Charlotte poses some questions

I cannot pretend this is anything more than a bit of self-indulgent blog-streaking but the answers Charlotte gave the questions put to her in the Interview meme are illuminating and fun so I decided to give it a go. Besides which, I thought she’d ask interesting questions. Guess what – she did. The answers of course are another matter.

1. Social justice is important to you. When did you first become
aware of injustice in the world and what was your response to that?

I had a nice long answer that encompassed being the youngest of four, feminism, the Miners Strike, Live Aid, and the Countryside and Anti-War Marches of the Blair years. But then I realised that although I don’t like injustice, what really gets me going is dishonesty. It is the moral and intellectual dishonesty of the Blair crowd that enrages me, not to mention the Tory sleazeballs before them.

For me, the first political question is “what is government for?” Surely it is there to make life for the people fairer, easier and safer. To support and protect, if you like.

How dare they take us into a war which – entirely predictably – caused the deaths of 56 people in London on 7/7? And there’s more, it seems, to follow. This will go on for generations. In what possible way is the world a safer place because Blair has spent the last five years wanking all over Iraq at Bush’s behest? And the junior doctor thing? How does instituting a Cultural Revolution against doctors improve our health-care exactly?

Honesty is part of who and what I am. I tend to stare reality in the face to see which one of us blinks first, and I have very little patience for people who are self-serving and self-deceiving. I’ve had my moments, my years, of self-delusion but I am never comfortable with it once I realise it. And the self-serving arrogance and abuse of power of those in power continues to enrage me. I think I have voted for the government only once in my life.

2. You love words, and yet you seem to work in an industry that involves software/numbers. Is this your dream job? If you could start your career all over again, would you take the same direction or do something radically different?

Well, I love mathematical and systemic elegencies too. Besides which, a lot of it is words: my job is to sit between business people and technical people and stop them wanting to throttle each other. I’m a go-between, a buffer zone and a translator.

Actually, it is my dream job. I get an intellectual challenge from my work which I can’t get elswhere and which I miss when I’m not working. I am a compulsive asker of questions and maker of connections and much of my job involves understanding systems. It is easy enough to understand explicit systems that are known about and documented. The fun is in uncovering implicit systems. I like uncovering how things would work if you made this group of people accountable for those decisions; what would happen if that team had access to this data; why does this group behave in this counter-intuitive way and so on.

If I could start again I’d like to live in a world where I could have got a good first degree in maths and modern languages and started off by working for an emergent technology firm like Lotus. But I’m pants at languages and not good enough at maths so I am where I am. Which isn’t a bad place to be.

I think there’s a parallel universe where another Aphra is an estate agent, but that’s another thing entirely.

A very young Buster

3. Who has been your favourite cat and why?

Right pronoun. Hard call.

Buster was fearless and inquisitive, friendly and fun.

Slasher looking serene

Slasher was a zen master apart from the killing things bit which we won’t discuss; he could appear and disappear at will and was an intensely private cat and loving and peaceful company.


Tiger is very sweet. another serial killer of course, but very affectionate.

There have been others: Madam, another Tiger, Archer and Aitken, and Curly, but for sheer cheek it’s probably Buster.

4. Aphra and the WI. Discuss.

Hoo hoo. What’s not to like about an organisation of middle aged women who heckle Blair by slow hand clapping him and making him sweat? Oh, and the nuddie calendar shots too, don’t forget those. I’m a country woman, I’m also a subversive and I like the company of women.

5. If I could guarantee you an all-expenses paid, no strings attached, month-long holiday on your OWN, where would you go and what would you do?

This is the hardest question of all.

With company, I’d go on a road trip; possibly in the Australian outback, possibly trying to do Scandinavia justice. A month isn’t that long, to be honest. But I’m not sure about a road-trip on my own, I like my own company but I like my own company in my own home.

I could probably do two or three weeks on a beach, but not a month. Perhaps it would be interesting to do one of those Mediterranean cruises where clean, young, gay academics provide lectures about Canaletto and the Mycenaeans. I would avoid those life-style holidays on a Greek Island where desperate, single women paint each others’ auras and have emotional crises brought about by too much oestrogen, not enough sex and too close a proximity to the scuba-diving instructor’s bum.

I’d probably visit friends and relations like Rabbit in Winnie-the-Pooh. Meet up with a few Internet Wierdos. Shoot a few breezes. Down a few glasses. That sort of thing.

But I’d rather have a companion, a car and an atlas, to be honest.


