It alarms me to think of all that I have read and how little of it has stayed with me.
I never thought I'd end up living in Los Angeles while my children grew up in Britain, but here I am, and we are all making the best of it.
The strange thing - and this is one of the advantages of being incredibly shallow and superficial - is that wherever I am, that's sort of home.
The first big stars, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, you know, these were gigantic stars. I even wonder sometimes whether all music actually comes from women, whether the first glimmering of music is a mother soothing a baby.
Even the greatest poets, I think, cannot quite get to the places that music can get to in the human - I was gonna say mind, but it's actually the entire body. It somehow seems to infuse the entire body.
Muddy Waters, I suppose, was my first great hero. You know, every boy wants to be a guitar player, and Muddy Waters was just the king. He was the King Bee. He was it.
I have always stuck up for Western medicine. You can chew all the celery you want, but without antibiotics, three quarters of us would not be here.
The financing of all TV shows is dictated by finding an audience between 18 and 49. I have now passed beyond 49, so probably, I am no longer a desirable commodity for TV. And I am at peace with that; that's fine.
In film, because you know where the ending is, characters can change, but in television, you substitute revelation for change, and that can be hard to pull off.
Girls are complicated. The instruction manual that comes with girls is 800 pages, with chapters 14, 19, 26 and 32 missing, and it's badly translated, hard to figure out.
They're very harsh people, the British: hard to impress, very tough on each other, but I rather like that. It's not that the British are more honest - you're just under no illusion with them.
It doesn't rain at all in California. Once a month, a man drives through spraying Evian.
Acting is largely about putting on masks, and music is about removing them.
I wouldn't be able to act like Al Pacino or play the piano like Dr. John, But I could probably act better than Dr. John and play the piano better than Al Pacino.
The glory of American television is Dennis Franz.
I've never been clever with money. I will buy anything at the top of the market.
I really do believe the camera steals the soul. But that may be because I'm worried about my soul. I don't have much of a soul to begin with; I can't afford to lose much.
Piano was - well, all musical instruments were taught in this very rigid, formal, classical method when I was young.
When the ship goes down, the waves very quickly roll over the top of it, and attention shifts elsewhere. It's just the natural order of things in TV - in life - and is as it should be.
One great benefit of not being on TV every week is that people will be a lot less interested in what I have in my supermarket basket. I could even un-tint my car windows - or at least opt for a lighter shade.
I do actually like Los Angeles. Partly because I was told I wouldn't.
You hope that your teenage self would like and forgive your 50-year-old self.
Believe it or not, perhaps I don't show it much, or well, but I think I like people.
I just read an 800-page history of the Scottish Enlightenment and, honestly, I may as well just start it again now, because I cannot remember a single thing. I can barely remember where Scotland is.
I have resolved to pick one novel and just read it over and over again for the rest of my life, because I cannot remember anything anymore.
To be a head boy, you have to be very clever, you have to be a scholar, and I was never a scholar in any shape or form.
Some people are drawn naturally - there are natural guitarists, and there are natural piano players, and I think guitar implies travel, a sort of footloose gypsy existence. You grab your bag and you go to the next town.
I hate menus, I hate choosing food. I just want to be brought. Bring me dinner!
Seems to me that this business, for actors anyway, is not so much about whether or not you do good work. It's about whether or not you get the chance to do good work.
I run six-to-eight miles a day, plus weights and aerobics in the lunch hour. I also lie a lot, which keeps me thin.
I have my moments. Ever since I was a boy, I never was someone who was at ease with happiness. Too often I embrace introspection and self-doubt. I wish I could embrace the good things.
I have been instrumental in banning bottled water on the set. It hasn't gone that well with the crew... so I replaced it with tequila.
I didn't realize House would be the central character, more the bitter comic relief appearing occasionally. I relish his wounded nature - the lameness, the scarred Byronic hero.
I couldn't imagine what Fox thought they were doing, contemplating such a jagged protagonist for a prime-time drama. I only knew that I wanted the role very much.
I feel like I'm working on an oil rig right now. I'm away from home a lot.
