Sarah Cotterill was born in one of the less lethal suburbs of Birmingham, abandoning it as soon as possible for the more peaceful Magdalen College, Oxford. She spends her time promoting queer activism and studying political theory, but has yet to do anything of much note with her life. She blogs at Just Another False Alarm.
Why do you blog? > I was spending a lot of time commenting on other people's blogs, and decided to give them a bit of space by expanding into my own. Also, it's a nice way to sort out and discuss the various things going through my head relating to music, films, bestiality and the like.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Seeing people I respect read my blog more than once.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Noticing that most people don't.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Trouble With Normal, by Michael Warner; The Faber Book of Utopias; and the current issue of the gay and lesbian journal GLQ.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Primo Levi and Spike Milligan.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Hard to say, but I'm not sure I've ever been more excited by a book than by Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Unresolved Burdens' by Primo Levi.
What is your favourite movie? > Some Like It Hot and Metropolis (the silent film, not the anime) run pretty high.
What is your favourite song? > 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' by The Smiths; and, though it's not a song, I always love hearing the Benny Goodman orchestra's version of 'Sing Sing Sing (With A Swing)', with Gene Krupa on drums.
Who is your favourite composer? > Stephen Sondheim.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Not really, but then I'm still forming opinions to change - most of which fall comfortably into the socially liberal, politically lefty category, but with one or two more bizarre twists which come from too much time spent reading liberal egalitarian philosophers.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That natural talents don't create rights to anything.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That 'common sense' and intuition provide good philosophical arguments.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > With regard to obligations of obedience for services rendered: 'gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but not a right to be exacted' (Rousseau, Second Discourse).
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I'm with Chris Brooke on this one – the liberalisation of immigration laws.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > High and low points seem to come in waves, but most people at most times - including myself - think they're at a low ebb.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > No, but that's mainly because I spend too much of my time discussing politics to be happy spending it in deadlock.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Endurance.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > For recreational purposes, in almost any circumstances. Otherwise, for an easy life. (I'm willing to say I'm not gay if the person asking is obviously drunk and homophobic.)
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I tend to think anyone displaying the slightest hint of British patriotism is a member of the BNP.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching sports.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > San Francisco, Paris or Devon.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Going somewhere isolated with my guitar and a pile of books.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Going to the cinema alone, drinking with friends and, when in Birmingham, playing the piano.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to play the guitar like Django Reinhardt.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Archivist for some large film or music collection.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I'd like to be able to try out my ideas for social and political reform some day, to see if they would be as disastrous as some suggest. So this would probably mean taking over a small island somewhere for a short period of time - Britain might do.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > At the moment it would be Judith Butler, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Dorothy Parker, to cover the usual sex, politics and wit. I doubt they'd get on very well, though.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of previous profiles, and the links to them, can be found here.]