In My Own Time
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is beautifully crafted, evocative, atmospheric, searingly sad and powerful. Having bought The Hunger Games trilogy to read over the summer, I seem instead to be in retro reading mode after a week packing up to move to our new building in August: a revelatory (and humbling) week browsing six decades of English teaching buried in dusty cupboards. I have unearthed minutes of the school's debating society from 1962-1968 and class sets of The Mayor of Casterbridge, Far From the Madding Crowd and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. It reminded me of my dissertation having been inspired by a brilliant teacher, himself a Hardy enthusiast. I've borrowed a copy of each novel to re-read this summer.
- I absolutely love film, the whole process of going to the cinema and being part of a group of spectators totally absorbed in the other world created by the film. I use film and TV clips a great deal at school because they are narrative forms today's pupils enjoy and willingly engage with. It's hard to pin down one, but personal favourites over the years include The Philadelphia Story, Annie Hall (my most-viewed film), The Piano and Field of Dreams - the list goes on.
- Like film, it is hard to name one piece of music I love most; there's a different favourite album for each decade of my life. I love live performances of music - for example, Santana at the old Edinburgh Playhouse (mid-1970s), Handel's Messiah performed in the tiny St Clement's chapel in Rodel, Harris (1996-ish), Van Morrison at the Hebridean Celtic Festival (2005) and Scottish Opera's The Marriage of Figaro at Eden Court (2010).