To be able to pretend to be something that I'm frankly not is very liberating and exciting.
I never was someone who was at ease with happiness.
I think actors are attracted to the idea of other identities and concealing themselves behind some other identity.
Unhappiness is an unfinished state; happy people don't need our help.
I don't talk like House, or walk like him. I certainly don't think like him. I don't like to think for more than 15 minutes at a stretch actually; I am a fragile flower.
People will survive, and they will find happiness. Happiness only comes when you're not looking for it.
I admit I can't shake the idea that there is virtue in suffering, that there is a sort of psychic economy, whereby if you embrace success, happiness and comfort, these things have to be paid for.
Screenwriting is the most prized of all the cinematic arts. Actually, it isn't, but it should be.
Pain is an event. It happens to you, and you deal with it in whatever way you can.
It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to make a blues record.
I am a coffee fanatic. Once you go to proper coffee, you can't go back. You cannot go back.
I don't have a single complete show or movie or anything else that I could look at and say, 'Nailed that one.' But endless dissatisfaction is, I suppose, what gets us out of bed in the morning.
I don't like the act of talking; it makes me slightly light-headed.
I think there is a basic comfort in clever people who know things.
My dad gave me my first bike at 16. I soon fell off and was in a wheelchair for weeks. I haven't fallen since.
Driving a motorcycle is like flying. All your senses are alive. When I ride through Beverly Hills in the early morning, and all the sprinklers have turned off, the scents that wash over me are just heavenly. Being House is like flying, too. You're free of the gravity of what people think.
As a real person, he wouldn't last a minute, would he? But drama is about imperfection. And we've moved away from the aspirational hero. We got tired of it, it was dull. If I was House's friend, I would hate it. How he so resolutely refuses to be happy or take the kind-hearted road. But we don't always like morally good people, do we?
Riding my motorcycle around L.A. is like my own video game. But unlike many folks at the wheel, I am occupied with getting where I'm going and keeping myself safe. Most people are applying makeup, texting, and checking out the beauty in the next car.
I'm reasonably easygoing. Messing up my lines or making a fool of myself is where you find my fears. Like a lot of English people, I'm prey to embarrassment - the dread that everyone's sort of sniggering at you, that you're going to look like an idiot. I think that sort of halts us all.
I think pain is a very - it's an extremely hard thing to empathize moment to moment. And you often don't remember your own pain, you know, that moment that you broke a limb or you burned yourself or, I think, this is a common thing that women talk about with childbirth, that the memory of the pain is hard to summon up and relive, thankfully.
Ideas are 10 a penny. It's the execution that's the hard thing to do. House is standing up against a tide of sentiment and emotionalism over reason that threatens to engulf this world. When you think about it, a rationalist, a man of science and reason, is in a pretty lonely position.
I think of House as a deeply moral character, though some would no doubt argue with me. He does not judge. Beyond his normal tetchiness, there were no more than a half-dozen moments of actual condemnation from him. He understood lies and also why you lied, and there was an absolution there that is very, very appealing.
I get anxious about a lot of things, that's the trouble. I get anxious about everything. I just can't stop thinking about things all the time. And here's the really destructive part - it's always retrospective. I waste time thinking of what I should have said or done.
I grew up with an impatience with the anti-scientific. So I'm a bit miffed with our current love affair with all things Eastern. If I sneeze on the set, 40 people hand me echinacea. But I'd no sooner take that than eat a pencil. Maybe that's why I took up boxing. It's my response to men in white pajamas feeling each other's chi.
I feel like a hostage to fortune. Not that I am complaining. I wanted to play the role. But in truth I didn't think the show would be such a success. OK, I thought it would fail. Not because it was bad. I was confident it was good, but plenty of good things just sort of wither on the vine.
L.A. runs on optimism, enthusiasm and flattery. I think you can go a little bit crazy. I've heard people say there's a limit to the number of years you can stay in this city without going slightly mad. It's just too damn sunny in every dimension - weather-wise, socially and professionally.
