Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Questionnaire - your answers

The interesting (well, to me anyway) thing about this idea is that, although it was only meant to be a silly exercise, a piece of fun and a blog filler, the daft questions actually provoke responses which can be as revealing as straight answers to serious questions. There’s also the thought that the questions themselves reveal more about me than I realized. The emphasis seems to be more on doing nasty things to people I dislike than to glorying in the wonders of friendship and lovable human beings. Maybe that’s why I have so few friends. Anyway, I’ve had four responses so far, from Michael Malone, C. N. Nevets, Janice Horton and Anneke Klein. They’re all entertaining, varied and, most importantly, fun, so with no commentary from me, here they are:

  1. If such a choice were possible and meaningful, would you prefer to live in a real or a virtual world? Why?
    I would prefer to live in Disney World. No bad news and everybody is cheery.
    (Nevets) Real. I'm already bad at telling the difference sometimes.
    I prefer to live in the real world and visit the virtual one.
    Anneke) At the moment, a virtual world can't exist without the real physical world. The machines used to get access to the virtual world are all part of the physical world. If a virtual world, separate from the real world, would actually exist, staying there would be a different experience. Then, living in a virtual world, such as Second Life, would be like living in another real world, only with different options. Difficult to imagine. But the benefits of transportation through teleportation would never make up for giving up the joy of smelling and tasting good food. If that would be the case, I'd rather stick with my old fashioned imperfect real world.
  2. You have permission to paint a celebrity in a colour of your choosing. That doesn’t mean you make a portrait, you actually get to cover them in paint. Tell us which celebrity, what colour, and why?
    Ooooo - drums fingers on bottom lip while thinking - the Rebekah Brooks wummin. and it wouldn't be paint, it would be tar with a pillow full of feathers. Why? I've always had a strong dislike of the gutter press and what they stand for and she was right at the centre of it all.
    (Nevets) Jennifer Garner in red, because it's the first thing that came to mind.  I'm a little disturbed that I didn't even have to think about it.
    Gordon Ramsay. Pink. He’s such an arse.
    Anneke) This one is too hard. Why would I want to do such a thing? I thought about it for hours. Then I went to Paul McCartney and covered him in blue.
    'Why did you do that?,' he asked, still dripping.
    I shrugged. 'A guy named Kirton suggested it.'
    'Kirton,' he said, 'and who the hell is that?'
    'A writer, I can recommend his books,' I said. I grabbed in my bag and put two paperbacks on the table. 'There's The Figurehead, and The Sparrow Conundrum. He's a paperback writer.' 
    Paul didn't laugh. He picked up The Sparrow Conundrum and flipped through the pages. 'Which one should I start with?'
    'I'd say The Figurehead', one of my favourites. The Sparrow Conundrum is more suitable for, how can I say this politely, people with a good sense of humour.'
    'Ah,' he said. 'No, that's not me.'
    'I thought so,' I said. 
    He took The Figurehead and left without saying goodbye. I noticed I was humming Black bird singing in the dead of night, and wondered if I'd chosen the wrong colour.
  3. What do you think of the word ‘nice’? In what contexts would you use it?
    Nice is a nice word and underrated in my view. Some things are just NICE and no other words will do to describe them. No, don't put me on the spot, I can't think of anything right now.
    (Nevets) As a compliment it's luke warm.  As an exclamation it's on par with "Sweet!"  As an adjective, it feels smooshy.  I usually use the middle option only.
    Nice is such a negative word - as in ‘I’m trying to be nice’.
    Anneke) I would use it here, in: 'What a nice question.'
  4. You have the chance to spend an evening with a film star of your choice. Whom would you choose and what do you hope the evening would bring? (Be honest.)
    Jennifer Aniston and I hope the evening would bring romance, a marriage and a shitload of book sales because of my new celebrity status.
    (Nevets) Robert De Niro.  I want to learn to imitate his voice.
    OMG. I’m a married woman so I can’t answer this question on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.
    Anneke) Jean Paul Belmondo. When I was very young I fell in love with him, deeply. It happened when I saw him in the film L'animal. He kissed every woman in the film, and they all loved it. I couldn't resist either. I started dreaming about him. Fascinating, after all he wasn't actually considered to be a 'real' 'beauty', but his eyes.... his eyes. He's 78 now, I'd love to discover if he still has it. I would not expect much though. Hopefully he's fun to chat with.
  5. Complete the following sentence – ‘If I won the lottery and discovered that the prize had to be shared with 3 million other winners, I would …’
    If I won the lottery - blah - 3 million other winners, I would laugh (cos I'm assuming there isn't much to go around). I would laugh lots. Call the universe a bastard and then laugh some more.
    (Nevets) Hope that I had bought all 3 million other tickets myself.
    Buy a bottle of Champagne/Cava, the quality of which would depend on how much I’d won.
    Anneke) be thrilled, because the prize is 300 million zillion euros.
  6. If you had to change nationality, which would you choose and why?
