What were you like at school?
I was quite academic. I really enjoyed school and would go back tomorrow if I had the chance. I was also a bit cheeky but because I was academic, I used to get on quite well with the teachers and could get away with it. I think I was a bit of a scoundrel.
What’s your greatest fear?
Darth Vader. Star Wars was at the height of its original release when I was growing up. I was petrified of Darth Vader – and still am. I remember having a meeting at the City Arts Centre when I was a councillor and there was a Star Wars exhibition on. There was a capsule which was completely dark inside apart from a little red light and when you walked in a light came on and there was Darth Vader. Just as I was going to go in, a couple walked in and then Darth Vader appeared and the woman turned round and I was standing there and she screamed. To be fair, I think we both screamed.
Who would be your dream dinner date?
This isn’t meant to sound morbid at all but I’d love to have dinner with my dad. He passed away at the age of 39 when I was just nine so I didn’t get the chance to do grown up things like a dinner party with him. I’d obviously invite my mum and brother but the special guests would be all the post-war past Scotland and Hearts FC football managers so we could share in our passion for football. What great anecdotes and stories we would hear.
And what would you make them?
I’d don my “licence to grill” apron and whip up a garlic chilli prawn salad starter, rib eye steaks for main with a side of mac cheese, and anything chocolate for dessert. I’m into healthy living!
What’s your most treasured possession?
My 1998 Scottish Cup Final programme. Hearts beat Rangers 2-1.
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said about you?
I got in a taxi from the airport just after the election in 2015 when I was the only Scottish Labour MP left so people sort of knew me. I used to just try and keep my head down or check emails or whatever. Anyway my phone rang so I answered it and said ‘Ian Murray speaking’ and I could see the driver looking in his mirror at me. When I finished the call the driver said: “You must be really disappointed, you’ve got the same name as that fat bastard politician”. I said: “Yeah and I also share it with a Hibs footballer”.
Being a Hearts fan, sharing a name with a Hibs player is probably worse, no?
There’s a funny story about that actually. When I was chairing the Foundation of Hearts, I got a phone call from a BBC Scotland sports journalist one day. It was at the same time as Hibs was looking for a new manager. Ian Murray the footballer was managing Dumbarton at the time, so they phoned me – thinking it was him – to ask if I was interested in the Hibs job!
What do you dislike about your appearance?
I have always been overweight and I always try to make an attempt to lose it. So I’ll end up losing weight for six weeks or so, then reward myself with a tub of Häagen-Dazs.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Sex and the City. I’ve watched every episode. I even have a board game! I’m also a huge fan of The Muppets.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
I have been watching The Crown and I think it would be quite interesting to go back to Victorian times and see the changes in the country and also to live a much simpler life without technology.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never let anyone tell you can’t achieve anything. I think it came from Danny Costello, the deputy head at Wester Hailes Education Centre. I give that advice a lot, particularly when I go into schools.
What is your favourite film or TV programme?
My favourite TV programme of all time is Fawlty Towers. That and Friends.
What was your best holiday?
Driving down the west coast of America this summer in an RV. That was fantastic.
What are you most proud of?
I think I’m most proud of having run my own businesses in an area I enjoyed. I used to do festivals and concerts and was broadcasting on the internet back in 1998 before everyone was doing it. Also I’m proud of my involvement in getting Hearts out of liquidation.
What are your hobbies?
Well, when the time allows, I try and watch Hearts as often as I can, although it diminishes every year for some reason. I enjoy reading but don’t do it nearly enough so slouching late at night in front of a box set is always a good way to wind down and relax. Just finished the Crown and starting on Vietnam on Netflix.
If you weren’t a politician, what job would you like to do?
When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a bus driver. I think my dream job would be teaching. It would have been a good profession to get in to.