  1. Leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
  2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. Please make sure I have your email address.
  3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment, asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

25 responses to “Charlotte poses some questions

  1. Oh, if Teuchter has bitten, does that mean I can’t bite too? Or are the general public allowed to swamp you with demands for interview questions? Because I’d love to see what sort of things you ask me.

    I foudn number 2 very interesting. People seem to see being ‘good with words’ as somehow the opposite side of the spectrum to numbers and systems and science. I’ve always seen them as different skills any given person could have a combination of. But apparantly it is deeply subversive to know how to spell and do metaphors, AND be able to do long division. But what are language and poetry if not systems?

    Oh, and an estate agent?

  2. No limits on the number of people I’ll fire questions out to. I like asking questions.

    *grins evilly*

    Oh, and I like nosing around other peoples’ houses and selling things – it’s just another branch of asking questions after all. C’mon, you can see me as a cross between Sarah Beany and Kirsty, you know you can.

    Any more for any more?

    Roll up, roll up. Get your luvverly inquisition ‘ere.


  3. OK, I’m on. Look forward to your quiz.

    The following is part of my permanent mental baggage. Maybe you’d like it for yours?

    During the homosexual law reform [‘Wolfenden’] debates of the 1960s, one MP unforgettably said:


  4. Fnar fnar!

    I’m pondering your questions, and will send them once they’re pondered.


  5. Can I have some questions too? But only if it’s OK to take a few weeks to answer them, because I shall be away for a while, and anyway I have a bit of a backlog owing to vinorelbine-brain.

    In fact probably not till August would I get to question-answering, but I thought I’d better ask now.

  6. Great answers. I have also worked in between technical people and business people, and it does take an efficacy with words as well as an ease with systems. I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive.

    As for the holiday, I think I am obsessed with having a month to myself as I have three small children, and the idea of a month of silence is heaven to me!

    Looking forward to seeing your questions to Teuchter, Reed and others.

  7. Oh go on then, I’m in. Gotta have questions from Aphra.

    I rather envy your job. It sounds like a lot of fun.

    I also have cat envy.

  8. Potentilla, of course you can have questions and answer them whenever suits you. I’m going to ponder yours for a while but will get them off to you in the next couple of days.

    Sol and anticant, I am sending yours tonight.

    Charlotte thank you for such interesting questions. They were fun to answer.


  9. I would love to have you interview me. I hope it’s not against the rules to participate more than once with different people. I’ve done this meme with another blogger, but it was such fun, I can’t resist another turn.

  10. Oh yes Mary. It’s fun this inquisiting lark, and harder than I’d expected which is good. Give me a few days and I’ll get some emailed off to you.


  11. There you have the crux of this meme. I have been reading all over the web, these interview questions and the intriguing answers. I have been afraid to ask to be interviewed because I fear that I would not be able to think of good questions. I know I would have no problem answering innumerable questions at length. . .

  12. Right, tis done. There was supposed to be pinging back here, but apparently not.

  13. Did we ping? No we did not. Hah. Anyway, also done.

    *Goes off to read Sol’s answers*

  14. Pingback: On being interviewed. « Verbosity

  15. I have gotten very brave. Please interview me. If my email does not come up on your comments page, let me know and I’ll give it to you.

  16. Ah sod it, what the Hell. If you’re still looking for people to poke at Aphra, I’ll stand still for long enough, just this once.

  17. I’d be delighted hmh and Kerr. I’m away this weekend, and I’m taking Mary at her word that she’s happy to wait a few days for her questions, but I fully intend to do them for all of you next week.

    See this lovely paving stone? Let me add it to this nice downward path here.


  18. Pingback: Questions are asked and answered « The Singing Librarian Talks (or Writes…)

  19. Potentilla, healingmagichands, kerr and Mary, questions are now wending their way across the internet towards you.

    I’ve enjoyed thinking about what to ask, and I’ve indulged my curiosity shamelessly, so I am really looking forward to the answers.


  20. I have answered your questions, Aphra. I hope you enjoy reading the answers as much as I did figuring out how to answer them. Thank you so much for helping me play the interview meme. I hope when and if someone asks me to be interviewed I can think up questions as good as those you asked me!

  21. Hey Aphra, I’d love to have a go at this but not enough to go to the trouble of starting a blog – any chance you could do me in the Other Place or is it a blog-only kind of thing?

  22. Fascinating answers hmh – I do enjoy doing this because it gives me a licence to be nosy!

    Oh, cool Kerr. 🙂 Have we seduced you into the blogosphere? I knew your answers were going to be interesting, but I didn’t know how interesting.

    Kelli, I’ll certainly write you some questions. You could answer them here in thread if you like or in the other place. It’s a meme. It can mutate!


  23. Done! (Finally).

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