Ian Leslie was born near Blackpool in the year of Richard Nixon's landslide re-election, and raised in London. After studying English Literature at university he fell into a career in advertising from which he has yet to extricate himself. In 2000, shortly after Bush stared out Gore in Florida, he began a spell in New York, where he lived for four years. He returned to London just before the re-election of George W. Bush, and remains abnormally fascinated by American politics. He is blogging about this year's election under the name of Marbury and working on a book on the same subject.
Why do you blog? > Because I was consuming so much information and opinion about the US election that I needed somewhere to vent it.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Being named the world's 17th most powerful blogger by The Observer. Strange but true.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Christopher Hitchens, James Wood, and my mother.
What are you reading at the moment? > Primo Levi, If This Is A Man. Germans not coming out brilliantly, so far.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > War and Peace - although Revolutionary Road is probably my favourite.
What is your favourite poem? > 'The Whitsun Weddings'.
What is your favourite movie? > Mean Streets.
What is your favourite song? > 'A Case Of You'.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The Iraq war, several times.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > I don't know if it's a philosophical thesis, but: liberal democracy is a rare and amazing thing that ought not to be taken for granted.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Moral relativism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Origins of Virtue by Matt Ridley made me really think, for the first time, about why we're ever nice to each other. The War Against Cliché by Martin Amis made me think about how hard and how important it is to fight that particular battle, in life as in prose (though it's unwinnable, obviously).
Who is your political hero? > Abraham Lincoln.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'The fox has many tricks, and the hedgehog only one, but that is the best of all.'
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > What little peace and security there is in the world is most likely to be threatened by competition for our remaining natural resources. Malthus wasn't a complete dope.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > It may be that the best is yet to come, but on a much reduced scale.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Self-obsession. Not that I'm finding this form particularly difficult to fill out.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To save my friend's life. Also, to save my life instead of my friend's.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Blogging.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Whether the person entering the pub ahead of me is going to take the seat I want.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Yes.
What would you call your autobiography? > A Study In Power.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Cate Blanchett.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > New York City.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Woody Allen, for his prose and his films, up until the point - some time around Small Time Crooks - when the quality of both dropped off a cliff.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Muhammed Ali, Bjorn Bjorg, David Beckham.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Used to be Liverpool but they stopped winning stuff. So now it's Arsenal, for the time being.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, Lord Byron and Dorothy Parker. Plus Thomas Malthus, if there's enough food to go round.
[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.]