Steven Fielding was born within the gravitational pull of Manchester and was educated at Cambridge and Warwick. He is currently Professor of Political History in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, where he is also Director of the Centre for British Politics. Steven has written on the Labour party and popular politics but is currently focusing on the depiction of formal politics on the screen, stage and page for a book due out in 2012. He blogs at Ballots & Bullets among other places.
Why do you blog? > To communicate my work to as wide an audience as possible – and maybe encourage more people to read some of my academic articles and books.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Keep it short and snappy: have a good start, a good end and a good title.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Quentin Skinner, Garry Wills, Gareth Stedman Jones.
What are you reading at the moment? > The Way We Live Now.
Who are your cultural heroes? > Tony Wilson, J.M.W. Turner, George Gissing.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Tristram Shandy.
What is your favourite movie? > Mon Oncle.
What is your favourite song? > 'Being Alive' (from Company).
Who is your favourite composer? > Wojciech Kilar.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The Iraq War. (Yes, then No.)
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Making of the English Working Class by E.P. Thompson – it variously showed how history could be written and how it shouldn't be written.
Who are your political heroes? > Abraham Lincoln, Herbert Morrison, Robert Kennedy.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'All men are intellectuals: but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals.' (Gramsci)
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > The best is yet to come!
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > You are ultimately the only person responsible for your own life.
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.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Kindness.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Arrogance.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > To spare feelings.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching TV reality/cooking/home & garden improvement shows.
What would you call your autobiography? > So There!
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > John Cusack.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Northern California.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Laughing.
What talent would you most like to have? > To be able to remember everything.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Journalist.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Laurel (and Hardy).
Who are your sporting heroes? > Eric Cantona, Alex Ferguson, Bobby Charlton.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Manchester United.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Not much.
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