Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XIV: Paulie

(Never Trust a Hippy)

Paulie lives in London, and his blog is Never Trust a Hippy , which deals with his love of books, music, football, and everything.

What made you decide to start blogging?

I thought that I had a collection of views that lots of other people quietly shared, and I hoped a blog would help locate those people. And I had lots of associated but unstructured arguments that I wanted to assemble into something coherent. After 18 months, it turns out that the silent majority that I thought existed is nowhere to be found.

I have, however, managed to structure the arguments into a more coherent form. And in the meantime, I’ve been gradually convinced to join a group of people who have also quietly shared a different set of views for years. I was very glad to have been tangentially involved in the launch of the Euston Manifesto.

What is your best blogging experience?

I’ve had lots of them, but recently, someone who I haven’t seen for a very long time contacted me – having stumbled across the blog by accident and worked out who I was. It was lovely to hear from this person, and the message was very touching and flattering.

And your worst?

Nothing particularly bad. I got absolutely savaged in someone’s comments box for putting an argument that I could no longer substantiate. As it happens, I reckon that if I had access to the relevant research data, that my point would still largely stand up. But I can’t find the data now, and my tormentor was the sort of bloke who liked to gloat over any retreat.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

I dashed this off in about five minutes without thinking much about it – but it got a few complements:

Favourite blogs?

Slugger O’Toole shows what blogging can do. It’s a grown-up website that promotes policy discussion. In Northern Ireland , there are political factions that long ago abandoned reason in favour of posturing. In Slugger’s comment boxes, they actually debate.

Stumbling and Mumbling is full of ideas that I’d never really come across before – but the blog is funny, interesting and often persuasive. Pootergeek makes his points with charm, unlike The General Theory of Rubbish. Both are as effective though. Comrade Rubbish is gradually dragging me back into the ‘very left wing’ stable. It turns out that it’s not completely full of berks after all. Shuggy and Fisking Central are also well worth checking regularly.

What inspired the title of your blog?

I think that it was a Johnny Rotten quote that was directed at Richard Branson. Hippy is a good insult to throw at the flabbier ‘progressives’. Given the refusal to defend the basics of liberalism, the retreat from secularism, the rise of quackery and bad science, and the various brands of half-arsed relativism that appear to be everywhere, it seemed a good time to revive an old punky truism. So many really shit things started happening around 1967.

Do you have a favourite city other than London ?

Cambridge . I used to love Dublin , but it’s less fun these days. It seems to have had the corners knocked off it. Maybe it’s the affluence? Good for the Jackeens, of course, but less picturesque. As a Rebus-addict, I quite fancy Edinburgh , but I’ve only been a couple of times and it was raining ( Edinburgh ’s natural state, I’m told).

What inspired you to join the Euston Manifesto?

The intellectual cowardice and the flabby negativist groupthink of the simpleton left. No other grouping on the left appears to be able to say what it is in favour of.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

Because I spent my teens trying to be in Ireland as much as possible, I didn’t even leave the British Isles until I was 22, and then, I’ve only been to the usual tourist destinations. The only variety has come with business trips all over Scandanavia and the rest of Europe selling a co-op project, and I’ve only crossed the Atlantic once for a week working in the Caribbean (a dirty job, but someone had to do it). I’m badly under-travelled and I’m slightly embarrassed about it. I hate the fact that I never learned a second language. I regularly regret my cultural timidity and I sometimes dishonestly dress it up as chipiness. So there are loads of places I’d like to visit.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

Dominica . I was sent there by The London Labour Party to help them to prepare for the elections in late 1999. The Dominica Labour Party won the election, but the resulting PM (Roosevelt ‘Rosie’ Douglas ) died of a heart attack soon afterwards. I wanted to be able to visit my friend, the PM in the Caribbean but it will never be now. But Dominica was great.
I keep bumping into Dominicans these days and it’s always great to do so. If there is an unpleasant Dominican, I’ve yet to meet them.

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

James Connolly.

Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?

The more I re-read him the more I realise that I was hardwired by Orwell. He convinced me of more things than I realised. I’ve so many views that I thought I’d arrived at intuitively. It was Eric Blair all along.

Favourite Bond movie?

James Bond is a c**t.

Favorite Doctor Who?

My kids like Dr Who so the last two are exempt from a similar judgement to the Bond assessment.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Vanilla. Or chocolate. Or maybe mint.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

I’ve seen most of the bands that I want to. With few exceptions, I think that wanting to go and see old bands is a bit sad. I watched fat bald blokes pogoing on the TV to Paul Weller singing ‘That’s Entertainment’ the other night and I felt embarrassed for my whole generation.

But if I had a time machine, the excitement of the early Pogues gigs would be hard to match. Or maybe Ian Dury and the Blockheads or Misty In Roots again? I went to Castlebar Festival in the west of Ireland in the early 1980s for two years running, and both times, the line-ups were stellar. I’d love to revisit those gigs as well.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford , Cambridge , or Barsby, Leics..?

Cambridge . I really like Cambridge .

Favourite national newspaper?

I detest all national newspapers apart from the FT. Annoyingly, the FT doesn’t have enough variety to justify the purchase most days.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Playing the guitar, the tin whistle and sometimes the Tenor Banjo. I can sing a bit and I like messing around with sequencers, demoing songs I’ve written. I’m a music bore.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

For today only, my three favourite songs are probably….

Aisling (Shane MacGowan and The Popes)
Rough and Rugged (Shinehead)
Ain’t Nothing Going On But the Rent (Gwen Guthrie)

None were recorded in the last ten years. But I’m not as retro as that would suggest.

Three favourite books (again, this is a snap poll) are probably….

The Luck of Ginger Coffey (Brian Moore)
Among Women (John McGahern)
Whichever Rebus novel I’m reading at the moment (I constantly re-read middleweight novels). I think that ‘Black and Blue’ was the last one?


Praguetory said...

I think you need to put up a picture of the blogger to get any comments. We're all just big kids, aren't we?

Paul Burgin said...

The picture is totally up to the person being interviewed. Paulie did not provide one or suggest one, so hence no picture!