David Boland was born in Lancashire in 1946. He studied at Leeds University from 1964 to 1967. After four years as a schoolteacher in East London and Blackpool he joined the Civil Service in London, where he remained until his retirement in 2007. From 1977 to 1981, to combat the chronic boredom of civil service life, David studied Philosophy and History of Art at the University of London, the intellectual high point of his life. He is married with two grown up children. He blogs at Old Fogey and Old Fogey's Favourites (his music blog).
Why do you blog? > To find out what I'm thinking – which isn't always what I think I'm thinking.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Unlocking 30-year-old memories of the 'Persons Unknown' Anarchists Trial in 1979 that I wouldn't have done without blogging about it.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Following Orwell's advice (after blogging about it) on making tea without sugar - ten days of hell.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Voltaire, T.S. Eliot, Roger Scruton.
What are you reading at the moment? > A Great Feast of Light by John Doyle.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Jane Austen, Philip Larkin, Louis Armstrong.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Emma.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Little Gidding'.
What is your favourite movie? > Shane – by a short head from Bertrand Tavernier's Un Dimanche à la Campagne and John Huston's The Dead.
What is your favourite song? > Rodgers and Hart's 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered' - the seven-minute version by Ella Fitzgerald with the line 'and worship the trousers that cling to him'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Mozart.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The leftist platitude that 'the personal is political'. It's not. It's just personal - the place you retreat from politics to. All the rest is ideology - which you don't have to believe if you don't want to.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Uses of Literacy by Richard Hoggart, read first in the 1960s. The picture he paints of northern working-class life is very close to my own; so, too, is his account of the anxieties that result from being uprooted from it.
Who are your political heroes? > Charles de Gaulle, Harry Truman.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.' It applies as much to politics – and the rest of life - as it does to philosophy.
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? > Yes. I am. If you're alive your politics don't stay still, so even if you did start off agreeing, there'll be times when you can't. That's why we all need to keep a space which is personal, where politics can't enter.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Honesty - telling it straight.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Prevarication.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I am prejudiced in favour of what I know – that which is concrete, specific and already works. I am prejudiced against abstract ideals and unrealizable promises of a better tomorrow based on them.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Il n'y a que la verité qui blesse.' ('Only the truth hurts.')
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > East Enders, tennis (but not table tennis), snooker, sunbathing.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Everything - anxiety is my natural condition.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Learn to play a musical instrument - properly. Travel more.
What would you call your autobiography? > What's Next?
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Playing jazz. I own a trombone. The blokes in the band down the pub on Wednesday night let me join in and pretend I can play it.
What is your most treasured possession? > My son's school exercise book where, at the age of eight, he described me as 'the most boring person in the world'.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Tony Hancock.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Freddie Trueman, David Steele, Bobby Moore.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > West Ham United.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Madame De Staël, Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë - to see how the ice breaks.
[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.]