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‘My Cultural Life’ – Mrs J Furby

‘My Cultural Life’ – Mrs J Furby

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.

Read about the cultural interests of Mrs J Furby, Teacher of Biology at Stamford High School:

The box set I’m hooked on…

I am fascinated by all things involving law enforcement and first responders – I like the excitement of the puzzle being worked out, or the fire scene being made safe, or the medical condition being diagnosed. I like it when the good guys triumph! I have watched quite widely in this sort of genre, and stand out shows for me have been Mindhunter (on Netflix), Criminal Minds, Chicago Fire, Grey’s Anatomy, Code Black, ER and most recently, The Rookie. When I’m not watching those sorts of things, I enjoy the ridiculous: South Park, Community, Brooklyn 99 and Miranda!

My favourite play…

People who know me will not be surprised when I say that the theatre production which affected me the most was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. (Fitting for the organiser of Harry Potter Club!) It was certainly a very long production, and both times I have seen it, I watched both parts on the same day, but I was so enthralled by the technical effects for the magic, the music from Imogen Heap (whom I love) and the story… I cried for the last half hour! Anything which can reduce me to such a wreck is truly peerless for me.

My favourite author or book…

Now you are expecting me to say J.K. Rowling! However, as much as I do love Harry Potter, this is where I get to extol the virtues of the fantasy genre in general. I just love tales of different worlds where characters have to better themselves against the odds, overcome inner demons, develop their own gifts, and demolish an evil regime. I particularly love the work of Sarah J Maas, Rae Carson and Maria V Snyder, who are all excellent fantasy writers. Aside from fantasy, I also enjoy a little historical fiction on the side, and I am a big fan of the “Last Kingdom” series by Bernard Cornwell. There is a TV series of the same name based on the books which I also love. I can’t resist a good book chat, and I typically read around 60 books a year, so I have plenty to say on the topic of reading. I have loved talking with some of my year group (Year 11) about the books they enjoy. Nothing is quite so exciting to see them picking up a book that I love and starting out with it. I also make sure that I tell Miss Stewart in the library when I’ve read a great book that I think the girls will enjoy!

The book I’m reading…

I’m on book three of the “Sevenwaters” fantasy series by Juliette Marillier – it’s called “Child of the Prophecy”. The cover art was dreadful, but this author weaves really interesting stories involving Irish folk lore and magic, so I went ahead anyway. This is an excellent example of the truth in “don’t judge the book by its cover” because I am very glad I did!

The book I wish I had written…

Harry Potter – how different and interesting life would be!

The book that saved me…

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I was in a fairly dark place, personally, and it lit a small spark in me, fanned the flames of my dormant inner fangirl and helped me connect with lots of new friends. I have travelled the world with those friends, had ridiculously fun adventures, participated in a book blog and reviewed advanced copies of books, and to say it was a bit of a life changer probably doesn’t give it enough credit. Right time, right book. It’s no great work of literature, but it has a special place on my bookshelf.

The book I couldn’t finish…

Emma by Jane Austen. I have read all of her other works and enjoyed them, but despite trying many times, I just can’t connect with this book or the characters. I find it hard to put aside progress made in a dull book and leave it, and this is something I probably need to do more. Life is too short for boring books.

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read…

I should probably say Life on Air by David Attenborough. He’s my utter hero and the reason I love Biology; I have a signed copy, and I still haven’t read it. There’s no excuse!

My favourite film…

The Blind Side. I have a soft spot for the underdog, and inspirational sports movies based on real life stories. Sandra Bullock is fantastic in it. I also love anything with a superhero in it, and my husband and I usually see anything Marvel/DC on the opening weekend.

My favourite TV series…

I have mentioned a few already but haven’t mentioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which was my all-time favourite as a teen, and I still have lots of love for it now. It is a great bonding show; I know that anyone who also loves it is immediately likely to be my kind of person.

My favourite piece of music…

I am a lifelong fan of EELS, Foo Fighters, The Shins, Muse and Bryan Adams. Whenever I feel like I need a “musical hug” I turn to Sheryl Crow’s third album, The Globe Sessions – it is just the right kind of mellow for a day where I feel a bit deflated. I was a bit late to the game, but I also like Ed Sheeran.

My guiltiest cultural pleasure…

The Fast and the Furious movie franchise; it is completely ridiculous and I love it!

If I could own one piece of art…

I already have it. Many of my students will have seen a picture behind my head in our online lessons – it is a pastel drawing of my grandparents’ house by one of their close friends. Neither of my grandparents is still alive, and I when I look at the drawing of their house, I can always imagine them waving out the window at me. I admire the skill it takes to create fine art paintings, sculptures and the like, but I have never wanted any of it for my own home. I do admire the graphic art by The House of Mina Lima; I would quite like the Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean foiled print!

The instrument I wish I’d learnt…

I tried playing the flute at junior school and quickly realised that an instrument requiring me to hold my arms out to the side wasn’t the wisest choice… I would start at 90 degrees and progressively dip lower and lower until my flute pointed closer to the floor. I also had no idea about instruments sounding “in tune” and the tuning process – it all sounded the same to me! I think I am OK with admiring others’ skill here … it wasn’t meant to be for me.

The place I feel happiest…

an empty, windswept beach, watching my dogs zoom about to their hearts’ content. I particularly love Cefn Sidan & Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, and Brancaster & Happisburgh in Norfolk, but any will do really.

The film/play I walked out of…

It would have been the Hateful 8 by Quentin Tarantino but my husband was enjoying it, so I sat, bored to bits, wishing he cut his films significantly shorter for quite a while! He has since redeemed himself with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

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

Sir David Attenborough is a must for me; anyone else is welcome but they had better not interrupt him!

Underrated…

the Tour de France. I watch it every year and am just astounded by the physical endurance of these athletes. I have been very moved by it at times, and there has definitely been yelling at my TV during tense moments – what a drama!!

Overrated…

reality TV and lunch as a meal – it always underwhelms me.

 

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

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