Opinions and Interests

This section could be quite extensive really but I've started with just a few areas which I might extend on with time. You can tell a lot about someone by both their opinions as well as they things they do and enjoy.

LIST - Click on the subject you want to hear about

Politics

Religion

Books

Movies

Theatre & Dance

Art

Quotes

POLITICS

If you find this subject boring move on but remember that it impacts on every aspect of yours and everyone elses life. Not just in our generation but in future generations.

Although stigmatised by many, I am proud to say that I have very strong leftist tendencies. That is not to say that I agree with the core principles of socialism (Wikipedia definition: Socialism is an economic and political theory based on public or common ownership and cooperative management of the means of production and allocation of resources) but nor do I believe in unchecked free market system. This does not make me anti capitalist. The free market system has undoubtedly brought benefits to many people (I include myself) but it has also failed far to many others. Im my humble opinion unchecked capitalism is utterly unsustainable in a world with limited resources. I firmly believe that had our resources been managed differently the benefits could have reached a much larger proportion of the people on this world and made for a much better society on the whole. Government has a role to check and balance the exploitation than can occur when the only driving force is financial gain.

At the core of my beliefs lies the idea that state and business need to be separated from each other. As someone who was in business for many years I understand that business is ultimately about making money. The state needs to counterbalance this by providing a voice for the masses. Idealistic on my part maybe but much of what has gone wrong with the free market system is the fact that business and government have become one

I have been engaged with politics to one degree or another from an early age. I lived through the dark years of thatcherism, fought against apartheid, defended the principles of human rights for all, equality in the eyes of the law and many others aspects of politics. It is unfortunate that across the world there has been a narrowing of political ideas which means that there is very little difference in the voices of the main political parties.

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RELIGION

I have faith and I believe that everyone has the right to have a faith. However, I do not believe in god or any religion. Furthermore, I do not believe that anyone has the right to impose their faith on another human being. I am both an atheist (dont belive in god) and an agnostic (have never seen any evidence to support the idea of any god). I know that statements like this can upset people that do believe, this is something I've never understood and it is is not my intent to upset anyone but nor will I apologise for what I believe.

My faith is based on human nature, in particular love and mutual respect. I firmly believe that most people are good - most of the harm done in this world is not done intentionally but is caused by apathy and/or indifference. Very few people set out to intentionally do harm to others.

Although religous leaders and people have every right to voice their opinions just like everyone else, state and religion need to be separate entities.

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BOOKS

I am a complte bibliophile. Books are the original source of knowledge and with it power. It is for good reason that many dictators and ideological leaders have destroyed books in their thousand. The age of books if rapidly dissapearing and being replaced with the internet and although I do have huge respect for this new source of knowledge, I still love my books.

I am utterly addicted to buying, reading and collecting books. If I could afford it I would have a huge library, as it is I am not doing too badly!

I could not possibly list all of my favourite books but here is some of them (they are not in any particular order but I might try and organise them into categories some day):

“Animal farm” by George Orwell

“Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela” by Nelson Mandela

“All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque

“Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated” by Steve Jones

Foundation series by Isaac Asimov

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

“The World of Normal Boys” by K. M. Soehnlein

“Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv

“Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach

“Maurice” by E. M. Forster

“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“The Line of Beauty” by Alan Hollinghurst

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

“The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal” by Desmond Morris

“My family and other animals” by Gerald Durrell

“Less Than Zero” by Bret Easton Ellis

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Süskind

“Christine” by Stephen King

“Bridget Jones's Diary” by Helen Fielding

“Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha” by Roddy Doyle

“Cien años de soledad” by Gabriel García Márquez

“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

“A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson

“Witness to Extinction: How We Failed to Save the Yangtze River Dolphin” by Samuel Turvey

“Last Chance to see” by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardie

“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling

“Follas novas“ by Rosalía de Castro

“Silent Spring“ by Rachel Carson

“The Handmaid's Tale“ by Margaret Atwood

This is a long but not exhaustive list of some of the books I have read and loved. It is bound to be updated.

