Cultural Life, The Independent


Books: I'm reading 'The Constant Nymph' by Margaret Kennedy, because it deals with a subject close to the one I've just written about – a teenage girl's obsession with an older man. In my novel, it's a teacher; in this novel, it's a family friend. Published in 1924, it reads as though written much later. When I'm not reviewing, I go back to the classics, or quirkier 20th-century novels. Before this, I read 'The Franchise Affair' by Josephine Tey and 'Girl Reading' by Katie Ward.

Television: I'm hooked on 'Glee'. Other than that, I do the classic working-parent thing, by catching up on the big series with box sets. Lovefilm is my TV salvation! I'm inevitably addicted to 'Mad Men', and have had a little re-watch of 'Twin Peaks' 20 years later. It pretty much stands up.

Theatre: I admit to being a total philistine when it comes to the theatre – partly because it's just too darn expensive. I recently walked out of 'The Children's Hour' because it seemed to be lacking any dramatic tension or drive. 'Jerusalem' was the best theatre I have ever seen. A masterpiece.

Music: I recently heard Ana-Maria Vera playing Mozart and Chopin. I'm also listening to Tanita Tikaram, because I think her recent work is very good, and I'm also enjoying Jocelyn West singing Hildegard von Bingen. My standby is Bruch's 'Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor'! As ever, I'll loyally trot along to see Debbie Harry...

Visual Arts: The Susan Hiller at the Tate Britain was amazing. I'd first seen her at the Camden Arts Centre, which I like as it's local and nice to be in. I recently saw Kerry Tribe there. The exhibitions are always quite extreme, but thought-provoking. (more)