In My Own Time - Brian Cooklin
When I am not devouring the latest Building the CurriculumNational 4 or 5Ucas consultation document for tea, I enjoy a catholic taste in literature. Since my only real claim to fame was an appearance on Mastermind, unsurprisingly I still enjoy my specialist topic - the novels of Thomas Hardy. His poetry, along with many others - Burns, MacCaig, Morgan and Browning - are a constant pleasure, though Shakespeare's plays and sonnets remain my favourite app. I enjoy books with a historical theme, like Simon Scarrow's trilogy on Wellington and Napoleon, but for sheer escapist fun you can't beat a Sean Dillon thriller by Jack Higgins.
Any film by Brian De Palma, like The Untouchables or Blow Out, instantly grabs my attention, as does Alan Parker's Midnight Express, but I am also a sucker for James Bond, Star Wars and Indiana Jones films (great combination for a new film idea!). For an uplifting experience, it is hard to beat The Concert, with its breathtaking rendition of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. And who can resist a Disney or Pixar film?
Radio 4 or Radio Scotland beckon for the morning commute, with Classic FM or Smooth for the return journey, to calm the savage breast after the stress of the working day. If I can wrest the remote control from the Law and Order aficionado who is my wife, I will watch drama or music on Sky Arts or The Mentalist (seems appropriate).
Any Russian composer, through to hymns and psalms, as well as Chopin, Strauss, Duffy and Santana, with a sprinkling of jazz. As an early Rolling Stones fan, they predominate, my favourite song being "Out of Time" from 1966.