Saturday, 9 June 2012

35 Questions

Following on from having seen other friends conducting self interviews on  their blogs, I have decided to carry out a similar exercise here, albeit in a slightly abbreviated form.  Despite the fact that I enjoy discovering information, facts, etc - sometimes it is equally fascinating, in an occasional flourish of egocentricity, to engage in some introspection and answer some questions about oneself, whether posed by others or not.  One question has provoked me to respond in discuss an aspect of myself in more depth so that may well be the next topic or the one following on here.  Anyway here we go:-

June 2012

What three adjectives describe yourself?  Contemplative, Paradoxical, Inquisitive. (Some might interchange the word "Inquisitive" with "Eccentric" but that's not for me to say).
What is your greatest achievement?  In some ways, still to come.  For the moment, or if that moment doesn't arrive, I hope it's from being thought of as being a true, loyal and good friend.  I always feel the best way to tell a friend is one who appreciates you, is delighted to see you and spend time in your company discussing everything.  Also, for more intimate friends, those who's influence and interests rub off on you, and a little part of their soul becomes part of yours, being able to share and understand passions together.  I have several small achievements I am proud of, such as being interviewed by The Guardian about a documentary I made, but I can't think of a "greatest" at present.
What’s your favourite smell?  Incense burning in charcoal, dry vetiver, oak or yew smoke, spikenard, nutmeg, naptha, pine cones, and freshly ground coffee. All mixed together and inhaled slowly and leisurely as each note penetrates the nostrils.  I also like the smell of Dove soap on warm flesh (mine or someone else) or if I'm feeling opulent Bien-être by U - Douche gommant à la cannelle et au sucre, on me, after a long day.  By contrast I loathe the smell of sweet (and generally cheap) perfumes and aftershaves; as well as mimosa, haddock being cooked, and household bleach.
What is your favourite taste?  A salad of rocket leaves, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and fried haloumi cheese.  Or assorted, roasted, salted nuts.  Washed down with a glass of Pineau des Charentes or fresh zesty orange juice.

What’s your favourite piece of music? Almost impossible to answer.  I, myself, am not musical as I can't sing nor play an instrument (weak tendons in my fingers), but I love and appreciate music, and am unable to imagine being without it.  So, in response, possibly Spem in alium by Thomas Tallis.  Or Aleluya. Non vos relinquam orphanos by Léonin.

