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In My Own Time - Barry Cooper

Director of studies at Loretto School, Musselburgh

Director of studies at Loretto School, Musselburgh

Books

- I love ideas: the bigger the better. I have eclectic interests but devour science fiction. It lets us bend worlds to our whim and explore the limits of what it means to be human. Authors like Isaac Asimov (above), Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard still set the standard, but more recent writers truly push the boundaries: one favourite is Iain Banks (new novel in October) and I love books like Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman, which is less science fiction, more science fantasy.

Film

- The concept of identity fascinates me. Dirty Harry, 13 Assassins and Watchmen all deal with the conflict between expectation and reality, from which the core of the protagonist is revealed. There have been some more great examples recently, from the well-oiled Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, to the stoic Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. Magic Mike is better: less coconut body lotion and more existential essay. It concerns what it means to be a man; in the end a man is, despite the lure of bright lights and ladies nights, the sum of his actions.

Art

- Colour has resonance for me: calm greens, angry yellows, sticky reds. I have never been musical; my passion is for moments caught in images rather than melody. I love work representing the reality of a single moment: sculptures like the Boxer of Quirinal (above), Alasdair Gray prints, or the portraits of Muttiah Muralitharan by Phil Hale and Peter Higgs by Ken Currie. I draw and paint whenever I can and started classes again recently. The Edinburgh Art Festival meant a flood of new images rose this August: from the tapestries at Dovecot to the work at the Edinburgh Printmakers.

A day spent wandering from page to page, or gallery to gallery, is never wasted.

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