Perhaps it’s both banal and vain to pretend I could answer anything worth reading to the Proust Questionnaire, but I suppose it makes a change from political mockery and foul language.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I’m not sure, I’ll let you know.
What is your greatest fear?
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I feel a great attachment to Orwell’s life, without necessarily having anything in common with him.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I utterly loathe people who mince their words.
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is your favorite journey?
London to Oxford; despite having to go through the two worst towns in Britain, it’s worth it.
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My lower teeth; I ought to get them whitened then I’d be happier.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Shit’. ‘Fuck’. ‘Tories’ as an insult.
What is your greatest regret?
When my best friend at the time died of cancer, I let my mum talk me out of going to the funeral. I wish I’d gone, more than anything.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
The fact that it continues.
When and where were you happiest?
December 16th 2011, sat on my stairs when I got my Oxford offer. (Is that sad?)
Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to speak Russian. And indeed to learn languages.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting an offer from Oxford.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
I sincerely hope not to come back after death.
What is your most treasured possession?
I ought to avoid loving material objects, but my Acne leather jacket has a place in my heart.
What is your favorite occupation?
Reading. Or possibly arguing, in speech or writing.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’m quite argumentative.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Quick-wittedness. Either that or a high sex drive?
What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty is always good.
Who are your favorite writers?
George Orwell, Percy Shelley, James Joyce, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
I think there’s something to be said for Marlow in Heart of Darkness.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Clement Attlee, Nye Bevan, George Orwell (he’s come up too often now), Leon Trotsky.
How would you like to die?
Loved. By at least one person.
What is your motto?
Dum Spiro Spero (While I Breathe I Hope)