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‘My Cultural Life’ – Luisa Queiros

‘My Cultural Life’ – Luisa Queiros

Mr Mark Zacharias, Head of English at Stamford High School, has started our latest lockdown project  – ‘My Cultural Life’. Inspired by the Times newspaper, amongst others: the Schools present interviews from individuals across our Stamford community, considering their cultural interests, loves and shortcomings.

We hope that these interviews help you to find inspiration during the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in, and that you enjoy learning a little more about us here at Stamford!

View all of our entries here.

 

This entry is brought to us by Luisa Queiros, Year 13 at Stamford Sixth Form, who describes her cultural interests below.

The box set I’m hooked on…

Does ‘Frasier’ count? I watch at least 2 episodes a day these days – in my opinion the humour is unrivalled! I’ve also been watching ‘The Hollow Crown’ which was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henriad and Wars of the Roses Tetralogy that aired on the BBC a while ago which I’ve been equally enjoying; I must admit that what pushed me to start streaming it was seeing a rather humorous review of its Richard II that mentioned ‘telenovela zooms’.

My favourite play…

It’s hard to say, but probably Stefano Massini’s ‘The Lehman Trilogy’. I saw the National Theatre’s 2019 production of it around this time last year and I was astounded by how incredible a performance one can put on with only 3 actors and a stage constructed to resemble a relatively standard inner-city office. ‘Lehman’ is the type of story that I tend to enjoy that isn’t particularly driven by a specific plot-goal; rather it is focused on the life of an immigrant family and the business they found across two centuries and the way their lives and fortunes are affected by the changing face of American capitalism. It is without a doubt both fast-paced and witty and deeply touching and overall entrancing play I would definitely recommend.

My favourite author or book…

Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ – I had been in a bit of a slump with reading when I first started it but I ended up practically devouring this book!

The book I’m reading…

I’m currently getting through ‘The King’s Dogge’ by Nigel Green which I borrowed from the History department before lockdown. It tells the story of Francis Lovell, who was a key ally of Richard III.

The book I wish I had written…

‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ by Kurt Vonnegut

The book that saved me…

I have to give credit to Patrick Ness and Francisco X. Stork’s works credit was the pinnacle of my childhood and, in my opinion, some of the best YA books out there. ‘Of Mice and Men’ also really got me interested in English as a subject in school.

The book I couldn’t finish…

I’ve been struggling to get through ‘How To Be a Conservative’ by Roger Scruton though I don’t know whether that’s because of the book itself or because lockdown has been slowly rotting my brain.

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read…

There are plenty, but for now I’ll say ‘Wuthering Heights’.

My favourite film…

I know I only watched it because it was on the A-Level French syllabus but I really enjoyed ‘La Haine’, not only thematically relevant and aesthetically pleasing but also as someone who’s lived in France I found the ‘banter’ just spot-on.

My favourite TV series…

I don’t think I watch TV enough to have a clear favourite but I really enjoy ‘Taskmaster’ and ‘What We Do In the Shadows’.

My favourite piece of music…

I have never listened to a piece of music that has given me such an intense feeling as ‘Summertime’ by Stromae. He hasn’t been active in the music industry for a while, but I really think he combines clever and relatable lyrics with a unique sound.

The last TV programme that made me cry…

I don’t tend to watch TV but the last movies that made me cry were ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ and ‘Dead Poets’ Society’.

The lyric I wish I’d written…I like the lines

‘I don’t care what consequence it brings

I have been a fool for lesser things’

from Billy Joel’s ‘For the Longest Time’

My guiltiest cultural pleasure…

The SparkNotes blog churns out quizzes for Literature students that are usually entitled something like ‘How Indecisive are You, On a Scale From 1 to Hamlet?’ (genuine example) which are far more fun to take than they should be. I also follow a few accounts that make ‘incorrect quotes’-type posts which essentially just take jokes from other media and apply them to characters from classic literature and some of them are very amusing!

If I could own one painting…

Velázquez’s ‘The Immaculate Conception’ – it’s my lockscreen background for a reason!

