Then, last night, I watched a programme called Stephen Fry: Guilty in which this truly tweed-wearing, tea drinking book lover discussed his guilty pleasures. To my utter surprise, they included ABBA, swearing, Delia Smith, the music of Wagner, watching darts championships on TV, Countdown, Georgette Heyer novels and Farley's Rusks mashed with ice cold milk. Darts? Countdown? Wagner? These things simply didn't fit with the image I have of the man - and I've met him in a social context several times. Surely he watches cricket and crown green bowls and listens to Elgar or Vaughan Williams and drinks Pimms with his Blue Stilton Ploughman's lunch? I mean to say ... Farley's Rusks?
This is what I really look likeIt's curious how different we can all be from the image that others have of us. It's like wandering in a Hall of Mirrors where you catch occasional glimpses of yourself and they're strangely distorted or wildly at odds with reality. The truth is that I've never owned anything tweedy. I do have a lot of books, it's true. Thousands of them. And I do drink far too much tea. But my musical tastes are broad and eclectic taking in everything from J S Bach to the Sex Pistols, and including along the way such diverse acts as St Vincent, Bloc Party, Jim Moray, The Pogues, Bjork, Neil Sedaka, Bill Bruford, Karine Polwart, Burt Bacharach, Yes, Arcade Fire, Dave Brubeck, Echobelly, Arctic Monkeys and the aforementioned Curve. I read extensively (my current reads are usually shown at right on this blog) and the books can range from the deliciously sublime to the scandalously ridiculous. On the shelf behind me, Fran Beauman's The Pineapple rubs jackets with Harry Hill's Tim the Tiny Horse, while a biography of Dame Barbara Hepworth nuzzles into Tony Hawks' Around Ireland with a fridge.
My study is peppered with odd little art toys - monsters, comic icons, a set of Jamie Hewlett's Gorillaz vinyl figures and a whole village of James Jarvis's potato-headed In-Crowd. There are posters on the wall for Mike Mignola's Hellboy comics. There are easels boasting half-finished paintings and a drawing desk covered in mugs and glasses full of pens and pencils. My faithful Yamaha APX4A semi-acoustic guitar stands in a corner, begging for a good thrashing; I was in a succession of bands in my youth and I still play and write songs, while harbouring deep, never-to-be-fulfilled dreams of rock stardom. There's a cat on my desk as I type this rubbing against my arm for attention. I'm not particularly fond of cats. I see them as the welfare scroungers of the animal kingdom. But I do like dogs and there are two of them asleep in the lounge nearby.
I tend to watch TV shows that are informative or escapist - and not much in between - so I avidly watch series like Doctor Who, Batman (the original series), Dexter, Family Guy, Prison Break, 24, Mock the Week, Peep Show, The Mighty Boosh and Samurai Jack, while balancing that against QI, The Sculpture Diaries, and any documentary that feeds my interests in art and the sciences or is presented by the holy quadrinity of David Attenborough, Michael Palin, Robert Hughes or Adam Hart-Davis. I hate soap operas and I loathe reality TV shows. Consequently, my TV viewing is now down to about two hours per day maximum. Favourite films? Brazil, Animal House, This is Spinal Tap, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and anything featuring the Monty Python crew or Laurel and Hardy.
So that's me, in a nutshell. And it's now got me wondering ... what are you all like? A few of you I know as well as I know my own feet, but the rest of you are a complete mystery to me. You reveal only tiny glimpses of yourselves from behind your bloggernyms ... Willow, Me, Persephone, Punk in Writing, Princess G, Brit Gal Sarah ... curious that it seems to be the ladies rather than the chaps (although the mysterious Anonymous is still entirely androgynous - hey, that rhymes!). Even when the names are (presumably) real, Debby, Katie, Janet, Rob, Jon et al are curiously coy with surnames. I guess it avoids stalkers and assorted weirdos turning up at your houses to lick your windows. But it does make me realise that the images I've formed of you all are probably nothing like you in reality. You're all walking in that Hall of Mirrors with me.
Bloggernyms. I may have coined one there.