Every Saturday in the Times’s supplement, Saturday Review, there is a page called ‘My Culture Fix’ where a celebrity answers questions about their cultural life.

 I’m waiting patiently for the Times to invite me but realising I’ll probably wait forever, I thought I’d pretend they’ve seen the error of their ways.  My answers go like this:

My Favourite author or book:  William Boyd, with Ian McEwan a close second.

The book I’m reading:  Old Filth by Jane Gardam.

The book I wish I’d written:  Anything that became a best seller.  None of my books have made the grade.

The book I couldn’t finish:  Too many to mention.  My rule is 60 pages and if I’m not enjoying a book by then, I quit and start another.

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read:  The Bible.  I’ve read bits of it of course, but not the whole thing (but would it survive my 60-page rule?).

My favourite film:  Witness.

My favourite play/opera:  La Traviata.

The box set I’m hooked on:  None.

My favourite TV series.  Breaking Bad.  My wife and I watched all five series.

My favourite piece of music:  Schubert’s String Quintet in C major, written two months before the composer’s death in 1828. 

The last work of art that made me cry:  None.  Laugh yes, cry no.

The lyric I wish I’d written:  ‘Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack, a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.’  Leonard Cohen.

The music that saved me:  Saved me?  Sounds like a lifejacket.  A very puzzling question.

The instrument I played:  The piano fleetingly.  My music teacher was fat and smelt.  Lessons with her were the equivalent of aversion therapy.

The instrument I wish I’d learnt:  The piano.

The music that cheers me up:  Baroque music with cheerful tunes.

If I could own one painting what would it be?  A watercolour of Fawley Church done by Bob Rudd in the style of John Piper.  I already own it – the artist gave it to me as a present for my 70th birthday.

The place I feel happiest:  In the Cotswolds.  I love the cottages and the drystone walls.

My guiltiest cultural pleasure:  Loving Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Who would I invite to a fantasy dinner party?  Six people, three dead and three alive: Albert Ellis, Johnathan Millar, Leonard Cohen, Stephen Fry, Matthew Syed and Victoria Coren Mitchell (to see if I could understand her jokes and to count the number of times she says, ‘just so.’)

And the music I’d put on:  None, I hate background music.

The concert I’m looking forward to:  The English Concert at Wigmore Hall.

I wasted an evening watching or listening to:  It was an afternoon actually, watching Tar in the cinema.  Boring and far too long.  In my opinion, no film should be longer than 90 minutes.

The performance I walked out of:  I invariably stay, convinced it must get better.

Overrated: Picasso.

Underrated:  Watercolours.

Having done this, I can quite understand why the Times haven’t invited me.  Ah well……..

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