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‘My Cultural Life’ – Dr N Webster

‘My Cultural Life’ – Dr N Webster

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 more about the cultural interests of Dr N Webster, Head of Chemistry at Stamford High School, below:

The box set I’m hooked on…

It’s not quite a boxed set, as I had to buy the 6 volumes separately, but I absolutely love the recent TV series, “Thunderbirds Are Go.” I grew up in the 1960s idolising the people of International Rescue and, yes, I didn’t immediately realise they might possibly be wooden puppets! Modern-day ‘heroes’ punch, fight, shoot and kill baddies, but my heroes simply risk their own lives in order to save the lives of the good and bad. What’s not to like?

My favourite play…

Do I have to have one? The last play I saw was “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”; it had jaw-dropping special effects (how did they make the air shake before our eyes when moving through time?) but a rather weak plot. Sorry Mr Zacharias, I have never “got” Shakespeare.

 My favourite author or book…

It changes every month! Possibly The Tripods trilogy by John Christopher, because it is so easy to build mental pictures of what is going on in these science fiction classics.

The book I’m reading…

I always have several books on the go. I’ve just finished “The Lord of The Rings” again (even better than the film), I’ve just started “The Man in the Iron Mask” by Alexandre Dumas, and I’m in the middle of “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan and a study guide to the Psalms (a book in the Bible) by Derek Kidner.

The book I wish I had written…

“The Magic Furnace” by Marcus Chown; for me, the only Physics book that takes really difficult ideas and makes them easy to understand, all in a style that is engaging and highly readable.

The book that saved me…

Hilarious: it’s the Bible, of course – it quite literally saved me!

The book I couldn’t finish…

Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”. I couldn’t get past page 38 because my brain hurt. It’s rated 4.7/5.0 on Amazon. Really?

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read…

Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”!

My favourite film…

“How to Train Your Dragon”, the only film I have walked out of that left me speechless and full of emotion. In every way that a film can touch you, this did it in spades. Second place would be “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”. They’re perhaps not entirely PC, but who cares? Happy endings rule!

My favourite TV series…

Any Gerry Anderson series, but “Thunderbirds” and “Stingray” are my favourites. Sorry, but I never grew up, and I’m happy to admit this too.

My favourite piece of music…

It has to be something from early Genesis, probably “The Cinema Show.” I grew up with The Beatles and Prog Rock. I was so lucky.

The last TV programme that made me cry…

I cry all the time, particularly at sad/happy endings, but I don’t watch too much TV, outside of films, so can’t think of one. Am I allowed “Toy Story 3”? It came out when my eldest daughter was about to leave home for university. It still sends tremors through me 10 years later; some things you never quite get over.

The lyric I wish I’d written…

Anything from the song “Sand in my Face” by 10cc; this Manchester based band had a wicked sense of humour and it infused all of their lyrics.

My guiltiest cultural pleasure…

I guess it would be watching and singing along to musicals. Now the kids have grown up, my wife and I have returned to visiting London annually to watch a musical. Favourites include “The Woman in White,” “Aspects of Love” and the original version of “Miss Saigon,” the latter being led by the bewitching voice of Lea Salonga.

If I could own one painting…

I have a poster of a Picasso painting that I can’t identify; it’s largely in red and we call it “Angry Woman,” because with just a couple of strokes of black paint, one half of her face becomes full of hatred and anger; total genius.

The instrument I wish I’d learnt…

Piano, as I would have been able to play along to most rock music.

The music that cheers me up…

My children used to fall asleep to the music of a largely unknown Christian band called FFH, and in particular, an album called “Ready to Fly.” Whatever the mood, it still “lifts me up on wings like eagles.”

The place I feel happiest…

The Malvern Hills: I grew up exploring them, I’ve spent my life walking them whenever visiting my parents, and I’d like to retire to the area if possible.

The film/play I walked out of…

The 2018 version of the film “Tomb Raider”; this will probably get me accused of sexism, but when is it right to watch someone punch and beat up a teenage girl or boy? Even when it is acted out? Sorry, I was horrified. It’s not acceptable, full stop.

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

Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford. And I’d ask them why on earth could they not get together and sort out their differences for the sake of the fans who made them rich and famous. (For the uneducated, these were the members of Genesis in the early 70s).

And I’ll put on this music…

The Carpenters’ “A Song for You.” This was the first album my parents bought me when I was aged 13 (we owned very few albums of music in my youth) and I was furious; no respected teenager would ever listen to this middle-of-the-road music, but it was the only album I had, so I had to play it! And I fell in love with it. Karen Carpenter – what a voice! It’s probably my most played album ever and I was recently delighted to find that my middle daughter has fallen under its spell too.

I wasted an evening…

Marking books? Not sure I can say that! Watching re-runs of Top Gear. For the 10th time.

Underrated…

The qualities of kindness, goodness and gentleness. Never give up on them.

Overrated…

The idea that you can’t be a scientist and a follower of Jesus. Of course you can.

 

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

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