‘My Cultural Life’ – Helena Millet

‘My Cultural Life’ – Helena Millet

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.

 

Our next entry is kindly submitted by Helena Millet, Year 13:

 

The box set I’m hooked on…

Death in Paradise – the ultimate combination of comedy, crime and wanderlust.

My favourite play…

I can’t pick, but the most memorable performance I’ve watched is The Lion King on Broadway in New York. The atmosphere was electric, the dancing astonishing and the singing superb.

My favourite author or book…

This is almost impossible, but if pushed, it has to be His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – the first book which truly engulfed me. Pullman’s writing is addictively alluring and I love how he unpretentiously explores the relationship between religion and science while creating an unforgettable story. The BBC did an excellent TV adaptation of this, but as always, the book is worth reading first.

The book I’m reading…

I’ve just finished The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I laughed a lot while reading this mostly because the story is just plain silly; the unusual style also added to the comedy. Somehow Jonasson has managed to create a brilliant story around the most of humble characters who, during the course of the book, appears to become the hero of the 20th century.

 The book I wish I had written…

My Family And Other Animals, the autobiography of Clare Balding. I wish I could have experienced her childhood and been able to draw on her crazy anecdotes as my own memories!

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read…

My reading list is immense so there are many I could name here, but I think I probably ought to have read a Dickens novel by now…

My favourite piece of music…

Romance in C for string orchestra by Jean Sibelius. Ever since I first played this at Uppingham Summer School a few years ago, the heart wrenching melody has been my go-to piece if I’m feeling overwhelmed.

My guiltiest cultural pleasure…

Sitting on the sun-drenched patio and reading – sometimes the simplest things bring the greatest pleasure.

If I could own one painting…

Anything by Leonardo da Vinci – I think his work is unparalleled in its foresight, variety and sheer breathtaking detail. If I could choose one it would be ‘Three Studies of Horses’ from c1480, because this work captures the perfect combination of elegance and power which is embodied by these animals.

The instrument I wish I’d learnt…

I’d love to play a wind instrument, maybe flute or oboe – there’s still lots of time left for that though!

The music that cheers me up…

Anything which I play with other people, but the most special is chamber music with my parents.

The place I feel happiest…

I feel most joyous when surrounded by my closest friends, which I think includes my parents, but I feel most full of life when I’m in the wilderness somewhere (think mountains and secret woodland oases…).

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

Philip Pullman, David Attenborough (yes, he counts as an author), and Amália Rodrigues (a Portuguese Fado singer who became a political pawn but never lost her style). 

And I’ll put on this music…

We’d be talking so much there wouldn’t really need to be any music, but I’d love to hear Amália sing in person so a Fado bass and guitar would need inviting too…

Underrated…

The satisfaction of completing a to-do list! I haven’t done this in a while so the excitement is building for when I next get the chance…

Overrated…

Celebrity gossip – I really wish we would start to value people holistically rather than make judgements based on stories in gossip mags and on click-bait sites whose sole purpose is to titillate and humiliate.

 

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

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