English 19th century: Turner, Leighton, Alma-Tadema; Danish Skagen school,
American Impressionists - far superior to French and other Europeans.
Best Galleries: Wallace Collection, Lord Leighton's House, New Orleans
Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, USA. The Hermitage, St Petersburg,
complete with pictures fading in direct sunlight, and the ‘medieval’
Great conversations with interesting people:
Eg. war veterans and explorers, American entrepreneurs, pioneering managers
of startup companies, British scientists, retired British Colonial Service
Heathrow, arrogance, inheritance babes, sticky jars of marmalade, Ken
Livingstone and London Transport.
One Great Library:
The British Newspaper Library, Colindale, north-west London, where 200
years of journalism is kept.
Preferably Dalmatians – the quiet obedient variety, and the Hungarian
Vizsla, or a Staffordshire Bull Terrier – yes, really.
On a sunny morning on the River Thames, at Auriol Kensington Club, Hammersmith,
London, or a skiff at Richmond-upon-Thames, by Richmond Bridge. Up to
2002 I took part in the world's largest sporting event prior to modern
marathons – the Tideway Head, held in mid-March on the Thames
between Chiswick and Putney bridges (4.5 miles – reverse of university
boat race course), with around 400 eights taking part. It is a very
Brahm's Eine Deutsches Requiem, Chopin's Romance and other piano pieces,
Rachmaninov No.2, corpus of English hymns, Handel From Scratch (mass
concerts of amateur singers), Beethoven symphonies, .
Laurence of Arabia, Ryan's Daughter, Far From Madding Crowd, Dead Poets
Society, Teacher's Pet, Manon des Sources.
‘Oxford Miniguide to English Usage’, compiled by E C S Weiner
‘Microcosmographica Academia’, F M Cornford – Cambridge’s
guide to success.
‘Passing Time in the Loo’, Compact Classics
‘Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations’, OUP
‘Bodyguard of Lies’, by Antony Cave Brown
‘The Keys to Creativity’, BBC Books
‘Alexander The Great’, Robin Lane Fox
‘The War of Wars’, by Robert Harvey
‘California Impressionism’, Abbeville Press
‘American Impressionism’, William H Gerdts
‘Taxi Driver Wisdom’, Mickenberg
‘How to Stay Alive in the Woods’, Bradford Angier
‘Scenes from a Relationship: Britain’s German Heritage’,
‘Turner: a Life’, James Hamilton
Working on Radio 4 Summaries and Bulletins; Watching my doctor father
saving many lives with his bare hands, and watching my parents build
the biggest cardiology practice in Europe; watching the GB Eight win
Olympic Gold in Sydney the day after Redgrave’s Four won Gold;
Dating in the 1980s – great music, great times.
Eight years at British boarding school, where conditions would now be
considered illegal, bitten by snake, shot at in speedboat on Sea of
Galilee, getting marooned in Mexican mountains after a tropical storm
swept away the landscape, narrowly avoided exit through malnutrition,
mugged in Siberia. Chased by wolverine in Canadian taiga, and eaten
alive by mosquitoes and black flies, when working as lumberjack. In
1962: watching Russian missile fleet returning home from Cuba, off island
of Crete, from the deck of a Greek cruise liner.