In My Own Time
- Current affairs and sport dominate my reading. I've just finished Ed Miliband's biography but suspect the most interesting pages of that story are still being written. Daniel Gray's Stramash is one man's love letter to small-town Scotland, and restores your faith in football and society. I've been a huge fan of boxing for as long as I can remember, and have collected every edition of Boxing News and Boxing Monthly since 1993. I've recently rediscovered Glenn Paterson, who is probably the finest writer Belfast has produced. He has a brilliant way with words and a sharp eye for the many inconsistencies of the city.
- I could live without TV but couldn't survive without radio. Podcasts have become an essential part of my day. From Our Own Correspondent is a particular favourite, as is Radio Ulster's Talkback. Radio 4 does a number of brilliant comedy podcasts including The News Quiz and Old Harry's Game. Radio is the acid test for comedy.
- My partner is the boss when it comes to TV. But she's a teacher, so I do get to watch news and comedy shows while she does her marking. Phoenix Nights (pictured) and Still Game are two favourites. Both are warm, funny and full of pathos. There's a scene in Phoenix Nights where the club staff stand up to a group of obnoxious students, which never fails to make me smile.
- My dad is a huge Rolling Stones fan and would play their records every Sunday afternoon when I was a child; he's passed that love on to me. I like hopeful music, and artists such as Foy Vance, Sigur Ros, Billie Holiday and Paul Robeson feed the soul. My partner and I have just been to see Girls Aloud at the SECC, so read into that what you will.