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‘My Cultural Life’ – Mrs C Charles

‘My Cultural Life’ – Mrs C Charles

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 C Charles below:

The box set I’m hooked on…

Not sure I’m hooked but I’m currently watching Rebellion about the 1916 Easter Rising and consequent troubles. I missed the first series so am only just watching this now and I have plenty to go on this one.

My favourite author or book…

‘Jane Eyre’, and ‘Wuthering Heights’ were perhaps my most repeated reads when I first came across them, but I think Jane Eyre just has it as my favourite. These stay so memorable because they would have been the first adult fiction I read and so ‘Jane Eyre’ was my first experience of the ‘will-they won’t-they’ dramatic device. I remember the feeling of horror that she might settle for marriage to her cousin and so I must have hoped for reconciliation, but then I didn’t really accept the softer characterisation of Mr Rochester at the end. ‘Room’ by Emma Donaghue stands out in more recent reading for the sheer horror of raising a child in captivity and the amazing resilience and love shown by the mother; as a story, it sounds grotesque and something to be missed, but it was so uplifting and absorbing that it has stayed with me.

The book I’m reading…

I’ve just finished ‘Inside the Nudge Unit’ by Halpern, who heads the government’s Behavioural Insights Team. He explores the successes they have had in changing behaviour for the better and to an extent the ethical implications of social control such application of behavioural science yields.

The book I couldn’t finish…

The textbook on Cognition and Perception, which was written by my lecturer to accompany the module he taught and contained more detail on the eye than I ever wanted to know and was always too sleep inducing to read in full.

The book I’m ashamed I haven’t read…

Orwell’s 1984.

My favourite film…

Good Will Hunting – a great example of how everybody can benefit from a psychologist! Or American History X, the brutality and racism are repulsive, but Ed Norton’s character change is so inspiring, and the story carries such a powerful message. I have watched this so many times when teaching Social Psychology and it doesn’t lose its appeal. I used to hope it was becoming a redundant message, but with all we are seeing recently with #BlackLivesMatter, the increasing numbers of white supremacists and populist politicians, this has much relevance to now.

My favourite TV series…

Probably Line of Duty it was last thing that I found completely compulsive. Or perhaps I could go for an old favourite, Morse: will my husband finally agree to watch this with me if I fish out my first box set?

The last TV programme that made me cry…

I’ve cried twice I think in lockdown, once watching a Newsnight item about care homes and the other time watching Normal People.

The lyric I wish I’d written…

John Donne’s ‘The Flea’. So complex and carefully constructed with the use of metaphysical conceit, to allow different meanings to be uncovered. The discovery of hidden meanings is where literature and poetry allow us to understand people in ways we might never have a chance to in real life, and this helped shape my interest in psychology.

My guiltiest cultural pleasure…

Blaming my child for this as she got us into ‘The Masked Singer: UK’ and we’re now watching the US one, which is both worse and better. Blaming myself entirely, ‘Big Little Lies’ is mindless consumerism but was so addictively watchable; I loved every minute of both seasons!

If I could own one painting…

Any of Monet’s water lilies landscapes or Rembrandt’s landscape drawings are what I would most like to own; sadly, I think I’ll have to settle for a print.

The instrument I wish I’d learnt…

The piano.

The music that cheers me up…

Abba, Fleetwood Mac and Queen are all the music of childhood, which have now all been introduced to my young child to show her there’s nothing better than having a dance around your own kitchen.

The place I feel happiest…

Home is the obvious choice…but even I have nearly had enough of it in lockdown, so I will go with two places further afield. First, the Scottish Highlands, as I have so many good memories of childhood holidays exploring the forests and lochs; there was one particularly memorable time after exploring in the mizzle when I looked like I had measles I had so many midge bites, which was made more amusing for my sister as she only had 3! Secondly, Canada’s Banff and Jasper National Parks; the lakes and the mountains are breathtakingly beautiful and there’s always the possibility of meeting a bear.

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

Stephen Pinker, Jon Ronson, Charlie Booker, Billy Connolly, Pamela Stephenson, Nancy Segal, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. Laughter and debate…should be perfect.

 

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

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