Culture vulture

13th August 2004 at 01:00
Adventure-seeker Terry Hircock enjoys wild locations and amazing arias

Summer projects

There's a lot of building work going on in school: contractors renewing the roof, putting in windows and doors. I liaise with them in case of problems with dust or noise. I supervise cleaning the school. I find the summer boring: there are no children, no noise, no one to talk to. I left school at 15 without qualifications, and a year later I had to go to college because no one would give me a job. During term time I tell some of the children that.

Holiday reading

I like humour: Tom Sharpe's Wilt; John Mortimer. I'm planning to read Spike Milligan's autobiography, and Captain Scott, Ranulph Fiennes's book about the Antarctic explorer.

Summer shows

I want to see a Shakespeare play at the Globe in London. I've been told they're good. I don't go to films unless there's some adventure in them. I liked Touching the Void; I've just read the book by Joe Simpson.

Away from it all

I'm going to the western side of Crete for a week, to walk in the White Mountains. I love the people and the culture. It will be terribly hot. A few weeks ago I went to Austria to walk in Kitzbul in the Alps. The weather was terrible. I tend to do adventurous holidays. I've travelled in central Asia, South America, Yemen and Oman. I'm going to India at Christmas. My all-time adventure would be to go to the Antarctic - I'm fascinated by the wildlife: the penguins, seals and whales - but it's getting the money and the time off. I'm also going to the Verona Opera Festival this month, to see "Aida". I saw it at the Royal Opera House a while ago and it was rubbish - six Roman soldiers dressed like robots. Even the people in the pound;180 seats booed.

Passion for opera

I first went to the English National Opera 10 years ago with the school: they needed someone to help supervise. I loved it. Now I try to go most weeks. I've just seen Puccini's La Fanciulla del West in Holland Park. I'm going to the Met in New York in December. Last time I went there it was La Boheme. The voices were amazing. I got quite emotional.

Terry Hircock, 52, is site manager at Dormer's Wells high school in the London borough of Ealing, and a National Literacy Trust Reading Champion in recognition of his work encouraging students to read. He was talking to Karen Gold. The Verona Opera Festival runs until August 31. Friday magazine, which features Culture vulture every week, returns on September 3

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