In My Own Time

20th January 2012 at 00:00
Martin Osler, Head of corporate communication and information services at the General Teaching Council for Scotland


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.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today