Written by Standard Issue

Misc

Getting to know you… Ashley Davies

If you’re a regular visitor to Standard Issue, you won’t need telling that we’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of contributors who we love dearly. We thought it was about time we let them introduce themselves properly. Ashley Davies is waving. Don’t leave her hanging.

Ashley Davies faceName: Ashley Davies

Age: 45

Location: Edinburgh

Official job title: Writer/editor

What was the first thing you wanted to be? A synchronised swimmer. As a kid I was convinced I’d be ‘discovered’ by a synchronised swimming scout while doing underwater handstands. I’m not prepared to give up hope.

When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? About six months ago. I’d spent more than 20 years doing straight journalism and only recently got the courage to wiggle diagonally in a different direction.

What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Once at primary school our homework was to write a poem about a colour. The headteacher barged in to mark them and his critiques were so Cowellesque in their brutality that nearly everyone cried.

We were seven years old. What a dick. Bullies shouldn’t be allowed to teach. Luckily I had some fantastic, inspiring English teachers later on.

When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? I’m a nature nerd: a lot of people who grew up in Africa are. I like eyeballing birds and animals, and messing about in forests and on hills and beaches.

I’m also keen on mindless gluttony and quality drama and spend a shocking amount of time in the bath.

What has been your proudest creative moment to date? An elegant limerick about Pauline Quirke twerking in a merkin. It got one lousy like on Twitter. Screw you, Twitter.

What would you like to erase from your past? Last week I accidentally put a bag of dog poop in a package recycling bin. I think that’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. Apart from when I shot a bird when I was nine.

What brings you most joy? Funny people and funny animals.

What makes you angry? Sniffing; cruelty to animals and children; when people think caring about animals means you don’t care about humans. And I really lose my shit when I can’t reach stuff in overcrowded kitchen cupboards.

“Every time I hear A Night Like This by The Cure, it makes me feel how I did when I first started playing it to death aged 16: happy, excited for the future and knowing that in the future I’d feel nostalgic for that exact moment.”

Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? I love the way Dan Rhodes writes. It amazes me how much wit, pathos and truth he can pack into a tight sentence without being showy. Whenever I need inspiration I thumb through Anthropology and marvel at what he can do.

How do you define success? Challenging a sullen baby to peekaboo on a bus and winning.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? The 10-minute rule: if there’s something you dread doing or can’t get the motivation to start, just commit to doing it for 10 minutes. You might end up enjoying it, doing a good job and learning something.

What’s your favourite photograph of yourself? I hate having my photo taken but this one makes me laugh till I cough because of what’s going on in the background.

Ashley dancing in IndonesiaWhen I was a teenager, living in Indonesia, my mother made me dress up in traditional gear to perform a Javanese dance I’d been taught. The village children were forced to watch me perform. Look at their faces. Poor little buggers are really, really suffering.

Stockwell the catWhere did you go on your favourite holiday? It’s usually the last place I’ve been, especially if there were cats there.

Who can’t you live without? I don’t know yet.

What can’t you live without? Lip balm, tea and (indie rock band) The National.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Tidying up my knicker drawer.

Who is your favourite person? Husband-features. He’s funny, kind, clever and affectionate.

Who’s your favourite animal? Stockwell, our stripy cat. She’s violent but also quick to purr. She’s 15 but lives in a state of suspended animation so will probably outlive us all.

Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? A Night Like This by The Cure.

Not because of any lyrical content, but every time I hear it, it makes me feel how I did when I first started playing it to death aged 16: happy, excited for the future and knowing that in the future I’d feel nostalgic for that exact moment.

What are your favourite three articles at Standard Issue? I enjoyed Sian Bevan’s piece about Edinburgh, which really resonated because I’m a newcomer who’s also fallen in love with the city; Mickey Noonan’s brave and moving piece about assumptions people make about women without children, and Rowan Whiteside’s Mooncup review. She’s a lovely writer.

Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? To where shall we deliver the lifetime supply of Bobbi Brown makeup?

@MsAshleyDavies

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Written by Standard Issue