Darren O'Neil was born in Glasgow in 1971, but spent the majority of his formative years in England, where, naturally, he perfected his Glaswegian accent. Not getting the grades for admission to the University of Life, he graduated from University College London with a degree in history. Married to Kara and now living in Brooklyn, he divides his time between procrastination, maintaining the Socialist Standard MySpace page, and running around after a hyped-up Boston Terrier named Martov. Darren blogs at Inveresk Street Ingrate.
Why do you blog? > I originally started the blog as a dry run for submitting articles and book reviews to the Socialist Standard, but realized early on that I wasn't cut out to write. I now blog mainly to rant about what's annoying me on any given day, tell bad jokes and to post links to better writers than myself.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Getting Reidski of the Big Blowdown blog to buy me a pint.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Probably the occasion when Blogger lost a long post on Scottish working-class politics that I had been working on for a number of hours, leaving me with only the Ken Currie picture that was supposed to accompany the piece. The image alone then went on to generate more interest and comments than any post I've posted before and since. Also, accused of being a troll can be a very unpleasant experience, but being denounced in those terms by the cheerleading sections at both Lenin's Tomb and Harry's Place is a badge of honour of sorts.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't save posts in draft, thinking you will publish them later. You never do.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Karl Marx, Maximilien Rubel, Sheila Rowbotham, Jack Fitzgerald, Stephen Jay Gould.
What are you reading at the moment? > I just finished Denise Mina's Garnethill.
Who are your cultural heroes? > John Byrne, Grace Paley, Phil Evans, Mikhail Bulgakov, Trevor Griffiths, Ray Davies, Ian Walker, Studs Terkel, Ricky Gervais, Jarvis Cocker, Mike Leigh, Paul Weller, Patsy Cline, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Bill Forsyth and a thousand others.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > I won't pretend that it's the best novel I've ever read, but my favourite novel is Gordon Legge's The Shoe. Dance of the Apprentices by Edward Gaitens comes a close second.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Song of the Lower Classes' by Ernest Jones.
What is your favourite movie? > The Apartment.
What is your favourite song? > 'This Charming Man' by The Smiths.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I change my mind on the reform-versus-revolution debate at least three times a day.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > 'The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.'
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Religious fundamentalism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > I know it makes me sound like a backbench Labour Party MP, but reading Robert Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists at the age of 16 had a lasting impact on my political outlook on life. What do you mean it's a work of fiction?
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'It's the brain box, not the ballot box.' (Alex Anderson)
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Kathy Burke.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Capitalism.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > As a socialist, it's a given that I have to be optimistic about the future, but I do think that we have already passed history's best point.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I find it hard to understand how anyone can bring themselves to support Glasgow R*ngers, which means that relations with half of my family can be strained at times.
What is your favourite proverb? > Not a proverb as such but a nice demolition job on a proverb that annoyed the hell out of me long before I ever read about Krondstadt: '"One can't make an omelette without breaking eggs," people said in defence of the excesses of the Russian revolution. The poet Panait-Istrati is reported by Victor Serge to have replied: "All right, I can see the broken eggs. Now, where's this omelette of yours?"'
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > If Hollywood can cast Matt Dillon and a young Mickey Rourke as Charles Bukowski's alter ego Henry Chinaski, then I don't think it's too far fetched to get Gael García Bernal to play me. Can he do a Scottish accent?
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Edinburgh or Barcelona.
What do you like to do in your spare time? > Procrastinate.
What talent would you most like to have? > To be bilingual or to be able to play a musical instrument.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Bill Maher.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Jimmy Johnstone, Jock Stein, Charlie Nicholas, Henrik Larsson, and the French midfield in the 1982 World Cup.
Which English Premiership football team do you support ? > Glasgow Celtic - English Premiership Championship winners 2012.
[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.]