Happy Christmas, everyone!
I’m going to do the Samuel L. Jackson meme. Yeah. What’s good enough for Sam’s good enough for me.
When were you happiest?
Thus far, it would be one evening in May 2006. But I’m working on that.
What is your greatest fear?
I’m really scared of drowning. I fell badly in the water as a child and that sense of not knowing which way was up, where the escape route was, where there was footing, and watching my own breath cascade past my face was fucking horrible. It’s only in the last year that I’ve been happy to lie in the bath with my head under water (which I do quite a lot).
What is your earliest memory?
Sitting propped on a large grey sofa, watching a black and white television, on which an old film was playing, and in it there was a cowboy on a black horse, and I think they were affiliated with a circus. And the horse reared up and trampled a lion. It was before the second Hendon house, so I must have been literally months old, because I remember being in my cot in the second Hendon house (many memories of that place), watching the mice scamper under it, at night.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
When I’m tired I get very punchy, judgemental and negative. I find that a very frustrating quality in myself. I close people and issues down too hard and too fast sometimes.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Disliking me. Obv. THE FOOLS!
Ok, ok. Um … arrogance, not listening, brutality. All of which I’m perfectly capable of myself, at my worst – or was when I was younger.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
When Nicola Crumpton pulled my pants down in the crocodile after P.E. in primary school. MAN, that still smarts.
What is your most treasured possession?
I really have a lot of very treasured possessions. I suppose people will expect me to say “my cats”, but I don’t really consider that a person can own another person, and while they’re very short, quite hairy and much more stupid than I am, they are still people, after their own fashion. So we’re talking things, here. I’m going to go with everything I inherited from my grandparents.
What would your super power be?
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
What makes you unhappy?
Feeling tired is generally the underlying cause of any unhappiness I feel. A couple of good sleeps normally sets me right.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I wish I had a muscly little body like an acrobat or dancer. I have a flabby one instead. Boo!
What is your most unappealing habit?
What is your favourite word?
“Blazing”, today. Blazing, blazing, blazing!
What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
Nothing is the worst thing anyone’s said, or says to me.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
All my pleasures are guilty. I enjoy being secretive and unobserved.
What do you owe your parents?
My life. More than once.
What or who is the love of your life?
The act of loving – the whole of the thing, I mean, from the mundane and annoying to the heart-stopping and extraordinary, is probably, in and of itself, the love of my life. I think love is like an animal that lives in your life: it’s wild and limber for some people – more a horse you try to hang onto than one you ride – and for others it is a quiet creature that sits by the fire in a clock-ticking study. Perhaps this is what Pullman was writing about, when he wrote about daemons: that if we are separated from our ability to love we may grow very old, but we will do so as ghosts.
What does love feel like?
It is like having a ball of molten lead in your chest, and a ball of helium in your pelvis.
What was the best kiss of your life?
Oh, the kiss that didn’t happen, on the steps of St Mary Le Bow.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
I’ve had some stinkers, but selling investments was the worst. I’m incapable of lying to people and can’t take advantage of their stupidity either. Apparently “Oh, you haven’t got any money? Ok then, no probs! Thanks for talking to me! Byee!” isn’t the way to make your first million.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
My own body’s failure to keep pace with my soul.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
D’you mean “when”? I would love to be in Paris in the late 1800s or early 1900s: great music, great art, and the world all mad and hectic, staring into an abyss. But in fact I would prefer to go forwards, as I am a woman, and going backwards always involves surrendering any recognition that I am a human being.
How do you relax?
I just sit quietly, with the cats. Everything else is quite hard work, for me.
How often do you have sex?
Oh, you know, once a decade or so I try to make space in my busy schedule. 😉
What is the closest you’ve come to death?
I’ve been pretty close to it a few times. Being trampled at Wembley, I really thought “Wow, this is it. I’m about to die.” It wasn’t scary, just an observation. Same with the guy with the gun. “Oh. This is how it ends.” And one other time, which was more difficult, probably because it was the one time I could do something about what was happening. When there’s absolutely nothing you can do, and you can see it coming, it’s a strangely calm and elegant experience.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Health: to not be so weak would be magnificent.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
That I am still defined by love.
How would you like to be remembered?
I doubt I will be.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
It isn’t worth being careful. Get out there, live, fuck things up, get things right. There isn’t some great ledger somewhere, totting up whether you have been more good or bad. You’re going to die whether you’re frugal with your self, or profligate. It doesn’t matter what things cost you. Try to do it all honestly and kindly. Don’t be cruel because you can. Never – NEVER take revenge.
Where would you most like to be right now?
Tell us a secret.