Friday, 27 September 2013

My 5 Favourite Things - writer and radio producer Paul Kent

Paul Kent, author of "The Lowdown - The EU: Should We Stay or Should We Go", "Montaigne - and the way we live now" and the upcoming "Voltaire - the last happy writer", shares some of his favourite things with us...

1. MC5, “Kick Out The Jams”. Two minutes and fifty-two seconds of pure adrenalin. I use it as a sort of colonic irrigation for the brain – it not only clears out the crud, it’s the aural equivalent of a dozen shots of caffeine to get the synapses firing.

2. Dante, “The Divine Comedy” The late unlamented News of the World used to claim that “All Human Life Is Here”. As usual, they weren’t entirely accurate. It’s actually in Dante – and much more besides. Dorothy L. Sayers’ is the only translation that makes Heaven sound like you wouldn’t be bored there.

3. Beer. As another favourite, Homer Simpson has it: “The cause of, and the solution to, all the world’s problems.” But it has to be bitter, British, cool (not cold) and with only the smallest head.

4. Tiny acts of thoughtfulness. They all add up . . .

5. Bright sunlight glinting on large bodies of water. Doesn't matter where; the Caribbean's nice, but the Thames outside my window often does the job just as well.

Photo of sun on the Thames by Dan Taylor.

Friday, 20 September 2013

My 5 Favourite Things - audio producer Ali Muirden

1. Indy and Shorty. I love their little whiskery faces and their tiny little front teeth, that softest little bit of fur on the backs of their ears, the way they purr so happily when you stroke them (I don't care what the animal experts say... in our house purring = happy!), the way Shorty makes a little squeak when you kiss her head when she's asleep (that could either mean "That's nice" or "Bog off" - I'm never sure!), the way they snuggle down on you as if you're only there to provide a warm lap and have nothing else to do but keep still and not disturb them while they have a nice long kip and their stroppy "I'll do it my way" cat-titude when they want to go outside but refuse to use the cat flap and insist you open the front door instead!

2. Jo Malone's Lime Basil and Mandarin perfume and shower gel. For its perfect combination of scents - I occasionally get lured away to try other perfumes but I always come back to it because nothing else suits my skin as much as this does and I always seem to get asked what it is when I'm wearing it.

3. Clarins tinted moisturiser. I keep trying other foundations, BB creams, CC creams, you name it, but I always return to this one. It never looks like you're wearing make-up, is the perfect consistency and colour and never looks caked on!  Perfection!

4. Movies.  I love watching a good film! When I was a child, it was always considered a huge treat in our
house to settle down to watch a film together and I still feel that way every time I go to the cinema or watch a good film on TV. I don't much care what genre it is as long as it's well made and well acted! My earliest film memory is from somewhere around age eight,  sitting on the sofa with my mum watching "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" starring Charles Laughton and watching David Lean's version of "Great Expectations" and jumping nearly 10 feet in the air when Magwitch appears in the graveyard - both were utterly brilliant and totally compelling.

5. A really good book. We are all readers in our family.  I love the way you can lose yourself in a good book, live with the characters and really feel like you've made a new set of friends or really  hate or despise them too. I love it when a book is so good I literally can't put it down and end up even taking it into the loo rather than stop reading! I just wish there was a potion you could take which would erase the memory of the book's plot so that you could read them again and again and not know what was coming at the end. (ditto movies!).