I made it into the Overview this month, here’s what I had to say:
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever received?
“Ask the librarian”, because even when they don’t know the answer they’re pretty good at pointing you in the right direction. It’d be that or “Knowledge is power, arm yourself”.
Who or what inspires you?
Evolution! I have a tree of life poster attached to my fridge to study whenever I’m bored waiting for my dinner to cook. I’m also really into sharks. They’re pretty inspiring given they’ve roamed the oceans for over 420 million years. When people get all manic about how scary sharks are I like to point out that more people die from falling vending machines than they do from shark attacks.
What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
Usually Bella. She’s a cat that squawks like a crying baby.
What’s your favourite comfort food?
Salt and chilli tofu usually does the trick or chana masala with an onion uttapam. Before a month-long trip to India I famously uttered the words ‘I’ll never get sick of chana masala’ – I did and am yet to live it down.
What do you do to unwind or relax?
Well, I like reading – mainly fantasy/science fiction, or graphic novels. But to really relax I make things. I enjoy knitting and crochet. This week I even dusted off my sewing machine and made a new bag.
What was the last thing that made you laugh?
A YouTube video from Jerkbeast. It was basically this horrible paper maché head abusing people on Chat Roulette (a website that randomly connects its users via webcams). I was laughing so hard I couldn’t speak.
What was the last thing that made you swear?
It’s usually Chris Moyles. He really annoys me, to put it mildly, but I still insist on listening to him every morning, we seem to disagree on just about everything.
What would you never eat or drink?
Animals. I’m vegan so there are a great many things I won’t eat or drink. If you take meat, dairy, eggs and honey out of the equation I pretty much eat everything. Oh and I don’t drink alcohol either… get your head round that crazy idea.
Who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party?
David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, Shirin Ebadi, Hayden Panettiere (not just because she’s awesome in Heroes but also because I’d be interested in hearing about her free diving and campaign awareness activities for the Whaleman Foundation) and probably Zoli Téglás (singer of Ignite and long-time supporter of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society).
What would you never be without?
My iPhone. That’s really sad isn’t it? It fell out of my pocket once in the staff room and was hiding under a chair. I broke out in an awful sweat for about ten minutes whilst I thought I’d lost it.
Favourite song or piece of music?
Anything by Propagandhi, they’re my favourite band of all time. I couldn’t pick just one song but if forced it’d be a toss up between Purina Hall of Fame, Without Love, Mate Ka Moris Ukun Rasik An, Night Letters or The Bringer of Greater Things or… see what I mean?
Where’s been your best holiday destination?
Iran, it’s incredibly beautiful and unrecognisable in real life to that place we read about in the news. The people were welcoming, the food was amazing (apart from the falafel, that was really bad) and the sightseeing totally breath-taking. I like scuba diving too so anywhere involving a warm ocean is good fun.
What’s your party trick?
I’m a dance mat extraordinaire. Seriously, I challenge you to a dance off. When hogging the limelight in a games arcade once my audience refused to believe a librarian could kick all their butts on Dance Dance Revolution – I did though.
What information about Sheffield would you want to tell a visitor?
I always tell them to invest in a good coat if they plan on staying for long. It was also the first thing I was told before moving here.
What’s been your biggest fashion mistake?
Possibly the brown flares I wore in my teens. I thought they were so cool… I should look up whoever it was that put the cigarette burn in them. They did me a favour.
If you had absolute power, what would you change?
I’d just like to suggest that people think a little more about what’s on their plate and how its production impacts our planet. I’m not interested in ramming veganism down people’s throats but if you ask for the truth about your food I’ll tell you.
I’d also totally abolish whaling. Current loopholes continue to permit the Institute of Cetacean Research to harvest up to 1000 whales from the Southern Ocean each year, which inevitably end up on the meat market. The annual whaling season costs the Japanese taxpayers an estimated 1.2 billion yen – think what else could be done with that money!
What irritates you?
Fruit salad. Caterers generally fail at producing any decent alternative desserts to the usual non-vegan rubbish served up at Christmas parties, weddings and other such special occasions. It’s so depressing. Be inspired and challenge yourself to create something other than a fruit salad that’s delicious and diary/egg free.
What qualities do you admire in others?
During the initial aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in January I tuned into an interview with Wyclef Jean. He was discussing the relief effort and how he’d spent his day moving dead bodies with his bare hands. Such selflessness to help others going through unimaginable pain and suffering, whether that be people coping with disaster or animals enduring horrific cruelty it doesn’t matter, it’s highly admirable in my opinion. I admire any human/animal rights activist that puts others before themselves and non-violently stands up for what they believe in.
What was your favourite childhood programme?
Round the Twist or Byker Grove.
Tell us something that not many people know about you.
As a kid I auditioned for the Royal Ballet. In another life (had I of taken it more seriously) I may have been a prima ballerina.
Who would you least like to be stuck on the Arts Tower paternoster with?
I’ve thought long and hard about this one and I honestly think I’d rather be stuck in there with anyone rather than no-one. I bore of my own company very easily so solitary confinement would be pure torture for me. If I had my phone though that’s another story.