    French. I'm a bit of a francophile - and then I would have to learn the language and buy a second home in Paris. Cos you do, don't you?
    (Nevets) Japan.  I think I'd get along pretty well there.
    Always fancied being American. I know they like our accent (Brit) but I quite like theirs.
    Anneke) I would refuse, and if they kept insisting I'd beat them with my wooden shoes.
  7. Nominate 3 types of people for a long custodial sentence in a prison that uses painful experimental therapies to ‘cure’ its inmates. (NOTE. Obvious categories, such as bigots, tyrants, traffic wardens, estate agents, bankers, politicians and family and friends of Rupert Murdoch do not count.)
    This one is going to be a bit obvious - paedophiles, rapists and murderers. Oh and people who turn right against the traffic but don't signal until you are stuck behind them for AGES. Bastards.
    (Nevets) People who crush the self esteem of children.  People who thwart the dreams of others.  People who act destructively in noble ignorance.
    OMG. I can’t answer this question on the grounds that I might incriminate myself at work.
    Anneke) People who put laminate floors in their house, because it is so easy. The ones that claim it really looks good have to do extra time. 
    People who say it's very unhealthy to drink milk (and/or evangelise similar kinds of fashionable food religions).
    People who claim that everything in the world is there for a purpose and/or that everything in the world is connected, and get angry when I say I don't believe in this kind of nonsense.
  8. Your fairy godmother grants you a wish. You can curl up in front of the fire with your favourite object. What is it? (NOTE. You can define ‘object’ in any way you like.)
    My "object" - and I would never objectify women - would be Jennifer Aniston - and then we would marry and I would get a shitload of book sales because of my new celebrity status.
    (Nevets) More fire.
    My fully loaded Kindle. Can I have wine too please?
    Anneke) I'd thank her for the fireplace. I always wanted to have one. Then  I will ask my fairy godmother to join me. I'd love to hear what else she has in store for me.
  9. A beggar sitting on a blanket on the pavement (OK, sidewalk, if you insist), says as you pass, ‘Fortune has favoured you but looks less kindly on deprived and desperate beings such as myself. It would be a kindness if you were to redistribute some of your wealth to redress the balance between you and I’. What do you reply?
    I've only got a pound on me, mate (I'm like royalty me, never carry money). Here you go. (I throw him the pound.)
    (Nevets) Sorry, no cash.  And it would probably be true.
    I would give him a fiver. If he can deliver a spiel like that he’s neither drugged up or zonked out - neither of which I can abide in a beggar.
    Anneke) I''ll say that I would give him his share as soon as he comes up with a better, more creative, reason. This will inspire him tremendously. He'll start thinking, writing, practising, until he's so good, his book gets published and becomes a big hit. It'll make him very rich and famous. He'll tell the story about that friendly lady who inspired him, in every talk show on tv. And that he would love to thank her if he could find her. Bad luck for him, they'll find me, and let me show up in one of these shows as a surprise. He'll play his role well, he'll even accept my gift, my own book. However, he'll leave it in his dressing room where the cleaning lady will find it it. She'll take it home with her, not that she will ever read it, she grew up in a poor village in Morocco and never learned how to read. She just took it because she liked the picture of the violin player on the cover. It reminded her of her late father.
    I will end up completely broke and homeless, until Jesus saves me and as a born again Christian I'll start a very successful career as a real-estate agent. The rest of my life I spend forgiving people for their laminate floors.
  10. Would you like to be immortal? Why or why not?
    Immortality? No thanks. Life has its cycle and it would be beyond boring to live forever. Now, if you were to offer me the gift of flight I would chew your hand off.
    (Nevets) Yeah, I think the Highlander was wrong.
    No. It’s not how long you live but how you live. (Wouldn’t mind popping back though, say in 200 years or more, to see how things have progressed and if Star Trek has come true.)
    (Anneke) You don't have to be friends with Faust to understand that this is a trick question. It doesn't say when I would get immortality. Imagine, I'm 95, deaf and blind, with Parkinsons. With my trembling fingers I just signed my euthanasia request. Then they say: 'You always said you'd like to be immortal, didn't you?. Hey, guess what a surprise I have for you.'
  11. What music would you play through loudspeakers at night outside the house of someone you disliked intensely?
    Killing in the name - by Rage Against the Machine - apparently they used this as torture in Guantanamo. That suggests it's effective.
    (Nevets) The Blues Brothers' cover of Stand By Your Man.
    Motorhead. It’s just a racket.
    Anneke) Great one. The issue here is that it is important to choose something that most people hate but that you actually like yourself. Unless you are a masochist of course.
    I once took a class on avant garde music, and after listening to Iannis Xenakis' Persepolis I felt my tooth fillings had come loose. But, after having listened to all kinds of modern music I got used to this kind of sounds and actually started to appreciate the music. Give it a try. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJUR2qkJup0&feature=related
    If this is too hard, I recommend Bebop. Charlie Parker is a genius.

