Rachel North grew up in a Norfolk vicarage and moved to North London in 1994. Previously an advertising strategist, now a writer, her urban75.com message board account of surviving the Piccadilly line suicide bombing on 7 July 2005 was picked up by the BBC who asked her to write a survivor diary for a week. Afterwards, Rachel continued writing on a blog, Rachel from North London. As well as spearheading a survivors/families campaign for an independent inquiry into 7/7, Rachel is a passionate campaigner for civil liberties and the author of a memoir, Out of the Tunnel. She writes for The Sunday Times News Review and is frequently asked to comment in the media on terrorism issues.
Why do you blog? > Writing practice. And to connect with the thoughts of people all over the world that I would never know otherwise.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Write with passion, about anything you like - don't feel constrained - and use spell-check.
What are you reading at the moment? > Any Human Heart by William Boyd and My Boyfriend is a Twat by Zoe McCarthy.
What is your favourite poem? > 'i carry your heart with me' by ee cummings.
What is your favourite song? > 'Gimme Shelter' by the Rolling Stones.
Who is your favourite composer? > I have to cheat and have two: Mozart and Beethoven.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Nuclear power. I used to be wildly against it, now I am not so sure, given the way we are carrying on over oil.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The political is the personal, more often than you'd think.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? That the rules of the game have changed. (They haven't, especially with regard to handing over ancient liberties in the name of 'security'.)
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > What Terrorists Want by Louise Richardson. A compellingly sensible, superbly researched account of how we need to understand terrorism to defeat it, and why the Global War on Terror is failing.
Who are your political heroes? > Thomas Jefferson, Gandhi, Elizabeth I.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.' (George Orwell)
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Proportional representation.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Someone who had a peculiar inability to tell a lie when asked a direct question.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Selfishness.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Oh, I like to be hopeful. Best is yet to come.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Nobody ever lay on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time in the office.
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. The arguments would be never-ending.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > An ability to empathize.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Interrupting people. I do it all the time and I am trying to learn to bite my tongue.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save a life.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Conspiracy Theorist Mentality.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Only Connect.'
What, if anything, do you worry about? > I have learned that worrying about things is pointless. It is better to do something about it, or die trying.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I used to have a six pack when I was 20 and for some reason I chose to hide it under revolting huge hairy jumpers.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Several weeks on a quiet beach with my husband, a pile of books, use of a boat and some great diving.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Curling up with my husband on the sofa, reading several books at once, cooking and thinking.
What is your most treasured possession? > Oh, it's all just stuff.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Flamenco dancer.
What animal would you most like to be? > A horse.
[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.]