Jon Land is the Editor of www.24housing.co.uk – one of the must-reads in the Housing industry – and he has asked me to write about my “passions outside housing” for the Culture Vulture spot. Here are some of the standard questions:
what was the first record you bought?
what’s the book you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
favourite TV show?
what car do you drive?
what do you listen to on the way to work?
what sports teams do you support?
I feel embarrassed by this list. I don’t have a car, I barely watch TV, I have little interest in sport.
Here are the questions I would prefer
What art and artists do you most admire?
I am a member at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate, and I go to most of the exhibitions. The Matisse cut-outs was stunning and joyful.
I also loved the David Bowie, and the Club to Catwalk (1980s fashion) exhibition. My favourite artists would start with Picasso, and many 20th century greats – Monet, Matisse, Warhol, Mondrian, Gauguin, Dali, Freud, Van Gogh, Bacon, Rothko, Hockney, Henry Moore. I also love 15th century religious art, and became interested in Aboriginal art recently – I am open to lots of different art. I know something of their work from going to exhibitions and listening intently for an hour or so to the headphone commentary. It is well worth paying extra – I learn a lot this way and really get to appreciate the work. I find human endeavour and creativity astonishing and overwhelming, and believe our free museums and galleries are second to none. Also, in my view, we do art exhibitions really, really well in the UK.
What plays have you most enjoyed?
My bucket list includes seeing all the Shakespeare plays so we go to the Globe a lot – the last play we saw there was Julius Caesar.
We see most plays at the Jerwood Theatre upstairs, and the Young Vic. The Jerwood have plays by new writers which are always exciting and interesting and sometimes brilliant. The Young Vic has some modern classics like The Dolls House, A Street Car named Desire and Glass Menagerie, and modern writing too. Live theatre is exciting and I especially enjoy being in a small space where you can really see and hear the actors, and the other audience members. On Saturday we saw To Kill a Mockingbird at Regent’s Park. In terms of TV series I thought Breaking Bad was wonderful, enjoyed Game of Thrones and Mad Man, and liked the Scando-crime series.
Any books you have read that you would recommend?
I read the FT on the bus and usually tweet about housing issues first thing. Novels don’t normally get a look in unless I am on holiday. Recently I read, and loved, Susan Hill, Strange Meeting; Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves; Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies; Nicole Mary Kelby, The Pink Suit; and Donna Tart, The Goldfinch.
Who are you favourite dress designers and styles?
For me clothes are more important than sport, music, cars and watching TV. I really admire Vionet, Chanel, Dior, Schiaperelli, Vivienne Westwood, McQueen, Cardin, Yves St Laurent. I like the clothes of the 1940s and 1970s for wearing, but for pure style and experimentation it would the 60s. I am a keen seamstress and have a blog called Fit and Flare, (www.fabrickated.com). What I find amazing is that you can still buy, for a few pounds, designer patterns from the past and make up the outfits to fit you. I have made a Chanel-style jacket, and an YSL dress, and have my eye on this 1966 Nina Ricci pattern at the moment.