Gill Hoffs


How’s it going?

Slo-o-o-owly and stiffly (I just fell off my bike).

You’re writing for this site because your primary goal in life didn’t work out. What was it?

To be a connoisseur of cake-shops and Head of Quality Control for the chocolate and hazelnut heaven that is Nutella.

What were you like at school?

A bored, moody, angry, antisocial, colourful, arsehole with piercings and a partially shaved head.  I was a mess of hormones, unhappiness, and impotent rage – not much fun to be around and prone to saying the wrong thing.  When I see kids who remind me of teen Gill, I get a rush of awkward agony all over again, and generally loathe them.                                     

What is your all time favourite

a) Album?  The Holy Bible, Manic Street Preachers

b) Film?  Like the other favourites, the answer to this will cycle between certain core favourites depending on mood and circumstance.  Tonight it’s Groundhog Day (yesterday, it was Coraline, and the night before, Source Code / Moon).

c) Book?  Hmm.  I have a few in each genre, so I’ll narrow it down to Fast and Louche by Jeremy Scott (autobiography), Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (children’s – I’ve been reading it to my five year old, even after he’s fallen asleep), The Small Assassin by Ray Bradbury (short story collection/science fiction – one of the things that told me I’d found The One was when I discovered my husband-to-be had the same edition of this book as I did), Mirror by Graham Masterton (horror), In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick (history), and anything by Dick Francis if I need to relax in a hurry.

d) Sitcom?  Probably Big Bang Theory for quotability and validatory self-recognition (along with the majority of the TV watchers in the world), but Inbetweeners makes me snort with adolescent joy and embarrassment.  UK edition, of course.

What’s your most treasured material possession?

I’m a hoarder so pretty much everything I haven’t forced myself to get rid of or lost in moving house.  I do keep a cabinet of my late grandfather and dog’s possessions beside my bed (they still smell like their owners and if I’m particularly missing them I give their things a sniff), and have some of my husband and father-in-law’s teeth in a box on my bookshelves.  Donated, not stolen.  I don’t stalk adored relations with pliers when they sleep.

What is the single best item of clothing you’ve ever owned? 

I have a Manic Street Preachers Motorcycle Emptiness hoodie I got when I was a student which is very comfy.  I keep getting offered cash for it by strangers.  I’m also very keen on the sloppy Joe vintage cardigan I got for a couple of quid from a vintage shop in Belfast.  Psychedelic colours, loose fit, and dead comfy – perfect Gill attire.  But the single best item of clothing I’ve ever owned, ever, EVER, is the bright red jacket I had as a little girl.  It was soft, colourful, and comfy (I should start a drinking/Malteser game where you fill your mouth every time I say ‘comfy’) and had a furry turquoise liner.  My husband says I dress like a mad parrot, and I think it maybe began with this very item.

Who is your favourite sportsperson ever?

Sports.  Hmm.  Not my thing at all.  I like the ice-skater in Grizzly Bear’s video for Yet Again – does that count?  No?  Then Geoff Capes.  I seem to remember he’s nice to budgies.

Other than property, what is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

I’ve no idea.  Possibly my education – my fees were paid, but the student loans are still waiting for me to earn enough to start chipping away at the debt my degree incurred.

What’s your poison?

Coriander makes me feel crap and stinks to high heaven (I have the genetic makeup that means I can’t bear it – luckily, so does my husband, so we never have it in the house).  Do you mean drink?  I don’t drink alcohol, but I do like rum truffles.  Feel free to send me some.  I like to drink dandelion and burdock or a nice milkshake.  Not a nasty one like vanilla.

Who is the funniest person you’ve ever met?

My husband.  Usually he’s taking the piss out of me, but so long as he’s funny, I don’t mind.

Pick five words to describe yourself.

Hungry.  Colourful.  Rude.  Stubborn.  Creative.

Has there ever been a period in your life that you look back on and think “What the hell was I doing?”

