Culture vulture

27th May 2005 at 01:00
Tony Barrett imports Melbourne's finest for his UK exchange class

Best book ever

Dirt Music by Tim Winton, a western Australian writer who writes beautifully about coastal landscape and characters who live on the beaches, on the margins of life. His novels are a mix of grittiness and beauty.

Best film ever

We've been going to a film club in Trowbridge and lately we saw Dream Life of Angels (pictured, directed by Erick Zonca), which is extraordinary and moving. You get these characters with amazing strength, who shed light through the murk all around them.

Inspiring event

The four of us (wife Erica plus Edith, 14 and Patrick, 17) visited London in March and walked around the city for two whole days. We went into St Paul's just as Evensong was happening and I felt I was listening to the purest sound I have ever heard while only 50 metres away was the mayhem of London. The cathedral provided a very thin skin, yet the transformation was complete.

Favourite resource

The work of cartoonist Michael Leunig, who lives in Victoria and has been drawing cartoons for Melbourne's The Age newspaper for 30 years. He has all the savagery of a political cartoonist. I use his work as a source in history and politics classes. He has also produced a book of daily prayers, delightful poems about very ordinary things, and I use these for reflective moments in classes and staff meetings.

To share with pupils As an antidote to the Australia presented by Neighbours and Home and Away I would like to take my English pupils to an Australian footfall league grand final. It's the ultimate piece of theatre, a good humoured cross between mud wrestling and ballet. And I'd like to get them hooked on Kath and Kim, which has come to BBC2 (Thursdays 10pm), an achingly funny series about a suburban mother and daughter in Melbourne.

Tony Barrett, 50, is an Australian who has come to England for a year's job, home and car swap with history teacher Steve Hallam at Ralph Allen school, Bath. Mr Hallam meanwhile teaches at Damascus college, Ballarat, near Melbourne, an 11-18 Catholic school where Mr Barrett is one of two deputy heads. Mr Barrett was talking to Elaine Williams

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