What better way to test WordPress on my iPhone than to do something random? So here are 25 random things about me.
(Yes, I am this vain. I will even interview myself.)
1: My first published work was a competition-winning story composed from book titles. I won a book voucher with a photo of a Concorde jet on it. This was the 1970s.
2: When I was a teenager, I had the temerity to cold-call Terry Nation at home. He was very nice, considering, and did not exterminate me.
3: I had a reputation for getting lost on school trips. One teacher proudly announced in assembly that the highlight of her class trip was that I did not go missing at any stage.
4: Curry was an unknown treat until I was 21 years old. This was an availability thing, not some weird religious requirement.
5: My office at work had a view of the women’s toilets. (The toilet door, I mean, not the inside, that would be ghastly). When the door opens, it’s a movement in my peripheral vision, and I had to resist the temptation to look up. Or use a stopwatch.
6: The union flag is such a splendid design that I have decided is worth displaying (e.g. at work, on my Twitter page) without worrying that people might think I am a right-wing nutcase. The thing needs reclaiming for the broader population.
7: Primary school treats: reading Dickens, trips to the Isle of Man, milk in 1/3rd-pint bottles.
8: None of my immediate family are left-handed, except my younger son. He does not look like our milkman.
9: I was the only Manchester City supporter I knew at my all-boys secondary school. One day, the coach company that took us to school ran out of coaches, and so we were delivered in the Manchester United team coach.
10: The carpet in my first house smelled of dog. Doing the Shake’n’Vac did not put the freshness back. I got a carpet shampoo machine, but that only made the house smell of boiled dog.
11: My name in Greek is Пέτρος Аγγελíδες but I cannot speak Greek.
12: I wrote an article for “The Listener”. Some years later, a journalist friend told me that they’d liked it and wondered why I hadn’t pitched them more stuff. I was foolishly waiting for them to ask. It doesn’t work like that.
13: Why don’t I play badminton twice a week like I used to? Indolence, lack of time, and the fear of putting my back out again.
14: I do not have any aliases in online news groups where I participate. I think it’s a bit odd to have an ID like “The Ergon” or “Matt Smith’s Hair”, but perhaps I’m an Old Fuddy Duddy. (That could be a future alias, I suppose.)
15: TV shows I think I’d like but can’t be bothered to hunt out: the new “Battlestar Galactica”, “The Wire”, “Mad Men”. The first television programme I saw in colour was “Play School”. Humpty turned out to be purple and green — who knew? Hamble looked like we should call Social Services.
16. My favourite car colour was a citrine yellow Ford Orion. I loved it. Everyone else said it was horrible. One writer I interviewed said it was the colour of baby diarrhea. He went on to win an Oscar. I went on to sell the car to my parents.
17: I did a radio interview about my “Doctor Who” books in Winchester, and the badly-briefed presenter said: “So, your favourite monsters are the Cybermen, aren’t they?” For the sake of politeness, and to avoid embarrassment, I agreed, and explained why I loved those silver giants. Lucky that he didn’t say: “So, you once killed a man with your bare hands, didn’t you?” because I’d probably have agreed and been arrested on my way out of the studio.
18: Barry Took once sent me a bottle of champagne on my birthday, because he liked the contents of my matchbox.
19: Two friends and I were invited to watch the final episode of “Blake’s 7” being recorded in the studio. I can’t imagine what made the BBC decide it was a good idea to let us do this. After they recorded the final scene, director Mary Ridge declared loudly from the gallery: “Thank God, they’re all dead!”
20: I wanted to make a donation to the British Heart Foundation in memory of my late friend Craig Hinton. And http://www.bhf.org.uk/ is the place to go to help them beat off heart disease. But I discovered that the “uk” part is really important, otherwise you end up visiting a porn site, where it’s not heart disease they are beating off.
21: Just at the point when I might have contemplated laser eye correction, and be in a position to afford it, I am going long-sighted and so there’s really no point any more.
22: I asked John Barrowman to sign a copy of my first “Torchwood” novel so that I could auction it for charity. Instead of just signing it, he personalised it with such a lovely comment that I decided I could not part with it.
23: I used to worry that I’d go bald. There’s still time, but I’m more phlegmatic.
24: I enjoy driving, and I prefer automatics. But I waited nearly 30 years after passing my test to get an automatic.
25. One of these random facts is a lie.
Update: to add a photo, I had to use the web-based client. I couldn’t manage that from the bath, where I was using my iPhone. And that’s what the photo illustrates. I also fixed a few t7pos.