In My Own Time

30th November 2012 at 00:00
James McEnaney, English teacher at Arran High

Books

- As an English teacher I feel a bit under pressure here, but I have no hesitation in recommending Playing in the Light by Zoe Wicomb - a beautifully written novel by a desperately underappreciated author. During my undergraduate course I also came across Vladimir Nabokov. Most people will know of Lolita - utterly brilliant - but I enjoyed Pale Fire even more, although it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), Life of Pi (Yann Martel) and The Mezzanine (Nicholson Baker) have also had a big impact, while The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks is the first novel I remember enjoying in what I now consider an "adult" way.

Music

- Despite being born in 1986 my music collection is, for the most part, limited to work from 1960-79 (the usual suspects of Zep, Floyd, Jethro Tull and Joni Mitchell alongside slightly more left-field choices such as Todd Rundgren). If I could only listen to one artist for the rest of my life, however, it would be the one and only John Martyn, a man I was lucky enough to see twice before his death and whose music is virtually peerless. Two comparatively rare post-1970s slots in my collection are held by Jeff Buckley - Grace should be compulsory listening - and Michael Kiwanuka.

Film

- My friends have complained for years about the lack of light-hearted comedy in my collection. Of course, not every film needs to be Citizen Kane, but without a shadow of a doubt my favourite film of all time is 12 Angry Men. Every person I've ever shown it to has been blown away. I have also started a campaign to address a problem in my school - far too many pupils have never seen Star Wars.

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