Every Saturday in The Guardian Weekend Magazine, there is a section called Q&A, where a series of questions are given to a variable and broad range of luminaries. I’ve ganked the questions for my own nefarious purposes, and here are my answers, whether you want them or not!
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Laughing, smiling and playing with my wife and daughter and no-one else is around.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest (and only) fear has nothing to do with me, but with my loved ones and is so awful to conceive that I don’t even want to articulate it here. I’m sure you can work it out.
With which historical figure do you most identify?
Bill Hicks. For many, many reasons, but mostly because of this: “I was told when I grew up I could be anything I wanted: a fireman, a policeman, a doctor - even President, it seemed. And for the first time in the history of mankind, something new, called an astronaut. But like so many kids brought up on a steady diet of Westerns, I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. And in my heart of hearts I still track the remnants of that dream wherever I go, in my endless ride into the setting sun.”
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
I don’t really get embarrassed anymore but, when I was younger (I can’t remember when now, but I could have been any age between 8 and 12), I was in the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Notting Hill with my Dad and my brother. They had just had the front of the place re-done with immaculate, clean, clear glass. I misjudged where the door was and walked into an immovable glass wall with an awesomely loud CLANG.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My propensity for crippling self-doubt. (It used to be procrastination, but I’ve slowly managed to master that one).
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Cruelty. Rudeness. Greed. I haven’t even scratched the surface…
What objects do you always carry with you?
Books, notepad, pen, wallet, phone, keys.
Where would you like to live?
Closer to London than I currently do, in a house that can accommodate all three of us and our accumulated crap.
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is your greatest regret?
I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…
What is your favourite smell?
What is your favourite word?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife and daughter.
Do you believe in capital punishment?
How did you vote in the last election?
I can’t bloody remember. I either voted for the Liberal Democrats in protest over the war, or Labour. Either way, it didn’t matter. The area where I live is a Conservative stronghold.
Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?
For what cause would you die?
Although not something I would categorise as a “cause”, I would die for my wife and daughter. I’d much rather live for them, though.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Fuck, fucking, fucker, fucked and all its many and glorious variations, especially motherfucker.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
If someone could eliminate the need for me to do soul-destroying and ultimately futile jobs by giving me a never-ending stipend so that I can sit and write all day, interspersed with breaks for time with my family and other more elevating, fulfilling and entertaining pursuits, that would be good. Failing that, more sleep would be nice.
How do you relax?
You can stick me anywhere with a book and a drink, and I’ll be just fine.
What keeps you awake at night?
Many things: my daughter; the bastard dogs next door barking; drunk shitheads wandering past on the street shouting; too much coffee; a swift kick from my wife if I start snoring; a full bladder.
Do you believe in life after death?
If it occurs after death, it cannot rightly be called “life”. Having said that, I am open to the possibility that there is something.
How would you like to be remembered?
Loved by some, hated by others. Any strong emotion other than apathy sounds pretty good to me.
How would you like to die?
Holed up in an empty house, surrounded by hundreds of armed Bolivians, and out of ammo. I dash out in a futile attempt to reach my horse and I freeze in an inexplicable sepia-tone, just as there is a shout of “Fuego” and the hail of hundreds of rifle bullets…
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.