Mimbles did this interview meme a few days ago. The rules, if you want to play as I did, are leave a comment saying so and I’ll email you five questions for you to tackle. Bonus: you can ask me questions of your own in comments and I’ll answer those, too.
My thanks to Mimbles. I hope you all find it interesting. So here’s my interview:
1. On the “About” page of your blog you write “The story of my realisation is an odd one involving children’s television, short fiction, my theatrical background, LGBTQI rights and a dance competition.” I’d love to hear the story, care to tell it? At very least you must tell us which children’s television!
I started an answer to that one and I was at 841 words when I stopped. The story of how I realised I was a feminist will have to wait. However, mysterious being as I am, I’ll give you five things from the story, but won’t tell you how they intersect:
- The children’s TV show was The Fairies. I still can’t believe it started there.
- The short fiction was that of James Tiptree, Jr., who is mentioned on my About page too, as it happens.
- The theatrical bit was research into twentieth century British drama for a drama performance course (not even a fancy name for acting, it’s complicated) I did in 2007.
- I was researching lesbian and gay rights, which went off on a couple of tangents.
- The dance competition was So You Think You Can Dance Australia…um.
2. I gather Christopher Eccleston was your first Doctor? Mine was Tom Baker but I was very fond of Peter Davidson as well. Have you watched much old Who and how does it hold up for someone who did not watch it prior to the new version?
Chris Eccleston was indeed my first Doctor. I thought that he could never ever be replaced by this David Tennant bloke, but I was willing to give David a go. By the sword fight in “The Christmas Invasion”, I was head over heels, standing in front on my television and cheering (okay, the first bit is just an expression). I tried watching a bit of old Who in 2005, when they were doing reruns on ABC, but I didn’t get into it until a little later when I spent a summer hiring out videos from a wonderful video store in Bondi (that’s right, folks, near the beach) called Doctor What. (‘Do you stock Doctor Who?’ ‘Are you joking?’) I watched one in ten of the stories. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, classic Who storylines ran over a number of episodes with two exceptions. I managed to find the very first story, “An Unearthly Child”, from 1963. I could not stand Jo Grant (a companion) and “The Claws of Axos” was painful. It was, however, not quite as painful as the 1996 TV movie, which almost made me cry with the sheer badness of it. I still have never seen a Romana episode, but I’d like to as I hear she’s great. I’m fond of the Fifth Doctor, too, especially that odd piece of celery on his lapel. My favourite classic story is one of his, “Enlightenment” (although I also really like “Survival”). (My favourite episode ever is “The End of the World”, the first I ever saw.) I sat through the entire “The Trial of a Time Lord”, which should indicate how much I was growing to like old Who. My favourite classic Doctor is Seven, played by Sylvester McCoy. He was so different. My favourite companion is Ace, but I won’t go into that now as I have a whole post on her soon. To answer your question, once you get over the shaky BBC production values, you get a gorgeous, lovable story that has stood the test of time. Sometimes you’re a bit over contemporary special effects, so the quarry-substitute-for-alien-landscape thing they did is quite charming. Overall, I love it and it holds up very well.
3. Your twitter bio describes you as a cake enthusiast. Any particular kind of cake? What was the best cake you’ve ever encountered and do you have pictures?
Yes, famously cheesecake. I’m growing quite fond of coffee cake. For my most recent birthday party, I had a tea party which was basically a cakefest (my family and I made a plain cheesecake, a chocolate cake, coffee cake… my friends are used to it by now). A few generations and continents back, my family ran a bakery, so I guess it’s in the blood. The best cake I’ve ever encountered… well, I guess memory may have sweetened it, but it was a cheesecake in a little shop in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney city about ten years back. I’m afraid I don’t have pictures. I went back there a couple of years ago, but that particular place must have shut down and the New York cheesecake I tried at another café there didn’t quite cut it. I’m collecting recipes and perhaps I’ll find something as good one day.
4. What made you start blogging?
This isn’t my first time blogging, but the first time as Chally (which is a relatively recent name) and on feminism. I used to run a fan fiction blog (can you guess my fandom?) and I’ve run a couple of tiny personal ones. One of the first feminist sites I found (in May) was Feministing and it was a huge, happy thing for me to have found feminist-oriented news! I followed the links to Feministe and then all sorts of different blogs. I’d promised myself that at the end of the year I’d start blogging because I wanted to join in and I had things of my own to share. And then I lost a bit of direction but found it on 31 December. And I haven’t looked back since! I hope to be around for a while.
5. What 5 books have had the greatest impact on your life?
I’ll stick to fiction for this one and stick in short stories. Hmm, that’s a pretty difficult thing to trace. You’ll have to ask me in a few decades so I can gain more perspective. But for now, in the order I thought of them:
- “The Women Men Don’t See” by James Tiptree, Jr. See question one.
- “Bloodchild” by Octavia E. Butler had a profound effect on my politics and how I thought of autonomy and relationships in which one party has all the control. I will never think about abortion the same way. No matter your perspective on reproductive justice, I don’t think you can read that story and not have your mind changed in some way. And slavery and gender and… Ms Butler’s loss was a great one.
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin is a classic. I first encountered it when I was eight and it had a hand in moulding my childhood fantasies. I had forgotten the name of the book by the time I was thirteen, so when my English teacher at the time reintroduced me, I felt a rush of joy I’ve never forgotten.
- The Neverending Story by Michael Ende is my standard for what makes a good story.
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is my favourite novel. It’d be on this list if only for the amount of time I’ve spent reading it over and over! It’s an intricate, gruelling, wonderful love story.