I had a fun moment this week when someone I know a little but not a lot told me they’d been reading my blog (always the highpoint of the day), but he found it a little strange bringing it up with me as we don’t know each other much. I realised that at the moment ‘I’ve been reading your blog’ is shorthand for ‘All I know about you is that you’ve been feeling depressed, which is one very personal thing which I don’t feel entirely comfortable talking to you about.’ This made me think I should do a post that’s full of little factoids about me which aren’t in any way awkward to mention in the middle of a social situation. Plus, after seeing a facebook post which did the rounds of ‘ten little-known facts about me,’ it’s a fun post to think up and fun to read too (hopefully).
I currently refuse to own a black coat. This is because of four years commuting on the Northern Line and being faced by a sea of black fabric every morning. I don’t know when people stopped wearing colour, but I get tired whenever I take the tube and the brightest colour is dark denim. This does, however, make it awkward when I have to go to a funeral and my coat colour choices are bright blue, red, or nearly fluorescent pink.
My Dad looks like a cross between Hugh Laurie and Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins. He’s extremely clever, completes Times cryptic crosswords with ease and is much better with numbers than I am. From him I have inherited my sense of humour, my introverted side, and a crooked front tooth.
My Mum is remarkably clever, completes Times cryptic crosswords with ease and remembers more from her degree some forty years ago than I do from the one I did six years ago. From her I have inherited a nervous stomach when travelling, a good sense of colour (I picked out a thread to match fabric I hadn’t seen for six months and it was spot on), and a passionate love of reading.
My eldest brother is an excellent cook, an adorable-to-watch father and dreadful at buying people presents on time. He punched me in the face when we were playing ‘fake rugby’ as children (with my Mum shouting ’YOU DON’T PLAY BALL IN HERE’ which is the soundtrack to my childhood) but I was only grateful because he knocked out a tooth that had been almost falling out but not quite for some weeks.
My elder but not eldest brother reminds me (personality-wise, not looks-wise) of a combination of Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder and Thom Yorke, Radiohead frontman. We are both given to the same unnecessary outbursts of rage which frighten those around us but aren’t as serious as they sound. These outbursts are particularly common when driving or walking behind people going very slowly for no obvious reason.
My last baby tooth fell out when I was 18. I am probably one of very few people who was waiting for a visit from the tooth fairy while living in a halls of residence.
My top three Desert Island Discs would be: 1) Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead. I think it’s a perfect song. 2) When I Get Low, I Get High by Gordon Webster. Since I started blues dancing I think I’ve listened to it an average of at least once a day. 3) St James’ Infirmary by Man Overboard Quintet. I’ve heard a lot of versions of this song but this is my favourite. 2) and 3) are favourites partly because of their beautiful clarinet playing.
My favourite chocolate as a child was Smarties. I’m still sad that they changed the tubes to those ridiculous hexagonal affairs. One of the great joys in life was popping the plastic lids out of Smarties tubes.
I can move both my eyebrows up and down independently of each other, and both ears backwards and forwards. I remember discovering the ear thing in a physics class in high school.
I have slight pyromaniac tendencies. I once set fire to a plastic pen in a bar.
So there you are: ten entirely useless and impersonal pieces of information you can use if you ever see me and want to talk about the blog, but don’t want to say: ‘Hi, how’s the depression?’ Although if you want to talk about that, I probably won’t mind. As long as you don’t open with: ‘I think depression is an invention of pharmaceutical companies and doesn’t really exist.’ Then I might not be too happy. But feel free to come up and say: ‘I didn’t understand the ear and eyebrow thing – kindly demonstrate’ or ‘Now you come to mention it, you’re the absolute spitting image of Dick van Dyke’ (although I might not be too happy with that last one). By the way, I don’t know why there are so many references to teeth in this list. It’s just a coincidence.