And that’s not an everyday sort”. Well, he may be waiting a while, but then, he’s earned the right.
-© 1990, Set Price, with help from Clive, Nigel, Ian, Graeme, Simon