I was brought up in West Bromwich, and spent my formative years dyeing my hair peroxide blonde and scowling a lot. Always arty, after A levels I helped create an award-winning community theatre company, which led to me doing a degree at Birmingham University in Drama and Theatre Studies. Poverty then forced me into various proper jobs, until finally I became a well-paid apologist for a national company. Recently various health concerns put a stop to that, and so I'm now embarking on a new chapter in my adult life which, at the moment, is a blank page. I blog at Small Town Scribbles.
Why do you blog? > I've always been a manic writer. I've got drawers and drawers full of journals, note books and scraps of paper, where over the years I've scribbled down thoughts, opinions, stories. When I heard about blogging, I realized that that was what I was doing, just off-line, and I couldn't resist.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Every time someone emails me or leaves a comment because of something I've written, I get a high.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Being on dial-up. It's soooo slooooow. On occasion I have spent three times longer putting a post up than I spent on writing it. An upgrade to Broadband is imminent.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't copy anyone else's style. Find your own voice.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Christopher Hitchens and Naomi Wolf.
What are you reading at the moment? > Carrie by Stephen King, and The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath by Ronald Hayman.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Thomas Hardy takes a humble milkmaid's story and without use of sentimentality or condescension, elevates it into an epic almost mythological tale. A beautiful, near perfect piece of work.
What is your favourite movie? > Betty Blue.
What is your favourite song? > 'One' by U2.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to be a copious meat eater until I finally acknowledged the amount of animal suffering involved in the meat industry. I felt it wasn't consistent with my own sense of identity to be a part of something that caused so much pain to defenceless creatures. Four years later I don't know why I ever ate meat. I seem to still be alive.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. I was 20 when I read it and no one had shown me the world from a feminist viewpoint before. I've kept that viewpoint.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Tony Blair.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Willy wavers (aggressive men) and all their worldwide activities.
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? > Nope. I'd feel like I was betraying something or somebody.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Kindness.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Arrogance.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To prevent someone's feelings being hurt unnecessarily.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > People from the South East of England. They have to prove to me that they are not bruschetta-eating, house-price-obsessing, flat-screen-TV-worshipping, Arsenal-supporting, Burberry-wearing, Bluewater-centre-shopping, know-the-price-of-everything-and-the-value-of-nothing, shallow ignoramuses. Sorry.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Hanging around local shops drinking cheap cider out of plastic bottles whilst intimidating passers-by. I really have got to find something more worthwhile to do with my Saturday afternoons.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > That I will never pull free of this health quagmire I'm currently stuck in.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > See another GP straight away when the first one I saw didn't take me seriously.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Gwyneth Paltrow. She's about my age and size, and she plays being hurt and upset prettier than I do.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Anglesey.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A painting holiday on Anglesey.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Blogging aside, I try to get my short stories published and am working on a book.
What is your most treasured possession? > My sanity.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Author.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > I'm Albion 'til I die (West Brom).
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > No more doctor or hospital appointments, ever.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Richard III, Wilfred Owen, and Bono.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]