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  • Default breakfast: fried egg on toast
  • Number of British Prime Ministers’ penises seen: one
  • Earliest memory: at my Aunt Ruby’s house, Christmas, sometime in the late 60s. I’m playing with a toy. But this is almost certainly an invented memory because the image I have includes myself, and that can’t be right can it?
  • Heroes met: I once saw Mark E Smith in the Hoops in Notting Hill Gate. I was too intimidated to say hello. The pub no longer exists; it’s now a building society, I think.
  • Member of the British Wittgenstein Society.
  • Favourite whiskey: Wild Turkey
  • Furthest south I have ever been: Clearwater, Florida
  • Earliest memory: seeing Yellow Submarine at the cinema. If it was the original release then that would’ve been in 1968 when I was four. But it’s possible it was a re-release a few years later. Either way the movie scared me and I fell asleep.
  • Furthest north I have ever been: I’ve flown over the southern tip of Greenland, but if you’re talking about terra firma then I suppose that would be Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Musical likes inherited from my parents: Chris Barber (father), Frank Sinatra (mother)
  • Waning obsessions: TV, football, poker, rock n roll
  • Waxing obsessions: Wittgenstein, classical music
  • Unavoidable conclusion from the above: I’m getting old
  • Famous people I never met because I couldn’t be arsed to walk down a flight of stairs and what’s so great about shaking that bloke’s pudgy hand anyway: Bill Clinton
  • Furthest east I have ever been: the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
  • Meals I cook well: chicken curry with coconut, ginger, lime, chilli and garlic; lamb casserole; bacon and egg muffin
  • Most I ever lost at poker in a single session: $5,000
  • Musical likes inherited from my sister: The Beatles, early Pink Floyd (ie, up to and including Dark Side of the Moon)
  • Police cells I have spent the night in: Southall nick, West London
  • Favourite pub: The Old Fox, Felling, Gateshead. Mind you, I haven’t been there in over twenty years. God knows what it’s like now – probably some awful shit-hole with sticky carpets and a broken jukebox. Actually, I have a quiet fondness for shit pubs so I’d still enjoy it.
  • Furthest west I have ever been: Las Vegas, Nevada
  1. Mark E Smith isn’t the only hero you’ve met. What about that afternoon drinking with Jeffrey Bernard in the Coach and Horses?

    • He used to be a hero but once he revealed that he didn’t know who wrote Inspector Morse he was dead to me. And soon enough he was dead to everyone else as well.

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