One of the principal goals in my life has been to avoid embarrassing my children by doing the job I do. I hope I've managed to do that, and I hope that, with the job I'm in now, they are, if not proud, at least unembarrassed by it. I must say, my three are most agreeable children, who do nothing but delight me.
Humility was considered a great virtue in my family household. No show of complacency or self-satisfaction was ever tolerated. Patting yourself on the back was definitely not encouraged, and pleasure or pride would be punishable by death.
Music is one of the noblest callings I can think of. It's the highest of all the art forms to me. For example, if my kid said to me, 'I want to give it all up,' whatever it is that they're doing, 'and I want to take my saxophone and go out,' I would say, 'May God go with you. This is a great and noble thing that you're doing.'
Celebrity is absolutely preposterous. Entertainment seems to be inflating. It used to be the punctuation to your life, a film or a novel or a play, a way of celebrating a good week or month. Now it feels as if it's all punctuation.
I personally believe that the iPod is a frankly corrosive device because it encourages you to surround yourself with your favorites. The whole idea of a playlist is to surround yourself with your favorite things, and the interesting thing is that when you do that, they cease to be your favorites.
I don't really understand why everybody doesn't want to direct. It's an absolutely fascinating combination of skills required and puzzles set on every possible level, emotional and practical and technical. It calls upon such a wide variety of skills. I find it completely absorbing.
The great trap for non-American actors trying to play Americans, I think, is to start thinking of American-ness as a characteristic. It isn't. It is no more a character trait than height. It is just a physical fact, and that's all there is to it.
Clive Dunn, as I understand it, retired to the south of Spain, where he worked extensively in watercolours. I don't own any of Clive Dunn's watercolours. I loved him in 'Dad's Army,' loved him. But not enough to actually seek out his watercolour work.
I never went to drama school, I don't have any certificates saying: 'He's a qualified actor.' But I did think that 'House' was something I didn't have to apologise for. It was something I was really proud of and it was sort of... whether you liked it or not, it was undeniable.
I was too shy, I think, to sing publicly. It takes a particular kind of person. And when I was young, I was not that person. In the first instance, when a record company said to me, do you want to try and make your record, my first reaction was, no, I'm not worthy - I couldn't possibly, and so on and so forth.
I think maybe even one of the reasons I became an actor was actually to hide. I mean, it sounds paradoxical because, of course, people are standing up in a public place and encouraging other people to look at them. So that's not the conventional definition of hiding.
I don't think of myself as funny. I think of myself as rather grave, actually. And I'm suspicious of fun. I never quite know what that is or how to deal with it or how to generate it. That's my fault. I know it's a burden on the people I'm with. It's tiresome.
I think good-looking people seldom make good television. And American television studios almost concede before they start: 'Well, it won't be good, but at least it'll be good-looking. We'll have nice-looking girls in tight shirts with F.B.I. badges and fit-looking guys with lots of hair gel vaulting over things.'
When I was a small boy, 10, 11, 12, probably somewhere around there, when I first heard a blues song on the radio, it was a jolt of electricity. It grabbed me by the throat, it made me shiver. And I knew from that moment that this was for me and this would be with me for the rest of my life.
I feel when acting, I am sometimes overly self-conscious; I think, 'Going, no, don't, put your eyebrow back where it was and, you know, turn to the left.' You know, I'm sort of very consciously adopting this character. But with music, I don't know. I found it was a question of just closing my eyes and just sort of letting things come out.
Directing is the best job going. I don't understand why everybody doesn't want to direct. It's an absolutely fascinating combination of skills required and puzzles set on every level - emotional and practical and technical. It calls up on such a wide variety of skills. I find it completely absorbing. I just love the whole process.
I think my father gave me a great reverence for medical science. He was about as opposite to the personality of House as one could imagine. He was polite and easygoing, and would have gone to great lengths to make his patients feel attended to and heard and sympathized with.
Lots of people would say House doesn't have any charm at all. I would disagree, though: I find him immensely charming and endlessly entertaining. He has a sort of grace and a wit about him, and ultimately, I think he is on the side of the angels.