A couple of posts ago I said something about participating in the Great Interview Experiment. Well I finally got my act together and questioned my victim interviewee. FatBoyFat is from the Motherland, Great Britain, and his blog is Make Lard History. He enjoys long walks on the beach, dinner by candlelight, and…oh…wait…let me let him tell you about himself.
1. Ok…let’s start with the obvious question. Your screenname…Fatboyfat…and your blog title…Make Lard History give me the impression that this blog is all about your weight or your diet. I’ve read some of your early posts and while that seems to be your initial intention your blog isn’t about that anymore. If you were to give a description of your blog what would you say it’s about? Now that you’ve been blogging for a couple of years do you have any goals for your blog?
I realised fairly early on that repeated posts containing exercise regimes, recipes or simply pictures of my feet on the bathroom scales would be lacking in entertainment, so I broadened the remit of Make Lard History. So now it’s a rather random collection of writing exercises, observations, short stories, commentary and the occasional semi-lucid rant. The theme is ‘There Is No Theme’. I’m still not entirely sure if that’s a good idea, two years later.
It would be nice to have a goal, I suppose. I’ve never really thought about it much as I never really expected much from the process at the outset. I enjoy writing, and if other people are vaguely entertained by the end result, that’s a bonus.
2. You mentioned attending your brother’s civil ceremony in a post back in August of 2007. You also said something about attending Pride weekend in February 2008. I may be completely wrong, but I assume that your brother is gay and that you are fully supportive of him. As a newly somewhat out gay woman with no family support I would love to hear how you felt about it all. If it was a process for you or not. Also how does your country/city differ from America in the way the glbt community is treated?
I’m very lucky in that I was raised in a household that didn’t seem all that concerned about labels. I’m the youngest of three, and I guess I’ve known that brother no. 2 was gay since my early teens. You just pick up on things, so it’s been an integral part of him for as long as I can remember. So while I’m fully supportive it doesn’t change the way I think about him one iota. He’s the same person with whom I walked to school, shared a bedroom and played cricket in the garden. It’s just that he prefers men. It’s a characteristic – and clearly an important one for those involved – but I don’t have any hang-ups about it. It helps that he has good taste in men – his partner is a genuinely lovely bloke and a welcome addition to the family (although he does deserve early sainthood for putting up with my brother)!
Katie and I go to things like Pride partly because we have several gay and lesbian friends but also because it’s just such a good day out. There’s lots to do, it’s a bit of a giggle and there’s none of the bad atmosphere you sometimes get when alcohol and crowds are involved. We’ve been able to take other friends who’d never previously been exposed to the GLBT community and they really enjoyed themselves. It’s just a good day out with friends.
I said at the start of this answer that I was lucky. That’s because our early upbringing taught us that character was far more important as a measure of an individual than other factors like sexuality, skin colour or religion. And while I think British society has become far more accepting in recent years, there are still some pockets of intolerance. Not everyone had the same commonsense as my parents. There are some media outlets that don’t help – as an example I wrote about the Daily Mail and its readership twice in October this year.
An example: we’ve had legal civil partnerships in the UK for a few years now. The very people who bang on constantly about the sanctity of marriage, and about how important it is for people to commit to a formalised relationship, would willingly turn around to one sector of society and say “Not for you lot, though.” Ironic.
3. You talk about beer quite a bit on your blog. What is your favorite beer and what is it you like about it? Also…when you were in the states did you have a chance to try any of our beers? Did you like them?
Yes, I suppose beer’s been my downfall! Going out and socialising involves pubs, and pubs involve beer, I suppose. I can be a bit of a bore on the subject so I’ll keep it brief, though. I adore traditional English real ales, such as bitter, or at this time of year, porter. It’s thick, dark and comforting. When I visited the States I very much enjoyed Samuel Adams ales. Quite a bit, actually. Clearly I have no repressed bad feelings over the Revolution!
4. One of your recent post was a wonderful little short story about Travellers. You also wrote a story about Flant Day. Genius! Are there more? Have you ever had anything published? If not is that a goal of yours or are you writing them just for fun?
Thank you! I’ve written a number of short stories but for some reason I haven’t labelled them very well on the blog. I’ll go back and do that. I quite like the idea of starting with an unlikely situation and developing it from there. Or setting out from a familiar place and then twisting it. I’d quite like to have something published but there are so many good writers out there I’m under no illusions about it. It’s mainly for fun – and I get a huge kick if other people like what I write. If it gets published, that’s a bonus.
5. For the last 3 years you’ve participated in NaBloPoMo cranking out a post every day in the month of November. Every other month you seem to write less than half of that. How hard is it for you to come up with something to post everyday? Do you feel pressure or do the words come easy?
NaBloPoMo is quite a tough challenge for me – every year I say I’ll never do it and my wife tells me I’ll kick myself if I don’t. Or she will. I do struggle to post generally, as I want to put things up that I like and that other people might appreciate. This year has been harder than most as I lost my Dad at the end of December 2008 and, quite frankly, it knocked me sideways. I struggled to concentrate on anything, including the blog. Although Katie has been around to give me a kick. I know my place. I’d really like to try and do something every other day if I could, as long as I don’t resort to putting pictures of my cat on there.
6. I’ve been back in the states for a year now after living in Turkey for the previous seven years. One of the things I noticed while I lived overseas was that visiting Americans totally stood out. They were usually loud and somewhat obnoxious. Anytime we were going to have guests come visit we gave them a short cultural lesson so as not to offend the locals. What cultural lessons would you give to Americans coming to visit your country? Also are there any interesting non-touristy things you would suggest for them to do?
I have to say that most Americans I’ve met, in real life and online, have been delightful. I know, I’m such a flatterer. However I’m afraid some Brits can be lousy travellers too! But anyway, what could I say to someone from America travelling to Britain? We’re not all massively repressed these days, but please don’t be upset if a Brit doesn’t want to know your life story. You might think he’s not being very warm, receptive or friendly. But that’s really not the case. If ‘avoiding a fuss’ was an Olympic sport, we’d win gold medals any time. We even get nervous about people raising their voices in public places. But once you know that, it’s really quite easy to blend in, and if you set yourself up in a good pub (it’s always the beer for me!), perhaps in a small market town away from the tourist traps you can have a great night people-watching and listening to the banter. Not the same as the Changing of the Guards, but it’s certainly something different.
7. Any last words?
Thank you for these questions – I hope I haven’t bored your readers to death with my answers. I’ve been reading your blog as well and will be sending readers this way too!
Oodles of thanks to FatBoyFat for fabulous answers to my deep and probing questions!