Flesh is Grass was born one day after Kate Moss and lives in London. She has a degree in English Language and Literature and a PhD in something she can't earn from. It took the dysfunctions of the international left in the years after September 11th 2001 to rouse her political sensibilities. Her blog, Flesh is Grass, is a smorgesbord of the left, racism, dinners, technology and everyday affairs. 'Flesh is Grass' refers to being vegan, transient and one of many.
Why do you blog? > To sharpen up.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > I'm pretty sure this is to come.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Write for yourself in six months' time.
Who are your political heroes? > One has got to be Sylvia Pankhurst.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Arthur Koestler is someone I find really interesting. He definitely wasn't a hero but he was unbelievably eclectic - science writing, propaganda work for the Communist Party, subsequent anti-Communism, Zionism and anti-Zionism, prison inmate education, voluntary euthanasia. In my opinion his best works are his novel Darkness at Noon and his autobiographies, which are exquisitely written and concerned with so much of what was important in Europe at the time. He also wrote highly regarded manuals on sex and (separately) suicide.
What are you reading at the moment? > Roger Griffin's Modernism and Fascism.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Triomf by Marlene Van Niekirk. It's a novel about an abjectly poor family in the twilight of South African apartheid. They do unimaginably repulsive things to each other but Marlene Van Niekirk makes you care about them.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka made a big impression on me at school. A few years ago I had the overwhelming urge to read it again but I couldn't remember much about it. Somebody at BBC Radio 4's 'Poetry Please' kindly found it for me.
What is your favourite movie? > To Kill a Mockingbird, with Gregory Peck. Another perfect film is Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
What is your favourite song? > Many, including 'Bear Wiv Me' by King of the Slums (don't bother with the Fluorescent mix on the Web). I think when I'm 90, I'll still be convinced that my best is yet to come.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to have faith that culture could overcome anything in nature. The left needs to get its head out of the sand and worry about human rights rather than acting as if we're all fundamentally the same, because what we're finding out about genes is blowing that out of the water.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The ethic of reciprocity - treat others as you would wish to be treated - incorporating Popper's view that wherever possible, we should treat others as they wish to be treated.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Intelligent design. Also the re-emerging idea of Jewish Power.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The God That Failed, edited by Richard Crossman. Six ex-Communists tell how they came to Communism and why they abandoned it. After reading it I understood the incompatibility of Communism and democracy and why Marxism and intolerance are so closely associated.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > When Arthur Koestler was involved in compiling evidence on the Reichstag Fire he realized '... that in the field of propaganda the half-truth is a weapon superior to the truth and that to be on the defensive is to be defeated. It taught me that in this field a democracy must always be at a disadvantage against a totalitarian opponent.'
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > In advance of elections, giving every voting citizen a voucher for an equal amount to bestow on the party they choose, and outlawing any other funding. I think it would have very positive effects on engagement and accountability.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Competition for resources exacerbated by denial of anthropogenic climate change.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Ultimately, although probably with some regressions, things will get better and better. We are a marvellously clever and resourceful species.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Stay curious.
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? > As a vegan, I'd better.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Curiosity. Without that people tend to want to just stop.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Spite.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > With a data projector and a screen for sing-along lyrics, Matt and I would perform rollicking music hall and folk standards at weddings, christenings, bar mitzvahs and wakes. We'd live in a mobile home and rally accompanists in every town.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I make snap judgements about people according to their behaviour on public transport - dropping London Lites over the airvents, choosing, in an empty carriage, to occupy the priority seat and then nodding off, and so on.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Work out how I wanted to spend my time on this earth rather than just reacting to things in my vicinity like a sea anemone. Oprah once said, 'If you aim at nothing you'll hit it every time'. This is basically wrong - but what does hit you is haphazard.
What is your most treasured possession? > My iLiad eReader.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > The top of the Barbican Centre - Shakespeare Tower. During evenings and weekends a lot of the City is so quiet you can practically go to sleep in the road and there's an initiative to make green space visible from every corner by tending little gardens in courtyards and ruined churches.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Daydreaming in a large comfortable chair or if it's winter I like to climb into bed.
What animal would you most like to be? > A village-dwelling cat who knows how to cross roads.
[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.]