My real life heroes: Alexander McNabb
Alexander McNabb needs very little introduction to most of us on social media in the UAE at least, if not around the region. He keeps us and the local media on their toes with his posts on Fake Plastic Souks. If you haven't seen his posts - you should. As I mentioned in my introductory post last week, he entertains me. I learn from his (often) caustic posts on his blog and his professional ones on Spot On PR's blog. I have read all his books so far and of them all, Beirut has to be my favourite though they all keep you glued to the pages. The pace in each subsequent book gets faster until his last one - Shemlan (links to all his books, social media and blogs at the bottom of the post) left my head spinning. I have a confession McNabb, I am still plodding through Space. I love it because its quirky but like your Shiny - I get distracted. Sometimes quite easily. Here is an email chat I had with him to give you an insight into who he is. Okay maybe just a glimpse into the man's head. Not being sycophantic (perhaps a tad), his answers were quite similar to how I feel. Ordinary folks impress me with how extraordinary they are. I'm still waiting for an invitation to sample his cooking and to join his party when he makes his millions!
What inspires you to do what you do?
People. I've learned to expect the least of them so when people turn around and do great things, come together as communities, help someone less well of than they are or just manage to do something extraordinary or cool I get a huge high. And karma. I'm a great believer in karma. Every time you poop in someone's handbag, something bad queues up to bite you on your grim, mean little bum. Every time you stop to let someone hobble across the road, the tooth fairy is polishing a shiny for you. Trust me. And with the book thing, it's people again. I love meeting readers. Love it. Apart from the protestors. Those I could live without in a mild sort of way.
Who is your hero? Why?
My dad. He used to drive me mad humming and whistling in supermarkets or on the high street, I'd be like 'DaaAAd!' and he'd just carry on. He talked to strangers and giggled a lot. 'course I do that now. I got his sense of humour, thank God. He was a marine in the war, a tough little so and so who'd run with rucksacks of bricks even when he didn't have to. A sniper got his company's stretcher bearer when they were 'mopping up' through Holland and my dad volunteered to replace the guy. Everyone was well impressed, but only my dad had worked out there was a three-month training course back at base for new stretcher bearers. That's my kind of war.
If you had a choice of becoming one of your (all time - dead or alive; real or fiction) favourite character, who would it be and why?
Well, all my favourite writers were total disasters when it came to actually getting through life, so that's hardly helpful. People like Lawrence Durrell and Evelyn Waugh. Drunkards, womanisers, sodomites and abusers the lot of 'em. I think possibly Bertie Wooster - permanently enshrined in a world of cocktails, jazz and boshing around the country in the old two seater.
When are you happiest?
Writing. I've also been found to be happy clutching a vodka dry Martini (lemon twist, olive on the side), sitting in a big foamy bath with my rubber ducky or wandering around Northern Europe. I have been very happy indeed in Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki, as well as Nuwara Eliya. Driving in the desert - actually driving in general. And cooking - that's how I unwind. The Hatta Fort usually makes me happy. In fact, I'm generally quite a happy little bear.
What pisses you off most?
Comment spammers. I really, really hate them. I mean viscerally. We're talking a smack in the face if I ever meet one in person. Arrogance. I have a really, really hard time handling arrogance. Stupidity, which tragically tends to come hand in hand with arrogance. And meanness. My UAE bank, HSBC. Last but by no means least.
If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
It's rather humdrum, really, but I guess I'd buy my house by the Thames near Richmond or Twickenham and retire disgracefully to write until I'm too potty to know what I'm doing. I suppose I'd have a smallish party first, with some cheap finger-food and house beers and wines.
If you are not connected with McNabb, you can find him online at the links below: