Saturday, 10 July 2010

In The Hot Seat

In honour of the 139th anniversary of the birth of French author, Marcel Proust, we have subjected Orkney Archive to the famous 'Proust Questionnaire' as used by Vanity Fair magazine and James Lipton in Inside the Actors' Studio to quiz celebs.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being left alone in a room that is not too dry, not too damp, not too hot and not too cold.

What is your greatest fear?


What historical figure do you most identify with?

Greta Garbo

Which living person do you most admire?

Our archivist, Alison Fraser

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A tendency to crumble to dust.

What trait do you most deplore in others?

An insistence on using pens.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I play far too much online poker.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

It’s all very beige…

What is your favourite journey?

Back to my strongrooms

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


Which living person do you most despise?

Michael Landy

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Copyright – Not to be reproduced or published without permission.

What is your greatest regret?

The sun has not been kind to the old complexion.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Acid free paper

When and where were you happiest?

When I was accessioned.

Which talent would you most like to have?

If only I could sing…

What is your current state of mind?


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

If only I had discovered document repair tape earlier.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?

Neil Sedaka

If you could choose what or who to come back as, what would it be?

Craig David

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Simply surviving, my love.

What is your most treasured possession?

My physical integrity

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Grimy hands and a leaky fountain pen.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My organisation.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Crisp, white gloves.

What is the quality you most admire in a woman?

The habit of using a pencil.

What do you most value in your friends?

An absence of mould-spreading spores.

Who are your favourite writers?

Any who keep their correspondence and manuscripts.

Who is your favourite hero of fiction?

Miss Havisham (but preferably with a controlled environment and a proper cataloguing system.)

Who are your heroes in real life?

People who hand old photos into archives instead of shredding them (Oh the humanity….)

What are your favourite names?

Derek, Millicent and Hester.

What is it that you most dislike?

Being filed out of order.

How would you like to die?

Whilst drunk on a yacht.

What is your motto?

Hoarding is good.

Thank you

Thank you


  1. An alternative fave fictional character could be Gandalf - for how else would he have found out about the dangers of The Ring, had it not been for Arrrchiiiives!


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