Culture vulture

5th September 2003 at 01:00
In the first of a new series, teachers reveal what inspires them. We start with English teacher Kevin Brown, 24

Best book ever

It would have to be two. First, any of the Red Dwarf novels by Grant Naylor (Rob Grant and Doug Naylor). This series about the adventures of the last human left alive (suspended in space) is fantastic entertainment. The humour is right on my level: lots of ridicule, very studied, very clever.

Second, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, one of the BBCBig Read Top 100 books. Every time I read it I see something else in it. The innocence of Lenny has a strange appeal.I also love it because it helps me survive with lower sets. You would expect them to be cynical, but they get into it immediately.

Best film ever

Saving Private Ryan (1998) provided one of the defining moments of my teenage years.I grew up a lot watching it. It's artistically impressive and I love action-hero plots, but it brought the experience of war home to me.

When older people reminisced about the war on Remembrance Day, I used to find it sentimental. Not after seeing that film.

Best recent outing

The West End production of Willy Russell's musical Blood Brothers brought me close to tears. You tend to think that teenagers are untouchable, hardened, but I noticed that even young people in the audience were trying hard not to show their emotions.

Best on the web I use it for a wide range of things, both personally and for work.

Something for school

Any kind of performance poetry, which I think brings poetry alive for young people. Since seeing John Agard and John Cooper Clarke in Cardiff, I've been performing poems in class and had a great reaction.

Treats in store

The Meatloaf concert in Cardiff in November. I love Jim Steinman's theatricality, and the music exudes energy. Since I've been running the library reading club, I have discovered contemporary teenage fiction and I love it. In the past it seemed a kind of impoverished version of adult literature, but there are so many exciting books now. So I'm also looking forward to reading Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer. I love that blend of fantasy and humour, the wordplay and the puns - a bit like Meatloaf lyrics.

Kevin Brown teaches at Whitchurch high school, Cardiff. He was talking to Elaine Williams

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