Sadie Smith was born in Bognor Regis 28 years ago, and it hasn't got much more glamorous than that since then. Having attended a state school in Chichester, she spent three years studying Social and Political Sciences at the country's principal finishing school for the aspirant middle classes (or Cambridge University as it's occasionally known). Upon graduating she spent six and a half years working for Labour MP John Mann and now freelances as a writer, researcher, and whatever else she can get to keep her menagerie in bird seed and rabbit food. She blogs at Sadie's Tavern.
Why do you blog? > For two reasons really, principally because I like writing and – lacking the foresight to be born to the Rees-Mogg dynasty or parents who are senior at the BBC – have found the steam-powered internets an invaluable medium in terms of my ongoing commitment to crow-barring bad jokes into our political discourse. In addition, I have long been of the opinion that politics, particularly politics on the left, has a tendency to be somewhat humourless in its outlook and limited in its appeal beyond the boundaries of those who genuinely seem to think that earnest discussions about the 'radical centre' or 'progressive consensus' are all they talk about on the streets of Worksop and the key to broadening Labour's appeal. Politics is too important to be taken seriously, as Oscar Wilde once nearly said and I like to think that, in my own limited way, what I write both challenges the emerging Conservative orthodoxy through a bit of gentle ribbing and provides my readers with a morning laugh over their coffee.
What has been your best blogging experience? > I got linked to by the Guardian the other day. Yes, I hate myself that this matters to me.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't take what's said in your comments too personally, try to blog every day, and don't get involved in interminable boasting about how the days of the 'dead tree press' are numbered now you've got an account on blogger and provided your mum with the URL. It makes you look like a swivel-eyed delusional.
What are your favourite blogs? > Tricky, as since I've managed to work my Google reader there are so many. Probably PooterGeek who has a wonderful turn of phrase, Hopi Sen who's hilariously and refreshingly self-deprecating whilst being insanely knowledgeable about all things political, and Olly's Onions which is just superb.
What are you reading at the moment? > 1917: Russia's Year of Revolution by Roy Bainton.
What is your favourite song? > 'Glory Box' by Portishead.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > I'm not sure it's a philosophical thesis as such (given that its standard-bearers appear to be such intellectual colossi as David Davis, Henry Porter and Shami Chakrabarti) but I think the emerging 'liberty' narrative is something that requires a little more examination than it's currently getting in our principal organs of record. In the wake of 7/7 and 42 day detention, there has been a growth in the popularity of what I consider to be a destructive form of negative liberty which holds that 'The State' should be rolled back to allow people to be truly free. I guess there are arguments to be had in favour of that - if you happen to be a Tory - but a distressing number of people on the left hear the word 'liberty' and start charging to the fore shouting banalities about 'police states' and 'George Orwell'. Contend that it's a bit more difficult than that as there is no one liberty but rather a clash of different liberties and you're labelled 'worse than Hitler'. The dumbing down of the liberty discussion at a time when more than ever we need to be debating it with at least a modicum of intellectual rigour is something that brings my inner Ted Bundy roaring to the surface every time I read Porter's weekly 'Brown: biggest dictator EVAH' articles in the Observer.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Probably The Female Eunuch. I read it for the first time when I was eighteen and it introduced me to feminism.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Don't trust any of them. They're all snakes.' And no, I'm not going to tell you who said it!
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Bob Geldof. I would then make it my life's mission to hold a yearly concert in a field and denounce him as a 'typical politician' to a bunch of wristband wearing teenagers who have a vague idea that they are doing their bit for world peace/climate change/Make Poverty History by turning up to listen to Natasha Bedingfield and waving their lighters in the air. My version of 'Tell Me Why / I Don't Like Mondays' isn't bad either.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > In the words of Matthew Lewis in The Monk: 'he knew not how uncertain is the air of popular applause, and that a moment suffices to make him today the detestation of the world, who yesterday was its idol'.
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? > I don't think so, but I'd make an exception if I found out Johnny Depp voted Liberal Democrat.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > A sense of humour. Yes, really.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Unquestioning self-belief unmatched by any particular talent to justify the trait.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I have a largely unexplained, even to myself, aversion to rugby players of all levels and ability.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Beware of the toes you tread on today for they may be connected to the arse you have to kiss tomorrow.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Chick-lit and romantic comedies.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Money.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'm going to come over a bit Pangloss here, but the answer to that one is no, not really. Life's okay, and whilst I may sometimes wish I'd spent my youth sleeping around and getting drunk rather than memorizing great chunks of Salome, you never really know what outcome that might have eventually produced and I'm reasonably happy where I am.
What would you call your autobiography? > Is This the Face of Someone Who Gives One?
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > The bloke who played Howlin' Mad Murdoch in the A-Team.
What would your ideal holiday be? > A Greek island, a suitcase full of books, and a nearby taverna.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading, writing and, if I'm honest, going to the boozer with my friends and watching Hollyoaks. My soap preferences go no further though, right?
What is your most treasured possession? > A Greek coin on a chain my parents gave me when I was sixteen. It has Athena on one side and her symbols, the owl and the amphora, on the other.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Tarquin.
What talent would you most like to have? > I'd like to be able to write like Tom Sharpe.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > I have a vague ambition to be a writer of some sort. One day, maybe.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Jasper Carrott.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > It wouldn't change my life at all. Yeah, I'm kidding: I'd spend my days eating pies on a huge pile of cash.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Livia Augusta, Margaret Atwood, and Oscar Wilde.
What animal would you most like to be? > A bear. As my first intern used to remind me on a regular basis - and for no particular reason - you should never attempt to fight a 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.]