March 15, 2005

An interview with Matthew: All you never wanted to know and never intended to ask

Following the trendsetters Kimmy and Tommy and embracing narcissism I have decided to interview myself. And for once I am going to be serious in most of my answers.

Matthew I hear you are bulking, what does this entail?

Well, lifting heavy weights, drinking a gallon of milk a day along with a couple of cans of tuna and a few steaks and pork chops, and doing as little physical exertion as possible outside of the gym and the kitchen

Matthew, what are your political beliefs?

I am a neo-Liberal and believe in small government, low taxes and letting market forces and Capitalism work. I have Conservative views on a whole host of subjects such as morality, law and order and immigration. And believe in clamping down on immoral behaviour, immigration and violent crimes. My heros are Margarent Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and William Hague.

Who is your role model in life?

James Bond is my role model and I try and emulate him in every aspect of my life: his sophistication, his mastery of the innuendo, his decadent lifestyle, his weakness for pretty girls, and his loyalty to his country.

I hear you have a creative side?

Yes, I write love poetry, compose my own songs and play the saxophone and piano. I am currently in the process of producing an album and an anthology of Love Poems, avaliable at leading record and book stores very soon

So how is your love life?

Single and not looking (well that is if you don't count Tesco Check out girls and the schoolgirls that are a constant presence at lunchtime at TEsco in leamington). Let us just say that I am concentrating on my studies for now and unless a girl threw herself at me, I would be unlikely to exert the effort required to chase skirts.

What do you look for in a woman?

Well the Satin Doll list was very much tongue in cheek. Looks are important to me, as I have always had a fondness for pretty girls. But personality is very important and cheap physical attraction does not do it for me hence I rarely frequent union events. A sense of humour or the ability to laugh convincingly at my jokes is essential, as is a giving nature, and what I describe as feminine charm. Similar social background and moral values are essential too, as well as some overlap in interests. Bonus points if you are a Conservative. Unfortunately I can count on my fingers the number of girls at this university I know who fit these criteria.

So what do you like most about yourself?

Difficult question. There is so much. Probably my staunch conservatism, my unique fashion sense, my unwavering moral values, my extensive vocabulary, my excellent taste in music, and my modesty

So what would you change about yourself if anything?

Well I have always wanted to be a girl…........joking! Well looking like a movie star would be nice for a start. It would also be nice to be more outgoing as I find socialising a real effort and a chore. I also wish I was able to relax more as I am very much a Type A personality and very prone to success.

What do others want to change about me?

Well I only have my housemates to go on and they complain about my sleaziness, as I don't think they realise it is completely tongue in cheek and out of boredom as much as anything else. When I actually like a girl I am polite and charming and not at all sleazy.

My extreme views on subjects like fox-hunting (It is a good thing), inhertance tax (abolish it!), education (private schools offer a better quality of education), social equality-there is nothing wrong with the rich being able to afford better education, healthcare etc. as it is an incentive to get rich and hence the foundation of a capitalist system, the death penalty (bring back), Maggie Thatcher (saint)

What are your dreams in life

1. A career which I enjoy, find rewarding and allows me to serve others.
2. A happy marriage with a girl I am crazy about who feels the same way about me, and who is not only gorgeous but also great company, supportive, loyal and giving. While I see figures of spiralling divorce rates and loveless marriages, I am a strong believer that there happy marriages are a realistic dream, but believe that most people get married for the wrong reasons, so I would be very selective in the choice of Mrs Rogers.
3. An amateur career as a Motown or Jazz singer
4. Eventually to become Conservative Prime Minister
5. Enough money to maintain the cushy lifestyle I am used to.

What are your vices?

My main vices are pretty women, cocktails, gambling, indecent exposure

PRETTY WOMEN I cannot resist a pretty woman (although they are prettty good at resisting me) and no attractive woman is safe from my amorous advances, and lascivious stares.

COCKTAILS I generally drink these until I am too drunk to order any more. Drunkeness is usually displayed in the form of crazy dancing, stripping and laughing at the slightest thing and slurring and lisping. Bumping into things and falling over is another sign I am pissed.

GAMBLING My main weakness is playing bridge for money at London clubs for high stakes. I am a damn good bridge player so I usually do well, but I have sustained heavy losses. I also love betting on horses, and am a huge fan of strip poker but unfortunately can never find any willing participants so am forced to play alone….

INDECENT EXPOSURE I have the distinction of a criminal record in France and spending a night in a French jail. After a drunken apres-ski party where toffee vodka was poured down my throat by a gorgeous blonde Danish barmaid, I was inspired to streak through the rues of Val D'Isere. Unfortunately the gendarmie were not amused and proceeded to arrest me on the grounds of drunkeness and indecent exposure. Making a pass at the female gendarme in reflection was not the best form of advocacy. The following day fresh from my release I skiied down the Alps in a kilt worn Scottish style causing several female skiiers to crash into trees following a gust of wind. I have restrained myself at Warwick but i fear my housemates will never forget the memory of me dancing to Bee Gees in boxers and pouring beer over myself.

