Monday, March 19, 2007

Interview Me Meme

This was a rather dangerous meme but it had to be done because it was the wonderful Sage.

The Rules
: Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better. If I already know you well, expect the questions may be a little more intimate! You WILL update your journal/bloggy thing/whatever with the answers to the questions.You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Sage asked me...

1. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is my most favourite movie because it makes me feel normal when I watch it. I feel like I belong in this world a bit more whenever I see it. What film or book or song gives you this feeling the most.

Hewig comes pretty high up my own list. Actually, I can think of lots of films, books and songs that do this for me a bit, so I'm going to have to choose just one, about which I may change my mind later on...

Okay, the song Tribute by Tenacious D.

Every now and again I am struck with a tremendous cynicism; this feeling that very much of what everyone says and does is complete and utter bullshit. And I could write a lengthy passage about this feeling, but it would probably sound like completely and utter bullshit. In any case, this song contains my desired epitaph:

This is not the greatest song in the world; no, this is just a tribute.

Really, that's got to be the best any reasonable person can aspire to, even if everyone else says otherwise and thinks this is a tremendous joke. Which of course it is, but it is also true. And it is a great song.

2. Do you think blogging, pouring your thoughts out for others to comment on, has had an effect on your personal growth? Explain.

Not sure about personal growth, but I find it very useful. I find it very useful to simply get stuff out of my system, which is the main reason I blog. And with readers and folks who comment, well there's some point to it; I'm not just offloading onto a page to screw up and throw in the bin. Someone will read it, hopefully someone will be interested or find it useful, or something.

But I also find that framing ideas and experiences for other's eyes often allows me to unpack my head to some extent; the act of explaining one's own life can be very illuminating. Often when I'm feeling down, the process of writing about it makes me realise that the situation is not nearly so bad as I imagined. Tempting to put another pretentious comment about mirrors in here...

That's a personal answer, of course; it can't be the case for all bloggers. In fact I reckon folks whose personal blogs get read by massive readerships are at a distinct disadvantage; if the depressive musings of a broken-hearted dreamer brings in an enormous audience, then one is pretty much obliged to continue one's depressive musings indefinitely; personal growth is liable to lose one's audience base. Similarly with the big political bloggers; real people change their minds, but it must be far more difficult to do so if it means contradicting with the hundreds of people you have hanging on your every word.

3. What surprised you most about having a disability from what you expected to be the case pre-diagnosis?

Any kind of crisis or dramatic change in life brings out the best and the worst in people. And whatever kind of hackneyed truism that is, the reality can be very surprising. It was surprisng - is surprising - the way some people vanish completely out of your life when things aren't going so well, the way others spectacularly fail to apply any tact or imagination to your situation. And it is equally surprising how much imagination, empathy, love and loyalty that other people - not always the people you'd expect - can demonstrate when the bad weather hits.

And of course, you find the same surprises within yourself; strengths and weaknessness which may have remained undiscovered otherwise.

This isn't disability-specific of course, but some of the disability related stuff can be quite dramatic. A very obvious and lazy example is the completely different way that some people treat you simply by virtue of sitting down in a chair with wheels attached to it. Like you disappeared, or else suddenly drew a spotlight, your brain fell out or you lost a digit off your age. I had the notion that wheelchair-users were patronised, but it is still shocking to me, how it can be. And yet other people are just fine, better than fine; they not only treat you as they would anyone else but they become instinctively aware of your physical reality as being chair shaped; they never forget about a step or the fact you're low down.

So, it's a rather vague answer, I know, but basically the different ways different people react in a crisis. Can be staggering.

On a brief but irresistable note of pedantry, I personally wouldn't I have a disability.

4. You seem very well-read. What's your educational background? Was school a primary source, or something else?

Why, thank you. Alas, I didn’t finish high school and I haven’t got many formal qualifications whatsoever, although I did try to get a degree. Not in some noble autodidactic attempt to better myself, but because I was acutely aware of how extraordinarily unqualified I was (uh, am). But I did get quite a bit of the learning in, just not the certificates - and it was just illness that got in my way.

I don’t regard myself as particularly well read though. I think perhaps, I'm reasonably good at storing a lot of the useless information I do come across and if a subject is of any interest, I generally want to understand it as well as I possibly can.

5. Would you ever consider moving far from home (like to Canada!) for a job offer or the ever-changing weather or any other reason? Why or why not?

I wouldn’t rule it out because life sometimes turns in unexpected directions, but it doesn’t have much appeal at the moment. I really do love my country. I love the way that despite the homogenisation of a lot of our town and city centres, there is still this tremendous sense of place.

For example, as the crow flies, we are just fifty miles north of London and yet I can impersonate three different accents which can be heard between here and the edge of the city. There are still characters like my Gran whose accent and bizarre grammar render her speech barely legible to people from other parts of the country. And whilst it can get a bit nasty from time to time, I quite like the subtle regional tensions that exist between neighbouring towns and counties, North and South, England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland too, but that's everso slightly more complicated...

And then there's our everpresent history. Here, in our very ordinary village we have a pile of rocks alleged to have been a castle which was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell. And this place was one of the destinations and settling places for the Polish refugees during the Second World War. We're ten minutes drive from Elveden Forest where Elizabeth I was hunting when news of her succession came through (presumably they had a portable fax machine - they didn't have text-messages back then.). Also the place where the Maharaja Dalip Singh retired to after the Brits generously annexed the Punjab in order to teach everyone to play Cricket.

Ten minutes in another direction takes us to Grimes Graves - five thousand year old flint mines (the Saxons assumed they were burial chambers, thus the name). These look pretty funky on Google Earth or if you go to Google Maps, find the place and click on Satelite.

Twenty minutes away is Thetford, which was Boudica's capital from which she took on the Romans (Roman treasure has been found just down the road from here). This is also a weird pocket of East Anglia with a huge Portugese immigrant population, with Portugese shops and cafes. Then a bit further away we have places like Newmarket and Cambridge, of course - places whose history people all over the world know about. And this is just this little place in the what is alleged to be the most boring county in England, it's not exactly remarkable. Everywhere you go in these isles, you are surrounded by the shadows of significant events.

Not all good events, by any means, but it's not about pride. And it's not about the fatherland or anything ridiculous like that. It's just that in somewhere as vast as Canada, where even the most ancient history is pretty well spaced out, well I imagine I might feel somewhat lost.


Anonymous said...

If I'm not totally disqualified by never having heard of Hedwig, interv iew me?

The Goldfish said...

Okay, Charles:

1. If you could have dinner with any three who were dead before you were born, who would they be and why?

2. If you hadn't been a nurse, what do you think you would have liked to do with your life?

3. What was the last book you read and was it any good?

4. We all know, I'm sure, that Charles Dawson is the chap who claimed to discover the piltdown man. Why the choice of this particular pseudonym?

5. What is the one piece of advice you might wish that somebody had given you (or, if you did receive it, that you had listened to) when you were a strapping young fellowmelad?

Anonymous said...

That is an awesome video. Thank you so much. :)