In My Own Time

14th December 2012 at 00:00
Bill Maxwell, Chief executive of Education Scotland

Books

- I found The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett a compelling analysis of how tolerance of income inequality impacts on every aspect of society. Everyone should read it. I also read around my leisure activities. Troll Wall by Tony Howard is a fascinating account of British climbers succeeding against the odds, and Pedalare! Pedalare! by John Foot was an intriguing exploration of how deeply cycle racing is embedded in the Italian national psyche. Andrew Greig's At The Loch of the Green Corrie was a joy, set around magnificent Assynt.

TV, radio, film

- We're drifting increasingly to boxed sets, such as the recent Scandinavian offerings The Bridge and Borgen. For lighter viewing we are hooked on Modern Family. University Challenge is about the only show I try to pick up every week. In film, Amour had a deep impact, with its gruelling account of love at the end of life. BBC Radio 4 is my default radio station, but I've also discovered the joys of Radio 6, particularly Cerys Matthews.

Music

- My daughters try to keep me in touch, so I am enjoying Alt-J and The xx. We're going to see Rufus Wainwright (pictured) soon, which makes me feel old, as his father Loudon was one of my favourites 30 years ago. Leonard Cohen's recent album is magnificent and Neil Young can do no wrong.

Stage

- With my better half working in the arts, we see a fair bit of theatre and dance. We have enjoyed the rise of the National Theatre of Scotland: Black Watch was one of the most moving pieces of drama I have ever seen (twice) and Alan Cumming's one-man Macbeth was brilliant, as was Menage a Trois with Claire Cunningham.

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