Paul Saxton was born in Nottingham in 1967. He moved to Norwich to do a degree in film at the University of East Anglia; closely followed by the MA in Creative Writing. He has been working in advertising for the past 15 years and now runs his own (tiny) ad agency, where he is also Creative Director. He lives with his partner Shannon and has five children (three from a previous relationship). Paul blogs at The Whistling Glass and Maggie and Alice.
Why do you blog? > My fiction blog, The Whistling Glass, saves me the trouble of trying to get published and gives me an extra reason to write. I only ever liked writing for myself so blogging is perfect for that. My Maggie and Alice blog allows me to share news about our twin baby daughters, one of whom is severely disabled. It also gives me a chance to sound off about issues - and people - surrounding her care.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Currently living: Christopher Hitchens. Dead: Isaac Newton.
What are you reading at the moment? > Gilbert Sorrentino's brilliant posthumous novel The Abyss of Human Illusion; Creative Mischief by Dave Trott; The fourth gorgeous volume of the original E.C. Segar Popeye strips; The Classic Era of American Comics by Nicky Wright; the ongoing Amazing Spider-Man comic.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Mark E. Smith, Terence Davies, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Beatles, Grace Paley, Gilbert Sorrentino, B.S. Johnson, Elvis, Davey Law (creator of Beryl the Peril and the inferior Dennis the Menace).
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Ulysses.
What is your favourite poem? > No individual poem. 'Prufrock' if I was pushed. I'm currently loving everything by Alice Oswald, but especially her Woods Etc.
What is your favourite movie? > Too many for just one: The Long Day Closes, Distant Voices, Still Lives, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, On The Town, L'Atalante, Head, The Innocents...
What is your favourite song? > 'Louie, Louie' – The Kingsmen's version. So good I named one of my daughters (Louie, obviously) after it.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The assumption that lefties are automatically the good guys. Took a while for me to have my eyes opened on that one.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > We should do more to get across the idea that good things like democracy, equal rights for all, freedom and freedom of speech aren't difficult concepts to grasp. So simple, in fact, that five-year-old kids can understand them.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The overall anti-Western, anti-democracy, anti-Americanism, anti-humanism etc that is prevalent among so many otherwise intelligent people. Y'know, this idea that we're the bad guys: all that self-hating bollocks that we love to go in for. Very childish and infuriating.
Who are your political heroes? > I admire Tony Blair for getting the Labour Party out of the wilderness and making it a genuine contender again. While that may fail to impress the chattering classes, it makes a real difference to people who really feel the difference. Also, I like that me liking Blair winds so many people (see above) up.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Christopher Hitchens, because I seem to agree with everything he says. Similarly Nick Cohen (although I have problems with his love of the atrocious Indelicates).
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Religion. Idiots. Religious idiots.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Sad to say that the best is yet to come. Sad because I won't be there to see it.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Try not to be an idiot.
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? > Maybe. It'd depend on what she looked like.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Intellect. A good one, that is.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I have a real problem with religious people. I don't understand how their minds work. Even the most moderate, cuddly and accommodating of them must be, I think, a bit crazy in some way. I also despise hippies and green types and vegetarians and cyclists and...
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching other people playing sport. In fact, watching other people do anything.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Just about everything. But mainly about my daughter Maggie's future: what will she turn out like, will she be able to look after herself when we're not there?
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd be much more confident and I'd trust my instincts more.
What would you call your autobiography? > Barely Vapour: The Memoirs of a Whinging Underachiever.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan - anywhere in New York.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Seriously, if I could fill all my spare time having sex and/or sitting in the pub, I'd do that. I also like to write, read, listen to music and take photographs. But mostly I like to sit in the pub.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to play a musical instrument. I can sing quite well so it'd be nice if I could accompany myself.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Too many to mention. Here are five: Stan Laurel, Woody Allen, Tony Hancock, Stewart Lee and Larry David.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd worry less about my daughter's future. And I'd buy more comics.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Gilbert Sorrentino, Orson Welles, Beyoncé.
[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.]