Mick Hartley was born in Sheffield, read Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford, but didn't make anything of it and sort of dropped out before ending up in a record shop in Camden Town with a friend. When that went belly-up he donned a suit and decided to take his responsibilities seriously. The rest is history. He lives in North London and blogs, by happy coincidence, at Mick Hartley.
Why do you blog? > Partly to put in my meme's-worth, as it were, and partly to see what I'd come up with. It's like Harold Bloom's take on Shakespeare, where the characters supposedly discover what they're like by listening to themselves talk. On the same principle I thought it would be good to see what I was like by seeing what I wrote. Turns out I'm quite dull and opinionated, but at least now I know.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Darwin and Karl Kraus.
What are you reading at the moment? > Occidentalism by Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Raymond Roussel and Little Richard.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Proust; or maybe Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I could name loads of them. I used to think psychoanalysis was pretty cool, for instance.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Secular liberalism.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Postmodern cynicism in its various forms.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Currently, Islamism.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Personal hygiene.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Lack of personal hygiene.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > If someone said to me, 'Imagine you're in a situation where your name has been given as an alibi by a woman friend who killed her violent and abusive husband. Your testimony is keeping her out of jail, but you know it's not true. However the police then finger someone else for the murder, someone you know is innocent, but this third party is a drug dealer. Should you tell the police the truth, or should you lie? It's an interesting dilemma, isn't it?' I would probably lie and answer, 'Yes it certainly is', so as not to give offence.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I don't like people with poor personal hygiene.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Many a mickle makes a muckle.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Sunbathing.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Oh you know... my kids, the future, death, personal hygiene. The usual stuff.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd have said no when asked if I wanted to do this profile.
What would you call your autobiography? > Mick Hartley: the Unauthorised Autobiography.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > The Old Rectory in some village in Dorset.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Something involving cycles and mountains, but not too strenuous. Maybe cycling down mountains.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Looking at maps.
What is your most treasured possession? > My recently-acquired new bike.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Putting together compilations for a re-issues label.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Glen Baxter.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Brian Clough, RIP.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Arsenal.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I wouldn't mind my hearing back. (I'm moderately deaf.)
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd head south for the winter. English winters just drag on too long.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Oliver Cromwell, St Augustine, and Bessie Smith. I'd be interested to see how they'd like my pan-fried calf's liver with balsamic vinegar, and then they could tell me what it was like to be dead. Well, Bessie and Oliver could - I doubt I'd understand a word St Augustine ('May I call you Gus?') said.
What animal would you most like to be? > Domestic cats have a pretty good time of it. And their personal hygiene is exemplary.