Dan Gebski interviews Tony Smith (Riser)

When you need help he is there for you. When you ask for advise he is there for you. The man who is contributing to the community a lot with passion and helping others. Let me show you the person who I am talking about, the one the only the banter man Tony Smith.Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview in my project From Zero to Hero.

DG: Tony could you tell me more about your childhood and family?

TS: I was born in Newry at the start of the troubles. I have to say I had a very good childhood even there was no good infrastructure services or even the internet like now. The life was so simple but it was quiet good. I remember we had to be creative as kids but we actually loved it, creating our own sports/games during the troubles but even with the terrible times there was  great memories too. In Newry everyone had their front door open and everyone was welcome in the neighbourhood. In my eyes they were safer times then than at the present time. It was to do with the tighter community spirit and different attitude.

Tony (Riser) Smith with Dan Gebski
Tony (Riser) Smith with Dan Gebski

DG:What is your profession and why?

TS: I am an actor of course but I was working for the water industry for over 22 years and took voluntary redundancy in 2010. Shortly after 2010 I went to London to start the acting journey and do what I really am comfortable with now. Before I went to London for example i experienced working for bands and doing videography for most Newry events. Dan being an actor it was my always dream and I have done it. It was not an easy road as acting is not an easy game. The competition it is strong but I do not complain and really enjoy the challenge of playing different charachters.

DG::How many years has The Banter Show been around? How did it all come to start?

TS: I started Banter Show because I loved doing presenting jobs. The Banter Show it is going now almost 7 years. My Banter show was the starter pack to build my presenting business. As you know yourself The Banter Show is still going and I enjoy helping as many people as possible.

DG:The RISER saying is for me a very deep one because I think it is a great interpretation of happiness. You can rise up and feel great or rise up your vibrations. Is the RISER saying a very positive saying or was it just an accidental discovery by yourself? What is the aim of it?

TS: The Riser it is a very positive catch phrase which was used in Newry in the 1980's  by my good friend who now lives in America. The Riser means “Lift yourself up”. It is uplifting/elevating word and replaces a greeting. Instead of saying hello you can shout “Riser”.

DG: What are your professional achievements as an actor?

TS: I was in some very good films in London, Manchester and all over Ireland. Firstly there is a very big connection of Irish actors in London and I am glad to be in those circles. I have seen myself on the screen in Bafta HQ in London and met loads of positive and powerful people in the acting industry. In Newry locally I was in a black and white short movie which was made in Killeavy Castle and Narrow Water Castle as well. This movie won Newry's 1st Film festival and it was a very big achievement' created by local filmmaker Mark Curran and was screened in Narrow Water Castle, Years later by the British Film Institute.

DG: We all know you are a very helpful person “Hero”. You have helped loads of charities to get their message out there. Why do you think is it important to give them help? Do you like helping people?

TS: There are loads of good charities out there which need help because they work with nothing. If any charity approaches me and asks for help I always do my best to get them as much views as possible and get their message across. I am here to help them all Dan.

DG :If you had a choice between acting as a main character role in scary movie or drama which one would you pick and why?

TS: I will definitely go for a scary character as they are my favourite. I think it is to do with my look. I did in the past horror movies but I can play anything because acting is acting.

DG: Me and you are good friends and there is no doubt on that one. Have you got more foreign national friends? Do you think diversity matters?

TS: Yes indeed Dan, Newry is a diverse City now and I embrace it. When I look in London I have loads of friends different religion's or nationalities. We need to do exactly the same in our home town. I never post anything to do with religion or politics. I keep away from those two subjects. I am here to promote unique individuals, creative's and charities.

DG:What are your other hobbies?Could you tell us more on this one please?

TS: I love traveling and meeting new people. I love music and going to see concerts. Also I love creating my own video clips which are very huge part of my life now.

DG:Have you got any mentor or Hero who you follow until today? Who is an inspiration for you in life?

TS: My big inspiration in acting was Richard Harris. I have always admired him for his acting. He is a Limerick man who was in major good films. Also what inspires me are people who have overcome bad times. Everyone who bettered themselves and came back from the dark times and are making a recovery in life.

DG: The last question I would like to ask you is little bit of a “Banter show one”.I have noticed you wearing hats a lot. Why do you like to wear them? Is this because you are baldy? or it is different reason for it?

TS: Dan we are living in Ireland and as you know there is plentyof  rain here. If you have a shaved head as myself you need to wear a cap or the hat. My hat is actually my Banter Show Trademark Dan. This hat is part of Banter Show. If you see me walking with my hat on you know this man is working or he is up to something positive.

This hat was everywhere and passed so many events . It was missing in Derry, England and even fell in the tide off the ferry in Carlingford Lough. I thought I had lost it forever but it was returned to me the next day by one of the Ferry Staff, who waded into the sea to recover it!. As you see this hat is a big part of my Banter show and it is with me over 7 years.

DG:Thank you Tony and as for me You are a Local Hero and I hope our friendship keeps for many many years. I wish you good health and a very successful future.

TS: Dan I am totally honored and you are an absolute gentleman and I have always plenty time for you. And it is great to call you my good Polish friend. Wish you good luck in your venture and good health brother.

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