In My Own Time
Having been a voracious reader in my youth (pre-teaching!) I have had to adapt to the demands of the job as well as managing postgraduate study. In term-time I rely on crime writing and thrillers, particularly Ian Rankin - even post-Rebus - and Christopher Brookmyre. His A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil and Pandemonium are written with such acute understanding of childhood and growing up that, even among the gore and explosions, they are incredibly moving. Holidays see me slide into books requiring more effort; most recently, I started Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend in a Coma. The dawn of a new term drew my reading to a close - of that book, anyway.
Had I been a teenager now, I would have been branded an emo. With Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I liked my music raw. Adult life moved me on but I missed the joy of really connecting with a piece of music or lyric. Thankfully, a late-night viewing of Elbow at Glastonbury gave that back. Seldom Seen Kid had me scouring the inlay card for lyrics and learning them by heart like I haven't done for years. The album Build a Rocket Boys! could have been written for the London riots - a quiet and thoughtful response.
I am a box-set fan and will sit night after night watching one title. It started with The Wire. I found series one a real battle and had to watch most of it with subtitles to have any chance of understanding what was going on. Series four was the real highlight. That cop-killer Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski can become a caring and empathetic teacher without sliding into the dreaded Dead Poets Society-style is real genius. I came late to the Mad Men party but love every smoke-filled, misogynistic minute.