Anna Pickard was born in West London just as the first tube train of the morning rattled past the window one day in May 1977. She moved to Manchester at the age of 16, and part of her lives there still (her wisdom teeth). After three years of drama school she summarily failed to become an actress and ran away to the Inner Hebrides, where she was an arts and crafts worker in a religious holiday centre until being outed as a cynical humanist. She went back to university, gained a masters in Dramaturgy, and now works, in a completely unrelated way, as a producer on the website of a national newspaper. Anna has been blogging since 2001 at Little Red Boat.
Why do you blog? > Because I still enjoy it. Because other people do.
What has been your best blogging experience? >The people, or community, or however you choose to name it. Some of my best friends I have met in comment boxes.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Experiencing occasional ridiculous levels of competitiveness. It's a hobby, people.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Just keep doing it. Write every day and always use your own voice. And don't be surprised if no one cares what you think. They do that for ages before they start listening.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Ikea catalogue. I'm about to move house, and spend far, far too much time poring over pages of furniture porn. Last novel I read was Donna Tartt - no, Jose Saramago, The Double. It was great.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Dorothy Parker, Douglas Adams and Jim Henson.
What is your favourite poem? > Sonnet 29 - but not in a soppy way. It just reflects the gratitude I feel to those people around me who feel more confident about my abilities than I do - my partner, but also my friends, family, and yes, the readers of my site.
What is your favourite movie? > His Girl Friday. And Last Night - it's a Canadian comedy about the end of the world. Sorry, I'm not very good at picking one thing.
What is your favourite song? > 'One With The Birds', by Bonnie Prince Billy. Or 'One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)', or possibly 'The Snake', by Al Wilson - no one can help but dance to that song.
Who is your favourite composer? > Cole Porter.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Yes.
What would you do with the UN? > I would gather them all together and get them each to teach me a swear word in their own language. That would be very cool. Then we would have drinks, and maybe some dancing, and discuss the merits of physical versus verbal comedy - slapstick versus wit (illustrated using French people and banana peel).
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Me, judging by my plans for the UN.
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? > Absolutely not. I think political views are representative of the way you feel about your fellow people. If you're an ignorant, self-absorbed twat in the polling booth, you're probably ten times the twat in the your everyday dealings.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Empathy. Humility.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Self-importance.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > I don't lie very often, but to avoid causing someone a lot of pain. But let's face it, if I could cover my arse and get away with it, I probably would. Who wouldn't?
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Yes. I am a snob occasionally. Stupid, indiscriminately hateful people make me angry. Also I don't like people who eat apples on buses. Or crisps. They should all die.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is a fool that repeateth his folly.' (Proverbs, 26:11) As we all know, dogs will do that every time. Also people. Because repeating your follies is fun, no? Mainly I like the picture that accompanies it in the Good News version.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Golf. Standing up, drinking weak lager and shouting in luridly decorated bars full of underdressed idiots. Whining about roadworks and speed cameras. (I don't drive, so don't care, thank you.)
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Everything. The question should be 'What, if anything, do you not worry about?' I worry about everything to an almost comedic effect. It is not as fun as it sounds.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Of course not.
What would you call your autobiography? > 3 for 2. That way people might pick it up thinking it was part of a deal in the bookshop. Or perhaps I haven't done anything you haven't apart from get a book deal to write about it. Sorry.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > I would. I didn't go to drama school for nothing. To be honest I'm not entirely sure that there is likely to be a movie of my life, so it's a rather moot point.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A pile of books and a private swimming pool; a kitchen with a fully stocked booze cabinet, and one of those freezers that dispenses ice; the wind in the palm trees; no mobile coverage; my beloved to play gin rummy with in the evenings.
What is your most treasured possession? > My moleskin page-a-day diaries. They have ideas in. I could always reconstruct the work that came out of the ideas, but I am forgetful, and need to keep hold of the ideas.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > If I had to? Why would I have to? Am I in trouble with the law? Then Zelda. It's about as far from Anna as you can get.
What talent would you most like to have? > I would like to be able to play a musical instrument. But I am lazy, so ideally I would like to be able to play a musical instrument without having to practise at all.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I'd like to be a lawyer, but only the kind that gets to shout a lot and say 'I rest my case!!!' Or a writer, I'd like to be a writer. Or a rubber duck. Or a talking head on nostalgia list shows about how much I love the 1990s. Or an anonymous but fierce critic. Or a person who floats about, has babies and makes candles with no discernible source of proper income.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Well, I'd live in a much bigger house and I'd go on better holidays and I'd generally be a lot richer and stop working so damn hard. Probably. I have no idea.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > My partner Bobbie, my friend Alex and my colleague Tom. And maybe Mina. Oh! Mark, I would invite my friend Mark. No, maybe Lizz. Bruce. Juliet. Yes, I know I'm supposed to say someone famous, but surely it would be awkward spending a whole evening making small talk with Jesus, or Einstein, or Oscar Wilde? No. If I could have any three people to dinner, it would be the people I enjoy the company of but don't get to see enough.
What animal would you most like to be? > A polar bear. They're beautiful, and powerful, and graceful, and incredible, but most importantly no one wants to f*** with a polar bear.
[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.]