A meme thing and some other stuff
A - Accent: Oh, hideous posh Brit, almost entirely phony but by assimilation rather than deliberate Joan Bakewell going into the loo and coming out with a new voice.
B - Breakfast Item: Black coffee - two cups Toast, one with either crushed giant greek beans, aubergine dip or organic smoked salmon; the other either sugarfree marmalade or mashed banana on peanut butter.
C - Chore you hate: There is no chore I like, except cooking which is not a chore. Chores are things you endure, no more and no less.
D - Dad's Name: Joseph Hugo, but everyone called him Joe
E - Essential everyday item: cafetiere
F - Flavor ice cream: I don't eat ice cream any more because I never liked it enough to cheat on my diabetes for it.
G - Gold or Silver?: SILVER.
H - Hometown: London
I - Insomnia: Intermittently
J - Job Title: Writer, critic, publisher's consultant
K - Kids: Umm no
L- Living arrangements: renting. I have a council flat.
M - Mother's birthplace: Southery, Norfolk
N - Number of significant others you've had: Five of real importance, plus a couple that are borderline for various reasons. My current sweetie and I have been together for two decades though, so none of the others count by comparison, except for the one whose heart I broke, and the one who broke mine.
O - Overnight hospital stays: cyst in my eyebrow: appendicitis and massive complications: GRS and massive complications: pancreatitis and gall bladder removal and peritonitis.
P - Phobia: I am not fond of heights or snakes but can cope with both. Enclosed spaces with dead air rather less so.
Q - Queer?: Very
R - Religious Affiliation: Recovering Catholic, former materialist, generally fascinated sceptic
S - Siblings: One
T - Time you wake up: About 8 most days
U - Unnatural hair colours you've had: red, platinum, black and scarlet
V - Vegetable you refuse to eat: I am not fond of cauliflower, but I will eat it
W - Worst habit: Not living within my means, not cleaning the cooker
X - X-rays you've had: I lost track
Y - Yummy: Smoked salmon and cream cheese on crumpets; yorkshire pudding and roasties in beef gravy: mushrooms sauted with garlic and dill and parsley
Z - Zodiac sign: Cancer
I am about halfway through The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters
the serial melodrama Penguin are bringing out weekly but which I got to read all of at once, tralala. It is most awfully ripping if you like plucky gels, crims with hearts of gold, airships, weird science, pocket razors and fast trains. And most of you do.
Listening to the Today programme, I heard the Islamic radical who heckled John Reid.
Now, the 'dob in your kids who might be fundies' is one of the most stupid of government initiatives, especially so since he could have softened it by talking about racist kids, homophobic kids and so on.
But this guy slings around words like crusader and tyrant and you gradually realize that they all have special meanings for him. We will all be converted or killed in the end, you see, and resistance is not only futile but blasphemous. In the meantime, he owes no allegiance to anyone but God and other Muslims as devout as himself - he recognizes no citizenship or responsibility past that.
Humphries was daft and talked about why not leave for somewhere more congenial, and got accused of supporing mass deportations and everywhere belongs to God and I will stay where I am.
But there is a more sensible response which is, if you don't recognize citizenship, how do you justify allowing yourself to be protected by the police, cured by doctors or educated by schools, or indeed incarcerated in prisons? To live outside the law involves a certain honesty and consistency, which, my impression is, this guy feels no obligation to.
And most Islamic theologians, not to mention ordinary people, take a very different line about residence in lands not ruled by sharia, which is that you make an accomodation with them, and obey their laws.
I found myself bristling at this guy, not least because he wants us to be stupid and be provoked.
For the first time in ages, I sympathized with Pliny and his attitude to this damn sect that claim that theirs is the only god, and won't play by the rules.
I love that line of Gibbons about Roman religious tolerance and syncretism, where he says of the worship of the various gods that they were 'to the populace equally true, to philosophers equally false and to magistrates equally useful'.
I really don't find blind passionate burning faith all that congenial.