Q&A with prominent Councillor Martin Biermann

Basingstoke Gazette: Martin Biermann Martin Biermann

COUNCILLOR Martin Biermann is a former Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, and has been a borough councillor since 1994 when he was first elected as an Independent member for Chineham.

Martin, who is married to Chansopha, has lived in Chineham since 1978, and the couple have two daughters, Fiona and Emma.

Martin was born in Manchester of an English mother and German father. He started his career as an engineering apprentice at age 14. He then moved into product design and subsequently heavy engineering sales. An export role followed, causing Martin to travel widely in Europe.

After a period in various roles back in the UK, and a spell of unemployment, Martin launched a small print business which has been his principal means of income for 26 years.

Martin was a founding member of Chineham Parish Council, on which he still serves.

1. Who was your childhood hero and why? Peter Pan. I liked the idea of flying.

2. What is your most precious possession, and why is it important to you? Nothing because of its material value. I’ll go for some level of sanity – if indeed I have it.

3. What was the first record/CD you bought? I think it was Lonnie Donegan singing Tom Dooley.

4. What is the radio/television show you hate to miss? Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue on Radio 4.

5. What is your favourite film? Doctor Zhivago.

6. What is your pet hate? Oh dear, probably too many. How about drivers (and cyclists) who do not signal.

7. What are you reading at the moment? I am a terribly slow reader and have had to give up on books quite some time ago. My sad confession is that once done with official papers, I sometimes get snatches of trade magazines – or even The Gazette.

8. If you were choosing a last meal, what would it be? Reibekuchen.

9. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be? Leonardo da Vinci – what an incredible spread of talent he displayed. Otherwise, I think I’d go for Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

10. If you had a time machine, where would it take you? Angkor, in Cambodia, when it was thriving as one of the world’s greatest architectural places.

11. If you were stranded on a desert island, what luxury would you choose to have with you? My photo collection and camera. I’d finally have time to sort my collection and have the chance to practise doing better.

12. What sports team do you support? Any non-professional team, especially if from Chineham/Basingstoke.

13. What was your first job? Mechanical engineering apprentice.

14. If you could take over someone’s job for the day, whose job would you choose? Middle East Envoy. I’d see if I could do more in a day than our ex-PM Mr Blair has done in six years!

15. What worries you the most? Human cruelty, to one another, other creatures and the planet at large.

16. What is your proudest moment? My unexpected appointment to senior export support position with the Department of Trade to promote UK engineering components in Europe.

17. What would you like your epitaph to be? He made a positive difference.

18. What’s your guilty pleasure? Being idle.

19. What one thing could change society for the better? Serious mitigation of the wealth gaps in most societies around the world.

20. What three words best describe you? Internationalist, dreamer, committed.

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