A native of Gloucester, Huw Clayton studied history at Aberystwyth. He went there by accident after just missing a place at Oxford but liked it so much he stayed for seven years, leaving with a doctorate. He is currently a freelance academic and musician, based in Gloucestershire while looking for an academic post. He has published material on inter-war British history, and has just completed a book on the Home Office's relationship with culture in the 1920s. Huw's current project is a history of government and the railways in the era of the First World War. He blogs at Doctor Huw.
Why do you blog? > I set up my present blog to give myself a higher web profile while I was out of work. It's intended to be a place to update people on the progress of my research, but I also find blogging on politics in particular helps clarify and focus my thoughts on the big issues of the day.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Blog every day until you get the hang of it, and then blog only when you have something to say.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Dymock Poets by Sean Street.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
What is your favourite poem? > 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost.
What is your favourite movie? > Excalibur.
What is your favourite song? > 'Linden Lea' by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Who is your favourite composer? > J.S. Bach.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > At 14 I was an atheist.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The Gospel.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Holocaust Denial.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'When there is nothing you can do, doing nothing is usually much the wisest course of action.'
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Nuclear proliferation (read - a nuclear-armed Iran).
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > Everyone makes mistakes; the trick is to learn from them.
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? > Not a second time.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Honesty.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Hypocrisy.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I'm very cynical about politicians, including those outside politics. I don't know whether that's a prejudice or a defence mechanism.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching football.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Being unemployed.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd have published a lot more while at university, and pushed for more teaching.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Aberystwyth.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Six weeks in the west of Ireland - golf in the morning, music in the afternoon.
What is your most treasured possession? > On the basis that a lot of what's on it is both treasured and irreplaceable, my computer.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to play the organ properly.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Professional musician – composer, conductor, singer, accompanist, I wouldn't be fussy.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Ian Hislop. Sion Simon would shade it if it weren't for the times when he tries to be funny.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > The offer of a permanent post as a history lecturer. Anywhere.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Life wouldn't change much in its essentials. I'd still spend my time on writing and music, but it would be a lot more comfortable and I'd worry a lot less about it.
[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.]