The normblog Q&A

Below are the answers to the thirty questions put to me by the Normblog profile yesterday:

The normblog profile 376: Citizen Sane

Citizen Sane was born in Sidcup, Kent, in 1974. He graduated from the University of Manchester in 1996, where he studied Philosophy and Politics. Soon after, he accidentally fell into a career in the City, despite always being vehemently opposed to the idea. It pays the bills but it corrodes his soul. He lives with his wife and one-year-old son (with another baby due in April) in Bromley, Kent. Citizen Sane blogs at Mind Trumpet and can also be found lurking on Twitter: @citizen_sane.

Why do you blog? > Out of necessity. Sometimes I feel like I will combust if I don’t get something – anything – written down. I don’t do it enough, though.

What has been your best blogging experience? > I wrote something disparaging about George Galloway on my old blog, Liberal Elite, that got linked to by Andrew Sullivan. That was pretty good – suddenly got 3,000 visitors in one day. They didn’t stick around though. But, actually, being asked to do a normblog profile has topped that.

What has been your worst blogging experience? > Not having the time or inclination to write anything for months at a stretch.

What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > The obvious stuff: be original, be regular and engage with your readers should you be lucky enough to pick some up. Acquiring and keeping an audience is very difficult but it’s a great thing.

What are your favourite blogs? > normblog. Andrew Sullivan. Oliver Kamm (though, alas, he’s pretty sporadic since they put that paywall up).

Who are your intellectual heroes? > Christopher Hitchens. George Orwell. John Stuart Mill.

What are you reading at the moment? > Hitch-22 by the aforementioned Christopher Hitchens and Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch.

Who are your cultural heroes? > The Beatles. Radiohead. R.E.M. The Smiths. The creators of The Sopranos / The Wire / The Simpsons / Frasier. Monty Python. Larry David. Chris Morris. Bill Hicks. To name just a few of many.

What is the best novel you’ve ever read? > 1984 by George Orwell.

What is your favourite movie? > The Godfather.

Who is your favourite composer? > Lennon/McCartney.

Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you’ve ever changed your mind? > I no longer consider anyone who is ‘conservative’ to be, by definition, an ‘enemy’. As you get older, more reflective, more tolerant of other viewpoints, it becomes easier to recognize shared values with people rather than being entrenched in ideological differences. I no longer consider myself to be ideological at all – there is good on both the left and the right, there is nonsense on both the left and the right. In fact, I try not to think at all in left/right terms. It’s no longer relevant.

What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Liberalism. Not the American definition, not the woolly nonsense of the Lib-Dems, pure unadulterated liberalism.

What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Religious fundamentalism, particularly of the Islamic kind.

If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > A written constitution and a Bill of Rights.

If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > I think Oliver Kamm would do a good job.

What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Climate change.

What do you consider the most important personal quality? > A good sense of humour.

What personal fault do you most dislike? > Self-importance. I come up against a lot of that in my line of work.

What, if anything, do you worry about? > The well-being of my wife, child (soon to be children) and family.

Who would play you in the movie about your life? > Apparently I look like a young David Hemmings. So him.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Would once have been New York but I think, all things considered, at the age I’m at now, it would have to be Brighton.

What do you like doing in your spare time? > I have a son who will be a year old on 20 December, so I don’t have much spare time these days. I used to enjoy regular blogging, reading, going to the pub with friends, video games and watching DVD boxed sets with Mrs Sane.

What is your most treasured possession? > It would have to be the hard drive that holds all our photographs. Everything else can be replaced.

What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Journalist / columnist.

Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Bill Hicks.

Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Arsenal.

If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > I would like to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money.

How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would quit my job immediately, buy a family home in Brighton, make my family and loved ones financially comfortable and live happily ever after.

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Hitch. Peter Cook. P.J. O’Rourke.

Centrist. Atlanticist. Dry liberal. Anti-totalitarian. Post-ideological pragmatist. Child of The Enlightenment. Toucan.

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3 comments on “The normblog Q&A
  1. Ann O'Dyne says:

    well said. I came here from Norm's blog.Gosh that table with O'Rourke, Peter Cook and Hitchens would end up as a brawl. a fabulous word-game brawl choking in cigar smoke.I loved Hitch-22 and started it again when I got to the end.cheers

  2. ph says:

    Born in Sidcup – live in Bromley, no wonder you doubt the existence of God

  3. Citizen Sane says:

    Ann – you're not wrong. It would be a night to remember although, of course, with the inevitable amount of booze consumed, you wouldn't be able to remember – you're not wrong. Although I rather like Bromley to be honest.

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