Gareth Williams was born in Pontypridd and did most of his growing up in Gloucestershire. He was educated at Cirencester Deer Park School and Cambridge and Oxford Universities, where he mostly studied History. He's worked in industry, retail and the City, and is currently indisposed. When not resting he works for a number of web businesses, including the exciting Newspaper Club. He contributes to The Spectator Arts Blog and a new culture blog, The Dabbler. He's recently written a novel (which is being considered by agents), and is working on another. Gareth lives in London with his wife and two boys. He blogs at Ragbag.
Why do you blog? > I'm addicted now and find I'm not happy when a day ends without a post having been written. However, I started because I was bored – I've been unwell for a couple of years and haven't always been able to get out of the house. (I'll be well by the end of the year so not to worry.)
What has been your best blogging experience? > Making friends and discovering that people liked what I'd written.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Imagining the tumbleweed blowing, having made a would-be witty comment which turned out to be the final one on a post. (So really not too bad then.)
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Make it a habit and follow your intuitions.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > At the moment, Leszek Kolakowski, Richard Cobb, Norman Stone and Conor Cruise O'Brien.
What are you reading at the moment? > David Kynaston's Family Britain, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's Race of a Lifetime and Oliver Rackham's The History of the Countryside (I always have at least a couple of books on the go).
Who are your cultural heroes? > At the moment, Barry John, The Specials and David Hockney.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
What is your favourite poem? > Right now, 'The Bright Field' by R.S. Thomas.
What is your favourite movie? > Quadrophenia.
What is your favourite song? > 'Baa Baa Black Sheep', as sung by my youngest.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I used to think the French Revolution was a good thing.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro, because it contains much of what it is important to know about politics in general and modern America in particular.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Islamists and those parts of the American Right which insist on taking them at their own estimation.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Impossible to say as there can't be a single, universal best point. However, I'm sure that there are many best points yet to come. In any event, I persist in thinking that human civilization is in relatively good shape.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Family's the most important thing, followed by health and friends. Nothing else matters very much.
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.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Kindness.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Er, evil?
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > In general, I don't like the eastern part of England above London and below Newcastle.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Eggs is eggs.'
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Pool – but that's the point of it.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Too much to mention.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Avoid furniture retail.
What would you call your autobiography? > Illuminating a Small Field (from a poem by R.S. Thomas). I'm publishing a newspaper of collected posts from my blog that will form something of a memoir and I've given it this title.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > The actor who played the male lead in the early series of ER and who isn't George Clooney.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > The notion of spare time is problematic.
If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? > Odilon or Steve.
What talent would you most like to have? > A musical one.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Mark Ring - in terms of pure talent and the ability to express that talent in a beautiful way, the best centre three-quarter I've ever seen.
[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.]