What are your greatest regrets in life?

Good question, Matthew. You are a veritable Paxman.
My greatest regrets are not taking a gap year and having another shot at Oxbridge, being too shy to ask out E. a gorgeous girl who seemed very keen on me, turning down a gorgeous blonde at a school disco on finding she was an Arsenal supporter, and not trying for Westminster for sixth form entry despite having had a bloody good chance of getting in.

Who is your best friend?

My best friend is called F. He is the funniest, sweetest man I have ever met and has been a constant companion throughout my university life.

What cosmetic products do you use?

I use St Ives Apricot Scrub for my face, wet shave with Mach 3 razor, and use Old Spice aftershave occasionally alternating with Oscar for men. I use L'Oreal for men shampoo and use Brilliantine (wax) in my hair.

What is your philosophy for life?

Don't take yourself too seriously and see the funny side of life. I used to be incredibly serious and while I still am, I have learnt to laugh at myself and am not scared of making a fool of myself. In fact I take great delight in being deliberately obtuse Far too many people are too serious all the time and never have any fun. As such I deliberately let myself be childish and schoolboyish and lark around. I have also learnt that no matter how bad life appears or a situation appears with enough effort you can always find a funny side or make light of your situation. Humour is the ultimate smokescreen and when I am feeling gloomy I find the best thing I can do is to force myself to joke, laugh and lark around.

- 17 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Dave Rogers

    Pish….matthew may like cocktails but he is a lightweight. A few martinis and he is blotto. I could drink him under the table with ease

    21 Mar 2005, 03:21

  2. Matthew – I am heartened to read that William Hague (legend. Fact.) is on your list of heroes. It also interested me majorly that you play bridge…

    After you've met Anna and (hopefully) decide she's not too much of a loony, you should meet all of us too – a large proportion of evenings are spent sitting around drinking nice wine/whisky, playing bridge, and generally being very middle class.

    Rock on.


    23 Mar 2005, 16:49

  3. Ooh – and Boris Johnson is also a genius.


    23 Mar 2005, 16:50

  4. I concur on Hague and Johnson. Lorna, you must teach me to play bridge sometime, it's something I've always wanted to learn but never gotten round to. It'll make an interesting change from everyone ganging up on me in Risk (not that I'm bitter :-P)

    23 Mar 2005, 17:23

  5. Amazing! I have been looking for people to play bridge against. High stakes rubber, I hope? Sounds like the sort of set I have been looking for all my time at Warwick…very Sloaney.

    23 Mar 2005, 19:12

  6. Oh gosh. I'm going to lose my future husband. Either that or I'm going to have to learn how to play bridge. And I object to being described as a loony! Unusual maybe. But not a loony!

    23 Mar 2005, 23:42

  7. Haha! I didn't say you were a loony babe – I said hopefully he won't think you are :P
    And yes, everyone should learn how to play bridge… Especially you, Christopher…!

    Not entirely sure about the high-stakes part, but we do play rubber bridge as a general rule.

    You should meet my boyfriend (Jon) though – he's a real bridge geek, having played for his school A team and things (bless) – and he's missed playing "properly" as we only play socially with wine and we're all still learning really (when I say learning, I mean we've still got to fully understand things like cue and splinter bids etc)

    You're a finalist, though, aren't you Matt? You should have joined Chamber Choir, and you would have met us all a lot earlier!!


    24 Mar 2005, 10:00

  8. I bet I am more of a bridge geek! (although my brother will beat us all…he spends every weekend in bridge congresses, plays three evenings a week and spends his holidays playing for England, and when not playing bridge he is learning horrendously complicated conventions..or playing bridge online on the EBU website)

    By the way if you want to improve your bridge fast the EBU online bridge is incredible…some really good players play there…unfortunately it is very addictive…you have been warned

    I am impressed you are learning splinters…I used to play lots of conventions.(Lebensohl, Roman Key Card, Reverse Benji Acol, Astro, Weak Twos, Sputnik Doubles…) but have forgotten them all…having said that I much prefer doing without the conventions and just playing pure Acol

    Problem with conventions is that it makes bridge too scientific..and removes all the risk from the game.. I much prefer just relying on my intuiton and making a punt at a slam if I think it is on, rather than finding out every card of my partners via a lengthy bidding sequence.

    Oh and if Jon wants to play some serious bridge..the university bridge club is pretty strong….i think they play thursday evenings and sundays but may have stopped for the summer…

    24 Mar 2005, 11:51

  9. Acol definitely the way forward. Specific conventions do my head in. Jon and I know what we play, and stick to it to be honest. Intuitive play coupled with things like weak twos is much more fun. Jon used to be convention-mad though, and it annoys him that he's not any more I think…

    Bless him.

    We all play on Yahoo – which is interesting, cos they're American, and have very strange views on what to bid – but it's fun nonetheless.

    I'm probably not making much sense – that's because I'm at work, and my brain isn't letting me wake up.


