Laban Tall - who goes under the pseudonym 'Laban Tall' - was brought up in straitened circumstances and studied Politics in the 1970s before living a polymorphously perverse, alternative lifestyle until he was into his thirties. A desire to raise children straightened him out a little and he's worked in IT for the last fifteen years. Politically he was a child of the left (ex-member of Labour Party/Militant Tendency/Campaign for Homosexual Equality), but something went radically wrong two years into the Blair administration, around the time of the Tony Martin arrest and trial. A half-formed feeling at the back of his mind that the liberation politics of the 60s and 70s had made things worse rather than better for the majority of the British working class was given shape by reading Families Without Fatherhood by Norman Dennis, and Melanie Phillips's All Must have Prizes. Suddenly all the Poujadist instincts of his petty-bourgeois ancestors came to the fore, and he's been indulging them ever since. Laban is married with four children. He blogs at UK Commentators.
Why do you blog? > It stops me shouting at the radio.
What has been your best blogging experience? > The kindness of strangers.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Looking at my work and hating the style. Every other sentence begins with 'and' or 'but'.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Get on with it. But I consider myself a novice.
What are your favourite blogs? > This blog excepted, Harry's Place is the first blog I go to. It has frequent posts and great comment debates. Also: Oliver Kamm and Scott Burgess for content with wonderful style; and Dumb Jon and Peter Cuthbertson.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Alexander Solzhenitsyn, educationist Tony Sewell and the astronomer Halton Arp, who questions the widely accepted red-shift theory. I admire people who swim against the political or intellectual tide.
What are you reading at the moment? > Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades by John J. Robinson. If you think Middle East politics is complex now, take a look at the thirteenth century, when assorted Christians, themselves divided, allied at various times with Mongol invaders, the Assassin sect, and Sunni and Shia Muslim princes.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Bass guitarist Ashley Hutchings, diarist Francis Kilvert, singer, activist and actor Paul Robeson (from my Welsh mother), novelist Thomas Hardy. I'm a Hardy fanatic - owning a copy of nearly everything he's ever written.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Don't know about best, but I return again and again to Solzhenitsyn's August 1914 and H.P. Lovecraft's fantasy The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
What is your favourite poem? > Currently 'Dover Beach' by Matthew Arnold. But it changes.
What is your favourite song? > 'Next Time Around' by the late Sandy Denny. Pure maritime melancholia. You can almost see the rain sweep over the grey sea.
Who is your favourite composer? > Ralph Vaughan-Williams - English mysticism with a hint of Welsh beauty blown across the Severn. And for younger surfers, something like the Pastoral Symphony or the Tallis Fantasia is fantastic chill-out music. We used to call it 'coming down'.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Abortion - twice.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That we have both a rational and an irrational nature, and if we only acknowledge our rationality, we leave a 'God-shaped hole' in ourselves. In this context, the decline of Christianity is by far the most important fact in Western society today.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That all the ills of the world are somehow the work of straight, white, middle class males - the theme of my political youth and that which currently informs educated Western society.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Churchill's History of the Second World War, especially Volume I. It's soaked in his English Tory romanticism.
Who are your political heroes? > Churchill, Peter Hitchens, Pope John Paul II, Tony Martin, Peter Tatchell. Contrarians again. I particularly admire Peter Tatchell's willingness to defend the free speech of evangelical Christians despite his total disagreement with them.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Weapons of mass destruction in the wrong hands.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Hopefully the latter. If you look at human history there aren't that many 'best points', though Britain around 1900 (and again 1950) was pretty impressive.
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? > Yes - and I am. She's tolerant in the true sense.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > When I meet anyone called Patel, I presume them to be intelligent and articulate.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Shopping.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The country and culture my children will grow up in.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Norway or New Zealand (South Island).
What would your ideal holiday be? > Anywhere with mountains, snow and preferably sea in the distance. Or walking the Welsh border country, to me the most romantic and beautiful countryside in the world.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Blogging, reading, and pottering.
What is your most treasured possession? > My family.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Astronomer. But I don't have the maths for the theory or the engineering skills for the practice.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Tom Graveney, Basil D'Oliviera, boxers Howard Winstone and Tommy Farr (Welsh mother again).
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > William McGonagall for his great heart, Shakespeare for his great poetry, and the Byzantine Empress Theodora for her great entertainment value.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of previous profiles, and the links to them, can be found here.]