In My Own Time
I recently saw Anna Karenina at the Dundee Rep, which has to be one of my favourites along with War and Peace. How did Tolstoy get to know so much about what makes us tick? I try to alternate between novels and serious stuff. I think you need both - the former as a window into human imagination and the latter to keep abreast of the complexities of current reality. I'm now re-reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment along with Abbott and MacTaggart's Overschooled but Undereducated.
I'm a big fan of the Coen Brothers, from The Big Lebowski through O Brother, Where Art Thou?, to the remake of True Grit. It is tough to pick an all-time favourite film but Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, starring Gerard Depardieu, would be up there.
Radio 4 is my constant companion when I'm working from home, but I recently watched on TV David Attenborough's Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life. It is worth every penny of the licence fee, fulfilling the mission to "inform, educate and entertain" all at once. The best of HBO is great - The Sopranos,The Wire and The West Wing would be top of the TV pile, too. I used to watch a lot of 24-hour news but got increasingly fed up listening to some of the inane nonsense too often passed off as informed comment.
My "desert island discs" would be drawn from classical, rock, pop, jazz, blues and hip-hop. My iTunes file has lots of great new stuff that my girls listen to, but few of these songs make it into the soundtrack of my life. Those that do tend to remind me of bands I listened to at school and university in the 70s and 80s.