Every bit that I remember – I tend to bumble along in a cloud of befuddlement and hope for the best – but most especially between the ages of 9 and 29.

What’s in your pockets right now?

Nowt, I’m in my PJs.  In the pocket/pouch of my Ghostbusters hoodie there’s a notepad, two pens (in case one runs out), petals, stones, wee bits of plastic, metal, and wood (c/o my 5 year old), some toilet paper, and a small carton of Lidl apple juice.  My jeans’ pockets hold my purse, chocolate-flavoured chapstick (it’s the closest I’ll ever come to wearing chaps or being one), house keys, my mum’s house keys (I forgot to give them back when I was in Scotland), a little silver locket I found in a charity shop with some of my cat’s and my child’s hair in, and a penny from 1917 which I dug up in my old garden and now carry everywhere.  It’s well-worn and smooth, and feels great to rub.

Can you dance?

If you were feeling generous, or drunk, you *could* call it that.

Vinyl, Tape, CD or MP3?

CD wherever possible, but I do have some tapes from my childhood and teens (especially mixtapes with handwritten inserts from old friends, and albums my dad gave me), and some vinyl including a yellow 7” of Roses in the Hospital which I had signed by three of the Manics when they came to Glasgow (post Richey’s disappearance).  I don’t trust MP3s at all.

What are you most likely to complain about in a hotel?

I worry about complaining somewhere like that in case someone spits in my food or wipes their cock on my pillow.  I never usually get to stay anywhere like a hotel, but if I did the thing I’d probably complain about would be noise from other guests (I like peace and quiet and loathe overhearing shagging) or the temperature/smell of a room.

What characteristics do you think you’ve inherited from your parents?

Pretty much everything, but magnified to the nth degree.  Physically, I’m just my dad with freckles and tits.

What’s your most unpleasant characteristic?

I’m forgetful, contradictory, and an unforgiving arsehole a lot of the time.  And cranky to boot.  So, basically, a typical writer.  And my husband would probably like me to point out that I hog the covers (my aim is to be the Gill-jam inside the duvet equivalent of a Swiss roll).

What’s your culinary speciality?

Cereal cocktail – different layers of sweet cereal in a bowl with milk and a spoon.

What single non-political thing winds you up the most?

Sooooo many to choose from.  Maybe vaguebooking, or attempting to personify disease.  Both make me shout at the screen.    

What’s your greatest fear?

Painful death, or a loved one suffering horribly, especially my son.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

I used to want it to be Digging the Grave by Faith No More, but now I think probably Everything Must Go by the Manics and Miss My Love Today by Gilbert O’Sullivan (who I adore), then Born To Die by Lana Del Rey followed by Do You Realise? by The Flaming Lips.  If I thought there was even the smallest chance of me listening in as a ghost, then there would also be some Mansun, Associates, Pulp, Supertramp, Moody Blues, and Divine Comedy too.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

The reverse of what everyone else does.  My hair is parted the wrong way in photos, my glasses are on squint, and I don’t like that, never have.  I see a messy, scruffy, smiley, overgrown teenager who weighs more than she should and has spots more often than not.  So long as I don’t also see one of those creepy parasitic worms in my eye like you get in places with dirty water or in Prometheus, I couldn’t care less what I look like.  I’d rather look out the window than in a mirror.

Recite a line of the greatest lyric ever written.

I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo-o-o-o, what the hell am I doing here?  I don’t belong here.

Happiness is…

Full heart, head, and belly.  Too twee?  Alright, good health, tasty food, a purring cat and a gripping book, album, or boxset of DVDs.  Maybe at home, maybe out on the hills or the beach.  Not being worried or over-stimulated or bored.  Definitely not being in a crowd, though I like spending time with my husband and son.  Chocolate.

What are your plans for this weekend?

A cheese and pickle toastie from our local café; reading, writing, and internetting; cake and custard; and probably a hubcap hunt with my son.


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