In My Own Time
My news-gathering habits are shaped by time. It's Sky News or BBC News 24 for quick-fire updates, BBC Radio Scotland and Radio 4 for analysis, and independent radio stations such as Radio Forth, where I worked in the 1990s, for local bulletins. At GTCS we sift the papers daily. There are some excellent education correspondents in Scotland. I have sparred with most of them and have great respect for their work. My TV guilty pleasure is The Sopranos, a warts-and-all drama about the New Jersey mafia. It's an outstanding production, which I watch again and again. As a family, we resisted Sky on the basis that sport would be a constant backdrop. In the end we relented and that's what happened. Sky Sports is heaven: even the darts is packaged brilliantly.
Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls is a favourite. The closing scene, with Robert Jordan trapped under his horse on the floor of the pine forest as the fascists approach is gut-wrenching. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is another favourite, as is The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon - or anything by Chabon. I tend not to read about the travails of other communications professionals, but George Stephanopoulos's account of life as Bill Clinton's media man is enthralling. I co-wrote a history of the Haddington Pipe Band - I play the bagpipes. Although it appeals to a particular audience, I am told it is a decent read.
I have reached an age where I am not afraid to say my favourite music is that of the 1980s. I grew up with pop and I still think it's the most entertaining, mood-improving genre. Popped in Souled Out by Wet Wet Wet is a classic album, and I have been known to take to the dance floor to anything by Whitney Houston.