- Alasdair Gray's Lanark is the book I have read more often than any other, and each time I find more to enjoy in the writing and style. Most recently I went back to it after reading Gray's A Life in Pictures, and was amazed at how autobiographically referential Lanark is.
- Directors attract me to films and my favourites are Ken Loach and Pedro Almodovar. Of their works I think the current top-hitters respectively are Carla's Song and Volver. Friends went to Nicaragua at the time of the revolution, so the story of the bus drive from Glasgow heading to that country in Carla's Song was moving. Volver is one of many Almodovar films with very strong female characters, and in this film the bonding between the women is the backbone of the plot. I am also keen to find new directors and this year loved Poupoupidou (also known as Nobody Else But You) from French director Gerald Hustache-Mathieu.
- I can honestly write that I had not watched much TV for many years, then along came Saturday night Scandinavian dramas. Sarah Lund (The Killing), Katrine Ries Jensen (Those Who Kill) and Saga Noren (The Bridge) are three strong female detectives who all face realistically portrayed personal and professional dilemmas. This is also the case for Birgitte Nyborg, the prime minister in Borgen, a great insight into the compromises made in coalition government.
- As teachers in Scotland we have a powerful history. A significant exponent of this history was John Maclean, "the fighting dominie", so the Ballad of John Maclean always stirs me and reminds me of the real power of education.