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‘My Cultural Life’ – Lottie Pike

‘My Cultural Life’ – Lottie Pike

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.

 

The following interview is provided by Lottie Pike, Year 12:

The box set I’m hooked on…

‘La Casa de Papel’ (its English title is ‘Money Heist’) – we started watching this purely for the Spanish element, seeing as everyone in my family is currently learning Spanish, but we ended up becoming obsessed with it! It’s all about a plan to rob La Fábrica de Moneda y Timbre (The Royal Mint) in Madrid, but it also raises issues to do with political resistance and rebellion.

My favourite author or book…

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite book for any particular reason as such; it’s more that the book as a whole just really clicked with me. A close second would have to be Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser – I only read it a month or so ago, but I just found the characters so complex and the concept so striking. Shockingly, when it was first published, the novel was banned as it was considered to be spreading harmful messages for younger girls. Although I wouldn’t necessarily consider Carrie my top feminist icon, the novel definitely stands out for me in the very male-dominated genre of American literature.

The book I’m reading…

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. After having not touched anything remotely to do with science since my GCSE exams, I thought it was probably time to brush up on some of my scientific understanding! It’s definitely a gap in my knowledge that frequently hinders me when debating other areas, so even though I’m not finding it the most gripping book I’ve ever read, I appreciate how it will (hopefully) benefit me in the future.

The book I wish I had written…

Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination by John Corvino, Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis. The amount of insight and depth of argument in this book astonished me when I first read it as research for my EPQ, and I ended up folding down the corner on almost every page – there was not a single part of it that didn’t interest me. I wish I had written this book due to both the quality of its content and the evident respect each author has for each other’s views, something which I can only hope to emulate to such an extent in the future.

The book that saved me…

I’m not sure I have read anything (yet) that has impacted me in such an extreme way, yet alongside the aforementioned ‘Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination’ (which definitely saved my EPQ, that’s for sure!), the books that have had a long lasting impact on me and how I live would be June Sarpong’s ‘Diversify’ and Peter Singer’s ‘Ethics in the Real World’. The former gave me invaluable insight into social tolerance and diversity, and the latter was one of the main reasons why I stopped eating meat.

The book I couldn’t finish…

I’m not going to lie, there have been a fair few. Just looking at my bookcase now, the outstanding ones are The Hobbit and Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ (except I really want to come back to this one – hopefully I’ll understand it more now than I did when I was 12!).

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read…

‘While I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Although it was published around three years ago, I have only just become aware of this book, and it’s been recommended to me countless times over the past few weeks. However, I am going to get hold of a copy and begin reading it as soon as possible.

My favourite piece of music…

Debussy’s Arabesque No.1. It’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard. That, and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major.

The lyric I wish I’d written…

I honestly have never considered this before, but off the top of my head the lyrics that stand out to me would have to be from Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert’s song ‘Same Love’. The message portrayed through this song is so strong and so powerful.

My guiltiest cultural pleasure…

Barely playing the saxophone for weeks on end and then suddenly one day playing through every single one of the pieces I own. Please don’t tell my teacher.

If I could own one painting…

If I were thinking of putting it in my house, definitely Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ (if I could find enough wall space…), as my mum seems to be obsessed with it and will never fail to talk about it given half the chance. However, if I were being completely selfish… ‘Mirror on Canvas’ from the Tate Modern (yes, it’s a mirror on a canvas).

The instrument I wish I’d learnt…

Although I know from experience that my hand-eye coordination doesn’t really stand me in good stead for playing the piano, having only got to grade 3 after around 8 years of lessons, that would be my instrument of choice. Apart from being able to play ‘Meet the Flintstones’ with my eyes shut, my piano skills are unfortunately rather limited.

The music that cheers me up…

I very seriously doubt that this can be seen as ‘cultural’ in any sense of the word, but it’s got to be a Shawn Mendes song or two. However, if this isn’t an acceptable answer, listening to jazz band pieces that I’ve played in the past always brings back good memories!

The place I feel happiest…

This is a tricky one, as it usually comes down to how I’m feeling in the first place – for me, positive perspective comes from within and I wouldn’t say places in themselves make me happy. Having said that, I do love libraries, cafés, and generally places that aren’t too noisy!

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

Without hesitation, I would invite all of the most famous philosophers and get them to debate with each other (and of course, sitting them next to the people with whom they disagree most). I think hearing Kant and Bentham debating over the Trolley Problem would be very entertaining indeed!

And I’ll put on this music…

Shawn Mendes on shuffle. I’m sure they would appreciate the depth of his words.

Underrated…

Calm, one-to-one debates. I say ‘debates’, but I don’t mean it in the formal sense of the word. I find that, especially in organised debates, each side is much too focused on putting their own point across that they disregard the points of the opposition, and only listen to the other’s arguments in order to rebut them. In addition to this, I think organised debating (although I understand the concept and value the skills it develops) wrongly categorises discussions into two binary categories – ‘for’ and ‘against’ – whereas in actual fact conclusions can be, and very often are, much more nuanced than that. I think that perhaps when discussing things ‘in real life’, the aim should not always be to force your viewpoint upon the other person, but to discuss your ideas, highlight where you disagree and find out why. Perhaps, then, ‘debate’ is the wrong word – ‘discussion’ may be more appropriate. Personally, I find that debates promote the wrong idea when it comes to approaching debatable topics – at the end of the day, I just feel we ought all to be on the same side, not against one another, and can use each other’s differing standpoints to come to a mutual conclusion, or at least a mutual understanding of one another’s points and how they relate to ours.

Overrated…

Capitalism.

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

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