In My Own Time

20th April 2012 at 01:00
Martyn Call, Maths teacher at Hawick High, Scottish Borders

Book

Carl Sagan's Contact had me hooked at 12. It still does. When Ellie is really young she becomes fascinated with special numbers. As an adult working on the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) project, she discovers a radio signal from space. The signal contains hidden information to build a ship. A ship which travels to the stars, but what will she discover there? When my pupils are working on discovering pi I always read them a section that talks about the mystery of its never- ending decimal expansion, how some numbers don't end and can't be predicted. They, too, are hooked!

Music

When I get home, the first thing I turn on is Spotify. It organises my music and recommends some new bands. Music affects my mood, so when I need to concentrate I listen to something chilled and easy. My mum introduced me to Leonard Cohen and I can easily get lost in the lyrics of his songs. A good beat gives me energy. Nicki Minaj has provided this, while Gotye had me singing along when dusting. I was recently drawn in by the quality and tone of Asaf Avidan amp; the Mojos, who remind me of Janis Joplin.

Film

My film choices have been described as "terrifying". I'm not often given free rein in the aisles of Blockbuster. I have one clear winner: Mean Girls was written by Tina Fey, who is able to explain the complex relations between the social cliques at a school with a careful turn of phrase. It can be a little rude, but always funny. I'm collecting Studio Ghibli anime films just now. My nieces' favourite is My Neighbour Totoro, a story about two young girls who discover forest spirits in a wood near their house and the adventures they go on. The animation is magical.

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