In My Own Time

18th May 2012 at 01:00
Alex Wood, former head, now working at the Scottish Centre for Studies in School Administration


My recent reading has been a familiarisation with the work of James Robertson. I started with the ambitious And the Land Lay Still (which effectively spanned my lifetime), before reading The Testament of Gideon Mack and The Fanatic. As works of fiction, each one newly read has surpassed the previous one. I was also enthralled by Richard Holloway's revel in paradox, Leaving Alexandria. My current read is Peter Wright's fascinating exploration of Scotland's east-west watershed, Ribbon of Wildness.


I'm happy with a wide range of music from rock to folk, classical to country. Over the next month I'll be at gigs by Elton John and The Chieftains - the latter's latest album, Voice of Ages, with its wonderful merging of traditional and contemporary music, really grabbed me. Amnesty International's 50th anniversary album, Chimes of Freedom, covering the works of Dylan, hero of my youth, also spanned most of my lifetime, but my recent favourite must be Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas. Old? Seventy-seven but still youthful and inspiring.


My car radio is permanently tuned to Radio 3 and I don't watch a lot of TV, but I love the irreverence of Have I Got News For You? The series I love are American: Ally McBeal for kooky humour; Nurse Jackie for a brilliant mix of sharp observation and flawed but real characters; and the police shows, The Wire and Homicide, with their baddies with redeeming features and very imperfect goodies.


The movies I've loved tend to be ancient: Casablanca, The Graduate, Apocalypse Now and, above all, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In writing this, I realise how I still love so much from my youth.

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