The instrument I wish I’d learnt…

The piano is definitely one – it’s just so versatile and I always feel the temptation to play on one of those street pianos you find around cities which is mostly only constrained by the fact that I am aware that I can only play ‘Chopsticks’ at best. Despite how tricky I’ve heard double-reed instruments are, I’ve also grown fond of the oboe through listening to Albioni’s oboe concertos.

The music that cheers me up…

If I need something more relaxing to put me in a better mood, these days I turn to HaSeul’s ‘Let Me In’ which has amazing vocals, but if I want something more energetic, you can never go wrong with some Diana Ross or city-pop-type funk (‘Lady’ by Yubin and ‘Love Together’ by Nona Reeves are particular favourites). Green Leaves’ ‘Yatta!’ (‘We Did It!) is also great because it’s essentially an almost disgustingly peppy pop song made by comedians to parody the relentless optimism of Japanese corporate anthems but, despite the irony, its cheerfulness (‘We’re lucky just because we’re alive!’) and the sheer ridiculousness of the music video is something that tends to cheer me up at least a little.

The place I feel happiest…

In my Nana’s village in Portugal during the summer festival when it’s late at night but everyone’s still dancing and playing football and talking in the café and the village is still very much alive.

The play/film I walked out of…

None – I’m paying so I’m staying! Although the most uncomfortable theatre experience I’ve had was watching ‘Small Island’ at the National Theatre – phenomenal performance but hearing some of the audience awkwardly laugh at comments from the characters that were blatantly racist was extremely cringeworthy. I also saw someone walk out of ‘A Quiet Passion’ and can’t say I didn’t empathise with them. It feels a little sad saying that knowing I sat through the entirety of ‘Cats’ (2019) but, again, refer to my first statement.

I’m having a fantasy dinner party. I’ll invite these artists and authors…

Rembrandt van Rijn – apart from being a big fan of the Baroque style and Rembrandt himself being one of the most important artists in the Western canon, I think I’d like to invite him to learn more about his personality which we are only really able to grasp currently through his paintings. I love those quirky self-portraits and studies he did but I also like the impression of him as a rather stern teacher! I also find the love he had for his wife Saskia is rather touching. He seems like the kind of guy you’d want to have as your uncle, and I think after the financial issues he suffered in his later life he deserves a good meal!

John Steinbeck – Probably one of the few people I will willingly talk politics at the dinner table with.

Sebastian Masuda – An artist who is more or less a pioneer of the ‘kawaii’ movement that took off in Harajuku – his designs are packed with vibrant colour which appeals to the part of me which loves eyestrain aesthetics and I’d love to know where he gets his ideas from.

Jeanne Mammen – One of my favourite artists, but also anyone who rebels against the Nazi party’s censorship that only allowed for a submissive and heterosexual representation of women in art is definitely invited to dine at my house.

Jun’ya Ota (ZUN) –  I’m always impressed by the way in which he keeps coming up for original ideas for his games (of which there are now almost 30 and that he has mostly created single-handedly!) and music and he generally seems like someone who’s pretty personable. I remember seeing an interview where he said something along the lines of, “I’m going to keep making games that stand out, so if all my fans disappear I’m still happy I can keep doing the games I want”, and I really admire the passion he has for his creations.

Rodney Greenblat – Another artist I really admire and would love to talk to!

And I’ll put on this music…

I think the most inoffensive genre I tend to listen to is probably jazz and Latin American music – Buena Vista Social Club, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Horace Silver etc…

Underrated…

I find a lot of the work of Vocaloid producers underrated simply (though I suppose understandably) because listening to what are essentially robots singing is a bit of a weird concept to most people. Nonetheless, I have great respect for people like Takeaki Wada who can make creative musical concepts using vocal synthesisers. Other artists I like who I’d say are less well-known are LA Priest and Bear Ghost.

Overrated…

I don’t have anything against people who enjoy Marvel movies, but I do have something against people who unironically think that films like ‘Endgame’ have been some of the most iconic in movie history.

I wasted an evening…

Watching play adaptations of ‘The Most Popular Girls in School’ and ‘The Bee Movie’ on YouTube.

 

Read all of our ‘My Cultural Life’ entries here. 

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