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All the best: Simon Watt on his favourite things

By Kerry McKittrick

The 34-year-old is a biologist, writer, television presenter and host of the award-winning documentary Wild Cities Belfast. Originally from Castlederg, he now lives in London with his wife Catherine and son Rowan (1).

My best moment

After the birth of my son, a good one was seeing a blue whale in the wild. We were off the coast of the Azores and filming sperm whales when we happened across the blue whale. It was a fluke - we ended up about 30 yards away from them. We also found the sperm whales and some dolphins that day. We were just feet away from those.

My best song

One of my favourite bands in the world is Neutral Milk Hotel, they're quite obscure. My wife and I walked down the aisle to their song In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, so that song reminds me very much of her.

My best way to relax

Walking. If I ever get a chance to do something then I'll go for a walk while listening to a podcast. If I'm in a new city then I walk to get to know it better. You'll feel a lot better walking than taking public transport.

My best job

Apart from a brief stint working in sandwich shop Subway, I've never really had what you would call a normal job. I've always worked with information and entertainment. I'm currently artist in residence with the National Maritime Museum which has been fun.

My best bit of advice

You will never get what you're worth, you'll get what you negotiate. I actually read it in a magazine and it stuck with me. I now tell it to people I train for freelance work. Other than that the best advice is to just keep making - you should always be making and creating.

My best gift

My guitar - although I'm rubbish on it. A silly gift that I got is a Contigo - a one-cup flask that I use for tea. It sounds ridiculous but it's one of those gifts that really does make your life more comfortable as I travel a lot.

My best movie

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet. I liked the concept of it and it's great when sci-fi is done well. It's funny, beautiful, well shot and acted. This film really is the whole package for me.

My best achievement

Hopefully that is yet to come. Currently I run the Ugly Animal Preservation Society which is a comedy night with a conservation twist. It's something that has had a good impact on the conservation road. Again, it's just about making something and just continually following through with it.

My best buy

A hat made from Alpaca wool which I take everywhere I go that's cold, simply because it's the warmest thing I can find.

My best book

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe and another would be Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. The latter is so wonderfully graphic that I've never been more convinced by a book that the people in it are real.

Simon Watt will be presenting The Real Urban Jungle - a talk on wildlife in our cities tonight at the Art Resource Centre as part of the Northern Ireland Science Festival. For tickets and information go to

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