Brit is co-founder and editor of the cultural 'superblog' The Dabbler. He has blogged for a decade at various places including The Daily Duck and Thought Experiments. His own blog is Think of England. Brit was born in Portsmouth and lives with his family in Bristol.
Why do you blog? > Personal blogging is an addiction but with will power I can beat it for short periods. The Dabbler is a completely different experience: there's a unique joy in the feeling of building something special in conjunction with people I like and admire.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Making real friends and having my horizons immeasurably broadened. I've discovered that everything is interesting if the writing is good. That's really the founding principle of The Dabbler.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > The untimely death of an old blogging comrade and sparring partner before I'd got a chance to meet him in real life.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Comment prolifically on the blogs of others, and treasure your own commenters, even those who argue with you. Try to conquer pride and be as open-minded about your own opinions as is humanly possible. And don't let people swear gratuitously at each other in your comments - there's a danger you'll end up with little else.
What are your favourite blogs? > Nigeness, The Old Batsman and Frank Key's Hooting Yard. All three bloggers are also now Dabblers. I would have said Bryan Appleyard's Thought Experiments, which was almost the perfect blog in its heyday, but sadly he's gone into hibernation.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > I did a Philosophy degree which robbed me of the ability to hero-worship intellectuals, because every term we learned why the thinker we'd been studying last term got everything completely wrong. But I do love Doctor Johnson, at least as Boswell and Beryl Bainbridge have him.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Fox in the Attic by Richard Hughes. I recently discovered his A High Wind in Jamaica - you could say it blew me away. Also Impugned by a Peasant - I always have a Frank Key tome on the go.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Morrissey - I admire cussed longevity. And Mervyn Peake – his book of tragicomic children's verse, Rhymes without Reason, is the cultural item that has influenced me more than any other.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > I'd take Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series to the proverbial desert island, but The Leopard is probably the best novel. As a schoolboy The Wind in the Willows was my first experience of sheer reading bliss. Then there's Earthly Powers, of course. Oh dear.
What is your favourite poem? > Definitely 'Everyone Sang' by Siegfried Sassoon. Nominally a war poem but it transcends all genres. Sometimes I get the disconcerting feeling that all poetry written since 'Everyone Sang' is a bit pointless.
What is your favourite movie? > I can't seem to tire of Withnail and I.
What is your favourite song? > Usually, Bob Dylan's 'Visions of Johanna' because it is funny and inexplicable, but if we can extend 'songs' to arias, Puccini's 'O Mio Babbino Caro'.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Nearly all of them, and often twice or more.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > The Sean Penn Delusion, i.e. the notion that everything the West does must by definition be morally wrong.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > John Gray's Straw Dogs. I began it fearing that it was going to expose the brutal truth about humanity's innate rottenness so it was a great relief to realize, as I went along, that it was mostly twaddle and there is much to be said for human beings after all.
Who are your political heroes? > Currently I'm rather keen on Iain Duncan Smith, a brave man. The previous refusal of all political parties to face the problems of a welfare-dependent underclass, which has zero interaction with the rest of British society, is a national shame. He might fail to solve the problem, but I don't think he can make it any worse.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I suspect that's a meaningless question, as I don't think there can be a single measurable best point for everyone all at once. Of course I believe in western liberal democracy and the more that spreads around the world, the better.
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, as long as she could laugh about it.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > A sense of humour, which really means a sense of perspective – see previous question.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Fanaticism.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > I confess to an ongoing struggle with the French.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The usual: offspring, money, mortality, England's batting middle-order.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd start a lot of things earlier but it's probably healthy to have a few things that make you cringe when you recall them at 3.00am.
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Benedict Cumberbatch. We don't look alike but he has such a fantastic name.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Sir John Soane's house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London. It's the best house in the world. The things he did with bits of mirror and the colour yellow have to be seen to be believed.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Family outings, sleeping, watching cricket. I'm a member at Gloucestershire CCC but don't get time to go there enough.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to sing in tune. I have fine perception of pitch but my voice refuses to obey me (as opposed to a tone-deaf person, who doesn't know he's out of tune). This has always depressed me and I find public singing, such as at churches, excruciating because I'd so love to join in with gusto.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > A Test Match Special radio cricket commentator.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Viv Richards, C.B. Fry, Kenny Dalglish.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Peter Cook, Dorothy Parker and Sid Waddell. I'd much rather have a good laugh than a heavyweight philosophical discussion over dinner.
[A list of all the normblog profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]