- I remember when I had a time to read books during term time, about 15 years ago. Now I tend to re-read old favourites: Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon and the second book in his trilogy, Cloud Howe; Timothy Mo's The Redundancy of Courage. All are inspiring books about overcoming adversity. I am particularly fond of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It will be interesting to see how that complex story works out as a film. In these interesting times for the college sector, I have rediscovered my old copy of The Prince by Machiavelli!
- Martin Scorsese is probably my director of choice, and Goodfellas is the one everyone should see. The characters, cinematography and the soundtrack work so well and, with Henry Hill, on whom it was based, dying recently, there is a good reason to watch it again. Like most Guardian readers, I have become slightly obsessive about Scandinavian crime drama. I am still not sure who wins out over The Killing and The Bridge, but it is worth the debate. And for those of us interested in politics, Borgen was a "must watch". The box set of The Wire is a good standby for a wet weekend.
- Like my colleague Graeme Hyslop, I am a fan of Bellshill's finest, Teenage Fanclub, with their classic blend of guitars and Beach Boys harmonies. After all, everyone knows Pet Sounds is the greatest album of all time. Mogwai, another band from Lanarkshire, are worth exploring, particularly if you are a fan of the CSI franchise, as they feature on the soundtrack a lot. But beware - it is not all melodic. I have the new CD by The Brian Jonestown Massacre (Aufheben) on repeat. Unfortunately, I still see myself as a hip indie kid - despite the evidence to the contrary.