Interviews again

As previously seen most recently here and here, and in general here. I still owe some of you questions; will try and get to them in the course of the day.

From :

1. If you had been responsible for the revival of Doctor Who instead of RTD, what would you have done differently?

Let’s be absolutely clear and honest – I would not have done it as well as Russell T Davies. I don’t have that sort of creative mind, I’m not that sort of visionary.

There are a few things, however, that I would have done differently. More writers, I think, for extra variety. More off-Earth adventures. More multi-part stories. (In other words, more like the Who I remember.) But these are minor quibbles.

2. As you probably know, I don’t plan on ever having children. As a parent, what would you say to make me change my mind? Or, if you wouldn’t, why not?

Well, I wouldn’t put it in terms of making you change your mind; whether and when and how to have children is one of those personal decisions that is right up there with whether and when and how to have sex (er, hang on, now that I come to think of it, there may be a connection there).

I would say two things in favour of having children and what it has done for me, even with all the extra excitement we have had. First off, the general: there is really no greater joy than sharing your life with that of a tiny person, watching and helping them grow and develop, seeing your own life and your own personality quirks reflected back at you. I love my wife very much, but I have learnt much more from my children.

Second, the specific, which I suspect may apply to you as well as to me (though please understand “you” in the rest of this paragraph as meaning “anyone” rather than in particular). I used to be a very work-focussed person, judging myself largely by the feedback I was getting, or felt I wasn’t getting, in my professional career. This is basically an unhealthy state of mind. Your colleagues do not love you; they have to be paid to be in the same environment as you. They are fundamentally not a good source from which to draw your self-validation, and your partner if you have one may not be able to fully compensate, as he or she may have problems of their own, or at worst may reinforce whatever messages you are getting at work because he or she, like your colleagues, fundamentally buys into the adult world. Children force a fundamental re-orientation of your priorities, and I think that as a result of having them, I take work (and other things) less unhealthily seriously, and therefore am a happier persona and incidentally a better worker.

3. Do you actively enjoy travelling as much as you do, or is it a trade-off for what sounds like an extremely interesting job?

Oh gosh, yes, on the whole. Of course, you might not pick this up from livejournal; if you are stuck at an airport because the airlines are buggering around, it’s easy to reach for the phone or blackberry and do a quick post asking for sympathy (because, as has put it “reassuring the speaker that she’s right” is the basic emotional transaction on LiveJournal). But it doesn’t reflect the totality of my travel experience, which I normally very much enjoy. I do like the variety of different places I see, and the different sets of people I meet. My wife is not such a keen traveller, so it means I can scratch the travel itch without unduly interfering with her peace of mind. I just hope to cover a few more countries outside Europe soon.

4. How did you find your way to Livejournal?

I had renewed contact somehow ages ago with , who I had known at Cambridge, and was fascinated by the style of his writing (and also that of his friends list). But to be honest I didn’t see how my own life, at least the bits I was willing to write about in public, could become decent bloggin material.

I did try starting a blogspot blog, twice, but found that I didn’t really have the impetus to keep in going on either occasion, and I was also troubled by the anonymity vs real life identity issues (this at a time when I was not as prominent a public figure in certain countries as I am now).

Then in April 2003 , who had been my gateway into broader UK and Irish fandom about a year before, started his livejournal, and I decided I would try it for myself the following month. (I also imported all the previous entries from the defunct blogspot blogs, which is why there are several dozen entries in the archives from before the first “real” entry.) Then the other big decision I made was about six months later, to start logging every book I read. That generates a lot of content that other people are willing to comment on, and my increasing socialisation with sf fandom has also brought many friends – both in the lj sense and in the real sense.

5. I am hugely impressed by the number of books you read. Do you have any other hobbies or leisure activities, or do you just read all the time?

I just read all the time! Though I have been getting into the Doctor Who audio plays recently, particularly during my decreasingly frequent expeditions to the gym.

From :

1. Do you feel that your work has a value globally, or do you sometimes feel that it is merely bureaucracy?

It’s funny, isn’t it, how “bureaucracy” is automatically a pejorative term? The answer is definitely the former. We are a small organisation (less than ten full-time staff) so we are not bureaucratic at all, in size or in style. I don’t like the drudge of administrative paperwork, but it would be a mistake to call that bureaucracy; it’s a part of the job.

2. What is your greatest desire?

To have more time to spend with my family and read, while at the same time keep my present pretty reasonable income level!

3. What is your greatest fear?

I am very paranoid about false accusations which I can’t defend against; see occasional posts here about wingnuts, or indeed the automatic way in which I leapt to ‘s defence yesterday. Thankfully it’s never happened to me about something serious.

4. If you had a choice to kill 10 people so a thousand could live, would you?

I don’t know.

5. What if amongst those ten were your own family?

Depends on who in my family!!!

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