Robert Llewellyn is a man who wears many hats. One as a keen advocate of electric vehicles, another as a self-proclaimed "wet liberal", yet another as a best-selling author, and that's without getting into the hat (and indeed complex makeup) that he's most famous for wearing as Red Dwarf mechanoid Kryten.
Robert is in Australia at the moment — a frequent trip for him, as his wife is Australian — for a number of convention appearances, a bit of a holiday, an appearance at an Internode event . . . and mucking around in a glider with Internode's Simon Hackett.
He works out of a home office in the UK, blogs frequently (including about the importance of backup after he suffered a particularly nasty burglary and has hosted a number of YouTube shows relating to transport. Firstly there was Carpool (Robert giving a number of prominent people lifts around London in an electric car) and then Fully Charged (covering electric vehicles and power more widely). Also, his explanation of hydrogen versus electric cars should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the topic. His latest work is the upcoming News From The Squares, a sequel to his own News From Gardenia.
Here, I'll let him explain it.
Robert was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to discuss how he works at his many roles.
Name: Robert Llewellyn Occupation: Actor/Writer Location: Gloucestershire, UK Current Mobile: iPhone 4 Current Computer: Macbook Pro Retina
What’s your best time-saving trick?
To disconnect from the internet. Banal I know but when I'm writing, the longer I keep wireless turned off, the more I do.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
I'm afraid to admit it's the opposite of the above, so the tool would be the internet. Utterly life changing for someone of my generation who grew into adulthood without it. I do miss spending time in libraries which I used to do a lot, but (I like) being able to discover what the Swahili word for 'thing' is in about 7 seconds, instead of getting on my bike, riding to the library, finding the right book and making notes with a pen.
Secondly I'd say light laptops, I travel with a MacBook Air. The keys are already worn out, I have to guess half the letters as they're blank by now. In terms of software, probably Chrome browser. Mine is plug-in-ed to the max; I use it all the time.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I suppose my Kindle. I resisted getting one for a long time but since I've had it, I've read so many more books. I love it, left it on a plane in Adelaide the other day, managed to get it back. Experienced enormous relief. Photo: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images
What’s your workspace like?
It's potentially a beautiful office outside my home but it's always a mess. I built my own desk which is huge and takes up most of the space but it's not exactly aesthetically pleasing. I use a MacBook Pro retina and a 27" display on my desk, a big pile of Drobo drives, an iPhone 4, yep, the plain old 4, and a MacBook Air when I'm travelling... oh yes, and an iPad. How Fanboi-ish can you get, but I am considering getting an Android phone in the future.
What do you listen to while you work?
My brain, that's noisy enough, can't work with music.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Making bechamel sauce using gluten free flour (my wife is coeliac) and I have yet to meet anyone who can make a smoother, creamier and more delicious cheese sauce. I'm very proud of that skill.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I would imagine very boring, I get in my jim jams, clean my teeth, lie down, mutter something vaguely affectionate to the Mrs and sleep instantly.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
'To Live Outside the Law You Must Be Honest' That phrase, I believe attributed to Bob Dylan had a profound influence on me. Having not followed a traditional path in life, I clearly needed something to guide me through life's hazards. I have repeatedly failed to follow that simple instruction but it's the one I always come back to in times of stress.