Aaron Heath was born in Nottinghamshire in 1978 into a mining family. Aaron majored in English Literature at Sunderland University, and since graduation has worked in a variety of roles in the food industry, including Production Management, and more recently, finance. Having lived and worked in Tring (Hertfordshire) for a couple of years, Aaron returned to the Midlands four years ago. He is currently employed as a Project Accountant for a large food company.
Aaron lives with his fiancé Olga, and their son Danilo in Newark, Notts. They are expecting their second child in June.
Formerly a Labour Party member, leaving over his opposition to the Iraq War, Aaron writes the Labour-leaning (but decidedly critical) tygerland.net blog, as well as struggling with his first novel.
What made you decide to start blogging?
I have always been interested in politics, and like I assume, so many other bloggers, there was rarely anyone I knew who cared at all about politics. I would read the newspapers, become suitably outraged, and have nowhere to vent my spleen. Then one day while surfing the net I came across some politics forums. I spent around 6-months arguing in these forums before I decided that, rather than give my time to someone else’s site, I could set up a blog and rant on my own site – hence tygerland.net, which is now in its third manifestation.
What is your best blogging experience?
Like many other bloggers I would say that my best experience has been making friends with other bloggers, both on the left and right. However I can see that the UK blogosphere is maturing, and rather than the previous cross-party camaraderie, a sort of pioneer spirit which has existed until now, we are seeing the medium bifurcate between left and right. Bloggers on each side of the political spectrum are becoming more resourceful and aggressive. This in a way is healthy, as our political impact should increase. But some friendships may be strained.
And your worst?
From a personal point of view, I don’t think I have had a terrible experience yet. Blogging in obscurity was no fun, but it wasn’t torture. I must admit I was rather disgusted by the treatment of Bob Piper back in December, but he’s a wily chap and he’s stronger for the experience. I think a lot of left-leaning bloggers learned something during that incident.
What do you regard as your best blog entry?
I would say my Multiculturalism: the failed experiment and An American Question posts were the best, both were controversial (when produced on a previous version of my blog), and I have been consequently approached to write on both subjects. A good friend once said tPod was my best entry.
Wow: how to lose friends. Bloggerheads and Chicken Yogurt are the best on the left, and The Devils Kitchen is the best on the right. I have recently got very into Ministry of Truth too. Andrew Sullivan is my favourite journo-blog.
Other not-strictly-political ones would be TheYellowDuckPond, The Word Of Zhisou, Dave Hill’s Temperama, Skuds, Bread and Circuses and The Poor Mouth. There are literally loads I haven’t mentioned that I read every day or so…
What inspired you to get involved in politics?
The Iraq War, which was an astonishing, reckless waste of resources, and phenomenally counterproductive in the struggle against radicalised, fascist Islamists.
Blogging or accountancy?
Blogging. I have always loved writing and been interested in current affairs. I never followed my ambition to become a journalist and sort of fell into accountancy by default; but that’s not to say it’s not a good career, because finance is a great career. I feel I have a bug under my skin that drives me to write, but until I am able to earn my keep as a scribe, I guess I’ll not be hanging up my calculator.
Why Barack Obama?
He’s the real deal. A brilliant orator on the stump, and like Kennedy, is able to inspire people and energise them politically. His turn at the Democrat convention back in ’04 was brilliant, but his rallies recently have been even better. The American press have been gushing, and his videos of his speeches have been doing great business on YouTube. But I do fear he has risen too fast, too early. The right are gunning for him and so are Hillary’s team.
But he’s exactly what post-Bush America is desperate for. Born in Hawaii to a white mother and a black Kenyan father. He grew up in Muslim Jakarta (attending Muslim schools as well as Catholic ones), and went on to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review (quite an honour). He is everything America needs to be if it is to face up to the difficult choices it will be posed in the coming years. Bush has accelerated America’s decline, and someone needs to steady the ship, and inspire America to rise again. I believe Obama is the man to lead America into the future.
Is there anywhere abroad, which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?
As you have probably guessed, I’m very interested in the US (I minored in American Studies at Uni). So I’d love to travel from sea to shining sea and write a travel log about American culture and politics. Particular places of interest would be NYC, Washington, New England, Kansas, Austin, the Midwest, and San Francisco.
I’d also like to visit Tokyo (could we also arrange for Scarlet Johansson to be in the hotel at the same time? I have a fantasy that really needs to be indulged).
Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?
Having travelled through Moscow a few times, only ever stopping for a few hours on our way to Siberia, I’d love to spend a few days getting to know the city.
Who, excluding the present leader and Prime Minister, do you regard as the best British Prime Minister, and if different, the best Labour leader?
I’m 28 so I have only known Blair and the Tories. Obviously Clem Atlee oversaw Labour’s greatest achievements, but for all his evident faults, you can’t really choose anyone but Churchill, can you?
Which person has been your greatest inspiration?
Well my grandfather is a playwright and a socialist, so my literary and political instincts come from him. As a writer though, I would have to say the American writer and journalist, P.J. O’Rourke, has inspired me most. Yeah I know he’s a Republican, but his acid pen is just as often turned on the right, as it is the left. He approaches his subject with the correct attitude: contempt and scepticism.
Favourite Bond movie?
Tentatively I’d say Goldeneye, but I very much enjoyed Casino Royale. I suspect the next Daniel Craig movie will be a stonker…
Favourite Doctor Who?
I’m sorry, I know I’m going to be ostracised by the blogging community, but I’m not remotely interested in the tribulations of the good Doctor.
Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?
Vanilla milkshake. Mint ice cream.
Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?
Too many to choose from I’m afraid. I have seen many of my favourite bands (The Stone Roses, REM, The Verve, and The Smashing Pumpkins) live, so it would have to be someone like Radiohead on the OK Computer tour or The Killers (can’t get tickets!). Oh, and Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen (in the sixties and eighties respectively).
You mean I have to pick one? Errr. Bruce Springsteen with the E Street Band.
In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?
Barsby sounds intriguing, but Mrs. tyger has never been to Oxford, so we’d be inclined to go there.
Favourite national newspaper?
The Guardian. But it infuriates me with alarming regularity (but isn’t that just an example of a healthy reader/newspaper relationship?).
What would you say your hobbies were?
I have the wretched spine of a retired watchmaker, chiefly because of too many mountain biking accidents. When I am fit, I cycle. Other than that it would be reading, pottering in bookshops, arguing about politics and music. Oh and procrastinating (which is why this interview is late).
And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books
(Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?
Songs: Loaded by Primal Scream. Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack.
Books: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.