    24 Mar 2005, 15:32

  10. Yeah 5 card major does my head in…..I am a fan of Weak 2s…I used to play it something like this….

    2 Clubs=acol game force
    2D=acol traditional strong 2 showing around 20+ points and a 6 card suit…partner relays to 2H and then you bid your suit
    2H/2S=6 card major 7–11 points

    After 2H/2S partner bids 2NT as an asking bid….
    3C shows weak hand weak suit
    3D shows weak harnd strong suit
    3H shows strong hand weak suit
    3S shows strong hand strong suit

    This enables partner to assess whether game is on or whether to sign off in a partscore, while making weak 2s sufficiently flexible to disrupt opposition bidding

    God I am sad! But at least I am doing this during office hours at the solicitor i am working for

    24 Mar 2005, 15:40

  11. Interesting…
    Normally, here is what my opening bids mean:

    1C/D/H/S = opening point (13+) and one suit preferred (4 inc 1+ honour)
    1NT = 12–14 points, relatively balanced hand (although can include a doubleton or singleton if remaining suits aren't strong)
    2C/D/H/S = weak 2, so 6+ cards and 6–12 points. Need 12/13+ pts to reply. Used to play 2C = 23pts, but gave up on that one as 2NT was normally useful enough.
    2NT = 20+ pts, hand not necessarily balanced – asking p to suggest a suit. Should reply unless hand total shite (ie can reply with fewer than 6 if one suit is long)
    3C/D/H/S = pre-emptive, so 7+ cards and 6–12 points. Need 12/13+ pts to reply.
    4C/D/H/S = "I have a strong hand and can guarantee making 8 tricks – reply if you think you have 2 in your hand"

    On top of that, I play Staymen, I don't play transfers cos they annoy me, and I do play standard Blackwood…

    I only started playing last summer!!

    …We are sad, yes. Again, though, I'm doing it at work…!


    24 Mar 2005, 16:27

  12. Firstly I am incredibly impressed you are playing such a sophisticated system with only a year's experience! I bear not think how good you will be in a few years time! Might have to drop the idea of high stakes rubber bridge as my future wife will not be amused if you bankrupt me….....

    Very interesting system Lorna…I play both the 3 and the 4 level as pre-emptive as if you have a strong hand such a bid uses up too much bidding space. 2NT as a strong hand is a nice touch…allows use of stayman and transfers…and makes minor suit fits far easier to find given you have 2C and 2D as relatively natural…..I like it a lot!

    I wouldn't be too rigid on the point counts.although the guides you have outlined are very sound and if followed you will not go far wrong….I tend to instead think about what partners' bid shows and assess whether when combined we have sufficient strength to make game….things like double fits, singletons and voids, and strength of fit are far more important than total point count in suit contracts….also in competitive auctions there is the whole tactical issue of sacrificing etc…which again has more to do with the quality of your hand and the strength of your fit rather than points…

    Transfers annoy me. There is a lot of sense behind them…but remembering the sequences drives me insane…...

    Never played on Yahoo EBU ONline is wonderful though…they all play Acol!!!!

    Oh dear I feel the bridge bug returning….there go my chances of getting a first…........

    24 Mar 2005, 16:54

  13. Woo – will try out EBU Online if they play Acol rather than AYC et al, where I'd open 1H with 13 pts and AJxx and get booted.
    Bless them all.

    And rules are meant to be bent until they pass the point of no return broken!


    24 Mar 2005, 16:57

  14. Could not agree more with your last paragraph…to use an economics term… point ranges allow us to exercise constrained discretion….a guideline from which we can deviate through use of judgement!

    Lorna if you want to annoy Americans…psych! I regularly open 1S on something like S: AKxx H: x D: Jxxxx C:xx
    Drives them insane! Yet works surprisingly well!

    24 Mar 2005, 17:19

  15. Dave Rogers

    Hey there Lorna.

    Re. online bridge clubs, yahoo is hopeless tbh and the standard appalling. Most of the people are clueless.

    The problem with the ebu site (on is that you have to pay to use it. (think it's £15 for the year for students). It's the only site though where everyone (bar the sayc room) will play acol (nearly all the members are based in Britain) and it's by far the friendliest club. Another good thing is you won't get people leaving in the middle of the hands like most other sites and you'll normally get the same opps for a good run of hands.
    I think you can have a free trial for quite a time to see if you like the atmosphere in there.

    The best free site though can be downloaded from On this the only system you'll find people playing is still sayc and people are from all over the world (hardly any brits on it). It's better than yahoo in all ways and caters for all abilities so you'll find standards ranging from novices/improvers to a small handful of international players.
    Can have a friends list on it, so can make a list of all the people who play acol. For example all the U20's and U25's in the england squads and some from wales and scotland regularly play with each other in the main bridge club and we also have teams matches between each other from time to time.

    Hope this is of interest.

    25 Mar 2005, 01:11

  16. Dave – you really are a total bridge geek aren't you?! We'll try them out though…

    Many thanks for the hints :D


    25 Mar 2005, 12:06

  17. Dave Rogers

    Yeah i guess I am

    26 Mar 2005, 02:52

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