Kellie Strøm was born in Copenhagen in 1967 of an Irish mother and a Danish father. He grew up in Ireland, and worked as a freelance illustrator for newspapers in Ireland, Denmark and Britain. He moved to London in 1993 where he lives with his partner Susanna and their children Bo and Peggy. Kellie now works mainly on children's books, and occasionally for film and television. He blogs at Airforce Amazons.
Why do you blog? > Well, I'd already alienated friends and family with obnoxious opinionating, so it seemed time to widen my horizons.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Get back to work. Um, no, how about: if you write at length use dark text on a white background. Use Georgia or Palatino for body copy. You may need extra leading if you use Georgia. This can be adjusted with the span tag. Don't justify text in a narrow column width unless you only use very short words. Now get back to work. More good advice further down.
What are you reading at the moment? > Just started reading a little bit of Plutarch. Enjoyable. He could be writing for The New Yorker. He may yet.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Carl Barks, the cartoonist responsible for the best Donald Duck comics of the 1940s and '50s. He produced his greatest work anonymously, and though he didn't own the rights to the ducks, he made them his own. And he only began on the Duck comics when in his forties. So there's hope.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien, with its revenge on Liars.
What is your favourite movie? > Something by Kurosawa: High and Low, or I Live in Fear, or The Bad Sleep Well, or another one.
What is your favourite song? > Sung by someone else, 'Stand By Me', whether the original, or performed by Mohammed Ali, or The Walker Brothers, or Lennon, or Cake. For singing myself, a song from Burl Ives's Sea Songs of Sailing, Whaling and Fishing.
Who is your favourite composer? > Raymond Scott.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to think neutrality was a good thing.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Deism.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That selflessness or self-sacrifice might give some measure of the worth of an action. I prefer enlightened self-interest as an ideal. In the face of the rather big scale of this universe, to aim for the well-being of one's own species, or one's own planet, must be self-interest. But selflessness seems at best a narcissistic illusion, at worst nihilism. From demanding self-sacrifice it's only a short step to demanding the sacrifice of others.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Plato's Crito. My political reading hasn't been extensive, and none of the schools I went to gave any education in politics or law. The Penguin Classics collection of Plato's dialogues of Socrates was a random choice from my mother's bookshelf when I was twenty-one. Socrates's argument in favour of submitting to his death sentence gave some understanding of law as a two-way relationship between the individual and society rather than as a one-way enforcement of rules by the state, and seemed to point to the distinction between acting against a particular law and acting against the principle of law, and therefore to show a way to reasoning the limited circumstances in which breaking a law might be possible consistent with upholding the principle of law.
Who are your political heroes? > No heroes. Better to be able to disagree without having to smash one's own idols to do so.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > I would introduce the Single Transferable Vote. I'm tired of the silliness of having to vote for a Castro fan in order to support Labour foreign policy.
What would you do with the UN? > Shrink it and keep it in a snow globe.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Responding to hatred with fear and guilt.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Yet to come.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > I favour staying in denial as long as possible, but I'm not sure if it's good advice. I'm often advised to get more fresh air. I receive this advice several times a day, so it must be good advice.
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? > No. The underlying principles have to be shared even if the conclusions are different.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Patience, especially patience with people who don't take good advice.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > I wouldn't like to say.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To avoid embarrassment. Or death. But more often embarrassment.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Oh no, no!
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Careless words, unanswered correspondence, unfinished work, skin blemishes, teeth, moths, debt, embarrassment, death. And whether there is embarrassment after death.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Everything. Why live the same life twice?
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Ardal O'Hanlon.
What would your ideal holiday be? > The Arctic in summer.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would self-publish.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Aki Kaurismaki, Carl Dreyer, and Marcel Marceau.
[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.]