  What would you like everyone to read to read? Why?  At risk of sounding contrived, I agree with the others upon whose blogs I was inspired to carry out this (self) questionnaire; a world where everyone could read rather than dictate what specifically they should read.
What website would you everyone to visit? Why?  A similar response to the one above, my knowledge of the Interweb is rather restricted and limited, so if I had to choose I would say Google, it has the potential to be the font of all knowledge.
What is your favourite sound?  Early morning birdsong; Tibetan horn; The call to prayer reverberating around the valleys in Cappadocia.
If you were an animal, what would you be?  A hedgehog with savvy who knows how to cross roads.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Read; Devise ideas and plans for various creative projects; Map adventure games from the 80's; Troll around bookshops; Meander aimlessly with seeming purpose and direction.
What do you like most/least about your job?  What I enjoy the most is the writing and researching, uncovering facts or data and presenting it in reports or briefings.  This applies to my work in policy as much as to my work as a writer.  I also enjoy the fact that hopefully the work I am undertaking is somehow making a difference and improving people's lives in some way or another.  I dislike the abyss of creativity and imagination I find at times in my work, and people not understanding my strengths, abilities as well as mundane approach by so many.  Lack of appreciation also can be damaging to the soul. 
What would Heaven be like if you were in charge?  To the east, like the valleys of Cappadocia, with fairy chimneys and stylite hermitages, and filled with troglodyte churches to be discovered.  To the south, like Xanadu complete with chasms with caves of ice as in Coleridge's Kubla Khan, to the west flowing plains of glorious flowing green sunkissed countryside, filled with hills, trees and abandoned ruins.  In the centre, a "pleasure dome", with a great library in the centre, much like that of Alexandria or mirroring something out of Borges' Library of Babel,  filled with books to grow and expand upon one's knowledge, above a museum filled with wondrous ornaments and paintings.  Surrounding this complex, comfortable bed chambers for sleeping, at peace, with feather filled duvets, and fluffed up pillows.  Inhabiting this pleasure dome would be dear friends as well as intelligent, charming, attractive and open minded, adventurous souls; happy to discuss, talk, and amuse.  All in a peaceful, tranquil, and stress free, environment.  In short, bliss.  
Borges' Library of Babel, as envisioned by Erik Desmazieres.
When and where are you happiest? In summertime, bright skies, sunshine, and in the countryside, away from city fumes and stress with a couple of books, some cold fresh juice, a packed salad for lunch with the opportunity to walk, explore, and relax under a tree.  In the past, I remember being happy standing naked at around midnight, under the star splashed sky, in a field a few kilometres outside Rennes-les-Bains, overlooking Rennes-le-Château, in 1998.  I doubt I could do that now thanks to Dan Brown and his pulp fiction best seller.  Also exploring the caves and churches in Cappadocia where it seemed no one else had been for many years.
Something you are never without.  One of my book/man bags with at least two books in it, together with my iPod, normally updated with music I feel will fit the mood of what I am reading and blot the world out, and which I (generally) never get around to listening to.  Also my silver necklace around my neck (quelle surprise!) and a Berber silver bracelet on my wrist.
 One of my (two) trusted book bags that accompanies me everywhere.
What is your most appealing habit?  Approachable, understanding, empathetic and incorporating those attributes into being gentle and well mannered.
And your least appealing habit?  Being unreliable at times, which has lead to my endeavoring to do my best, rather than make rash promises I fear I might break.  Or projecting external insecurity when inwardly confident.  Apparent and more often than not, evident exasperation at the stupidity of others. 
What trait do you most dislike in others?  Ignorance and stupidity, and the acceptance that it is somehow cool and acceptable to be that way.  Be that in speech, outlook on life or just a lack of general awareness and intellect.  The appearance and outlook of the modern youth who wear "hoodies" inside buses or hang around streets, looking miserable and threatening.  Also aggression, violence, and disregard for the beauty of nature, its plants, wildlife and natural forms.
What is your most treasured possession?  My books.  Closely followed by, if it had to be just one thing, either my Khodynka Cup of Sorrows, not rare but imbued with history and sentiment, or my Roman lamp, dating from the 2nd century AD.  On a purely sentimental side, it has to be Little Fro, for those who know me well, will know who and what he is.
A selection of "Cups of Sorrows" - I have just the one.
If you could have a supernatural power, what would it be? To be able to read other people's thoughts and minds.
What words or phrases do you overuse? "I don't know but..." and then give an opinion or the correct answer.  I do tend to call most people I am close to "Darling", "Dear", "Sweetheart" or "My love", and therefore punctuate the end of most sentences with one or another of those terms of endearment.  I was told I used to say "Wouldn't you say?" (or words of that ilk) at the end of most sentences.  My excuse was that at the time I spoke and thought a lot in French (I still do) and was translating the expressions "n'est-ce-pas?" and "non?" into English.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?  A prize winning ticket for the Euro-Millions, or a time machine.
