Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part XXXI: Rupa Huq

Rupa Huq is a senior lecturer in Sociology at Kingston University and occasionally does some DJ'ing in her spare time. She has also organised a major conference on New Labour in Power, has written for Tribune, New Statesman, Progress magazine and Red Pepper amongst others, as well as apprearing on various radio and tv programmes, inc the Today programme on Radio 4. In addition to her various talents, Rupa stood as the Labour parliamentary candidate in Chesham and Amersham in the 2005 general election, as well as standing for Labour in the 2004 European election in the North West. Her blog is Rupa Huq's home on the web

What made you decide to start blogging?

I started off writing lefty things in print journalism mostly for "Red Pepper" but have also done things in Tribune and New Statesman before but felt I was doing it in a void as not many people would bother corresponding back. Blogging is like a dialogue, more informal and has instant results. I began by contributing things to the Progress website blog last year but then felt it'd be more fun to have my own.

What is your best blogging experience

They said about Alan Johnson that he loved reporting the story but hated being it. It's always fun to be namedropped or linked or hat-tipped but I found it hilarious at the time of the Bethnal Green and Bow selection where I was one of the runners to find myself profiled by Luke Too
He (?) likened my eyebrows to those of Dennis Healey - not the first time
As far as blogging myself - possibly reporting from Labour party conference in Manchester last Autumn to Progress in London and the wider world.

And your worst?

HHHHmmmmmm. I suppose comments from weirdos are never great experiences. I don't pre-moderate mine either unlike some.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

It's hopefuly yet to come.
I really like this link pinched from Luke Too
They are cabinet-makers of distinction in Rottingdean

Favourite blogs?

Chris Paul, both Lukes, Will Parbury and then occassionally to see what the enemy is thinking Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes. Of yes and Mars Hill of course.

What's the most satisfying thing about being a sociology lecturer and how does it relate to your politics?

The freedom to write stuff, talk all day, kick around ideas and get paid for it. I teach courses that touch on conventional and non-conventional politics (the latter encompassing social movement theory, non-violent direct action and the like). I also have written stuff on politics including a chapter on the "Asain vote" and with my colleague Brian Brivati organised a conference last Autumn on 10 Years of New Labour where Clare Short made some erm... historic... comments.

I forgot about the children's programme Look and Read and only have vague memories of it. How did you get involved in that?

You might be too young! It was a BBC Schools thing from the seventies. I was asked to lookdown a telescope for it because my school in Ealing was proximate to the BBC in White City and they often filmed inserts there; I was also on "Junior That's Life" around the same time.

How did the Dj'ing come about?

I had a lot of records; it's the logical progression of making compilation tapes I guess. I began in hospital radio where any songs about death and dying were banned (including Sinatra's "My Way"). I was a big Smiths fan so not a great fit. I later graduated to squat parties in my mis-spent youth. Live is much more fun - like blogging, you see instant results.

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

I guess I'm the last person in England who's never been to the U S of A.

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

My first time on a plane was to Russia in its Gorbachev days on a school trip. It may be intersting to compare and contrast to now I suppose.

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

Jennie Lee

Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?

My parents; from a courageous generation of pioneers.

Favourite Bond movie?

I have to say I'm not a Bond person and only sat through one all the way through because I was in a cinema - it had Roger Moore and a yellow 2CV featured in the storyline. I was only little and can't remember much apart from a scene at the end where Thatcher (?) rings up to congratulate him but he is too busy getting his kit off to listen. Sorry.

Favorite Doctor Who?

Tom Baker

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Mint is often like toothpaste and whilst a good quality chocolate is unbeateable it does vary so I'd say vanilla for consistency/dependendableness.

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

XTC - a great group from the 70s/80s/90s and 00s who retired from live work in 1982 afterr the singer sufferred chronic stagefright in Paris

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

Cambridge for book-shopping and to re-haunt those old haunts.

Favourite national newspaper?

I know my way round the Guardian best but it's not perfect.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Snakes and ladders with Rafi.

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

Book - The Hungry Catterpillar by Eric Carle (I believe George Bush Jnr also chose this when asked)
Song - "Smartest Monkeys" by XTC, classic B-side from early 90s
That's just today though, it may change tommorow.