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  1. I thought it was a shame there were no comments on this posting because I think the answers are terrific, inventive, thought-provoking and sometimes very funny. So thanks Michael, Nevets, Janice and Anneke.

  2. Fun stuff. Hope more people will send in the questionnaire. Looking forward to reading it.
    Oh, and I knew at least one person would bring a kindle to the fireplace. That wicked device for English books only!

  3. Yes, I hope there'll be more, Anneke. I really enjoyed reading them and each individual brings something fresh to them. If anyone's hesitating, I'd be happy if you only answered a couple of questions. Mind you, I think answering stuff like this could be addictive.

  4. haha Ton of fun, Bill. I love this. What a crazy and varied group of us.

    Brilliant way to get insight on our various personalities, perspectives, and habits of writing. Thanks for pulling this together!

  5. Au contraire, Nevets - thank you for contributing. You're right about the insights. Maybe that's why others are being shy - don't want to unlock the psychic cellars.

  6. It is a bit like saying, "Welcome to the cobwebs of my attic." :)

  7. I like the contrasting answers. Good idea to put them all together like that, Mr Bill.

  8. The Blues Brother's version of Stand by your Man will do the trick, no doubt. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO38rf1m0FU
    Another option, inspired by Michael's answer on the first question is, it's a small world aaaaafter all. Don't forget to sing along for the best result. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIxXXSufOAo&feature=related

  9. Hmmm, I think Michael may want to reconsider his answer if he checks that second link. But you're right, it would certainly do the trick.

  10. Great fun, Bill, and hello everyone else here((waves)) feel like I sort of know you now, cobwebs and all!

  11. Yeah, let's get together, like old friends. In Disneyland, or in the cobwebs of Nevets'attic, or no, let's meet in Scotland, we'll eat porridge, drink Highland Park and Bill will play his bagpipes for us.

  12. The space between the cobwebs is filled with even creepier things, so it's probably best if we choose another location. I've been looking for an excuse to get to Scotland, though, so that sounds spot on to me...

  13. I have a better idea. Let's solicit answers from someone who lives in Hawaii or Venice or Paris or New York or Boston or Rio and we'll all meet there.

  14. I loved the questions. The variety in the answers is proof of how diverse people are in their opinions and dreams.