How would you like to be remembered?  I have (at least) two personas in me.  There is "Kris" and there is "Kit".  For the most part, my true (or oldest) friends know me as "Kris" (but by no means all) and the majority of work colleagues and business (but by no means all, again) contacts know me as "Kit".  Even now,  some people choose to know/remember me for the work I did some ten years and more ago when I created extras for DVDs and interviewed actors, directors and technicians.  Yes, it is wonderful to be remembered thus, however, people assume as a result that I should fit into some sort of cliché associated with those films.  That I should wear black t-shirts embellished with movie poster art on it, or SLAYER, or GOBLIN, or the like on it; or that I have strange tattoos and/or body piercings; or that I like gore and horror movies (admittedly I like thrillers, trashy or intelligent), and that I should listen to death/heavy metal.  Nothing could be further from the truth and people end up disappointed and disillusioned as a result of who I really am.  My look was never anywhere near the above, and have mostly moved on from cinema, and readjusted to different pursuits since then.  Others have seen different sides, such as work colleagues, but I just wish people would see and have a more balanced view of what makes me, well, me.  All different facets, not a compartmentalised self.   On a positive note I would like to be remembered as being kindly, genuine, knowledgeable, a good sincere and true friend, regardless of whether you know me as Kit or Kris, and under whichever persona; whether past, present or future.  In short: "a good natured, slightly enigmatic soul with a brain, a heart and a naughty side."
What music do you enjoy playing/listening to most?  I enjoy listening to choral music and chant.  But equally so, I do listen to Ella Fitzgerald, troubadour songs, Ravi Shankar, the dreaded genre of music branded "New Age", and assorted pop which include Bat for Lashes, Etienne Daho, Tori Amos, Annie Lennox, Dead Can Dance, Françoise Hardy, Florence and the Machine, Espers, and Rufus Wainwright.
What did you dream of being when you were younger? An Egyptologist/archaeologist, a photographer (much like Thomas the photographer in Blow Up), and yes, an alchemist.
David Hemmings, the photographer in "Blow Up", an influence and inspiration.
What were you like at school?  Stressed and mostly lonely, attributes which have segued into my adult life.  I made some ill informed decisions as to who I thought my friends were, and ultimately weren't, and that has impacted on my later ability to trust people and make friends in later life, as I still don't always trust my own judgment.  I was seen as being different, shy, and reasonably bright - again, perhaps I still am.  I certainly lacked inner (and outer) confidence, but thankfully that has mostly dissipated as I have increased in years and wisdom.  I certainly never really "fitted in", suffered from depression (which wasn't fully understood then), and was mostly glad when those years were finally over.
How do you cheer yourself up when you are feeling down? Read mediaeval and Renaissance poetry whilst listening to music, practice Yoga and Meditation, or to call friends, in certain cases to catch up with people I haven't spoken to in ages such as Catriona, Dagmar, Carlo, Sébastien.  It's always wonderful to so catch up no matter how much tempus has fugited.
Who has been the best teacher you have ever had?  Mme. Greenhalgh, a delightful petite Niçoise, who made me love the French language; she was inspiring, witty, supportive, friendly and encouraging, but 'old school' and not trying to 'hip' and 'cool' to be liked; everything a good teacher should be.  I hope she is still with us, as she would be in her seventies by now.  I think of her fondly even now.
Something that few people know about youHmmmm... whilst retaining discretion... I read very slowly (despite having an endless passion for books).  I suffer from terrible agoraphobia, especially when walking across bridges - over roads or rivers. I am hopeless with remembering numbers, although if they are dates, I am and can.
Akhenaten, Nefertiti,and the Aten: A time of so unsolved many enigmas
If you could go back in time, where would you go and why?  Fourteenth century BC Armana, to solve the co-regency question of Amenophis III-Akhenaten, to see what Akhenaten actually looked like and to gaze upon the beauty of Nefertiti, to discover the true identities of Smenkhkare and Ankhkheprure-Neferneferuaten, to discover the parentage of Tutankhamun, and to discover who is buried in KV55 and where all the other Armanan royals are buried.   Or to be in Alexandria in the first century when Simon Magus was there and to hear his thoughts and ideas, as well as to visit the wonderful library, and just to move in Gnostic circles, hearing the differing philosophies in circulation at the time.  Or simply to be a Renaissance prince, cherishing the ideals set out by Machiavelli, enjoying the arts, architecture, music and culture surrounding me, understanding allegory, enjoying the works of Ramon Llull, Dante, etc, etc.
What is your best learning memory from school?  I thoroughly enjoyed learning Latin, after the first term, when the Latin master finally chilled out (maybe after seeing the approach the student teacher had, and the positive reception it was greeted with by the boys).  The class had just seven of us.  But it was wonderful learning how to decline verbs, conjugate nouns, in such a rich and textured language, and at such an early age.
Are you a tidy desk or a messy desk and why?  I would say "Organised chaos", I am not O.C.D. by any stretch of the imagination, but I cannot abide things being messy and untidy either.  My desk is never clear; I have various objects on it, a pile or two of books, as well as papers, computer, lots of pens, pencils, and a pack or two of salt liquorice on it.  Plus normally a cafetiére and a coffee mug on it.
What’s your favourite thing to do when it rains?  If I am outside, to run under a big oak tree or the like and sit and watch.  If I am inside, I tend to become very introspective, and sit and watch the rain streak down the windows.  I can't abide people who stand aimlessly under shop awnings; waiting, waiting, waiting for it to pass, it seems like such a waste of time.  
A poem you know by heart  The Listeners by Walter de la Mare.   
What would you like to learn to do next?  Read and understand Anglo-Saxon English, or drive comfortably and competently.
What question would have liked me to ask you? After all these questions, are we any closer to knowing the real you?
What would have been your answer?  I don't know, get to know me and find out!

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