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MOVIES

A movie can never replace a book, it does not fire the imagination in the same way. However, I do enjoy films particularly in the cinema. Movies give a quick and easy fix, an immediate rush and immersion into someone elses world or imagination.

The list of movies I have enjoyed could be just as endless as for the book list. Here are a few (again, in no particular order):

Star Wars movies by George Lucas

“Cry Freedom” by Richard Attenborough

“A lot like love” by Nigel Cole

“Home” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

“All Quiet on the Western Front” by Delbert Mann

“Shirley Valentine” by Lewis Gilbert

“Beaches” by Garry Marshall

“The Boys Are Back” by Scott Hicks

“Torch Song Trilogy” by Paul Bogart

“Trainspotting” by Danny Boyle

“Four Weddings And A Funeral” by Mike Newell

“The Full Monty” by Peter Cattaneo

“Alfie” by Lewis Gilbert

“My Beautiful Laundrette” by Stephen Frears

“The Railway Children” by Lionel Jeffries

“Educating Rita” by Lewis Gilbert

“The Color Purple” by Steven Spielberg

“The Mission” by Roland Joffé

“Bend It Like Beckham” by Gurinder Chadha

“Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott

“Some Like it Hot” by Billy Wilder

“Just a Question of Love” by Christian Faure

“Schindler's List” by Steven Spielberg

“The Shawshank Redemption” by Frank Darabont

“A Time to Kill” by Joel Schumacher

“Jamón, jamón” by Bigas Luna

“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” by Pedro Aldomovar

“Pan's Labyrinth” by Guillermo del Toro

“Billy Elliot” by Stephen Daldry

“Prick Up Your Ears” by Stephen Frears

“The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” by Mark Herman

“Kinky Boots” by Julian Jarrold

“The Emerald Forest” by John Boorman

“Abigail's Party” by Mike Leigh

“The History Boys” by Nicholas Hytner

“Good Will Hunting” by Gus Van Sant

“Dead Poets Society” by Peter Weir

“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” by Stephan Elliott

“Steel Magnolias” by Herbert Ross

Again, this is not an exhaustive list and will be updated

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THEATRE & DANCE

The theatre for me lies somewhere between books and the cinema. I enjoy the whole experience and wish I did more of it.

I was going to list some of the plays I've seen but I dont think that would be fair - every production is unique and that is what makes it so beautiful. I have never been to large west end productions in London mainly because I can rarely afford them but have been to a number of small theatres - here are a few that I have visited and I can recommend

I love the performing arts and dance in particular. There is something about watching people express themselves through dance that I find particularly inspiring and uplifting.

I have been immensely priviliged to be able to see some amazing dance shows particularly at Sadlers Wells in London.

Here are some of the theatres ans show spaces I love to visit when I get a chance:

Riverside Studios

Bloomsbury Theatre

Oval House Theatre

Peacock Theatre

Round House Theatre

Royal Albert Hall

Theatre Royal Stratford

Barbican Theatre

Sadlers Wells Theatre

National Theatre

The Rose Theatre

One special mention has got to go out to Cirque du Soleil who I have been to see several times. They manage to merge theatre, dance and sheer entertainment into a trully amazing experience. I cried with joy the first time I saw one of their shows. They really should be credited with saving the circus from simply being a historical kickback. If you get a chance - go and see them.

I'm sure I've missed some out of this list but I will come back to it.

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ART

I'm not terribly artisticaly inclined but do have an admiration for all those who are. I enjoy all types of artistic expression from dance (mentioned earlier) through to photography. There is something very touching about being able to express what you see or feel in a way that others can interpret. Thats not to say that all art is great, there are many artists that I simply “don't get” but that does not make me respect them anymore.

In London there is plethora of places where you can visit (usually for free) and experience art. I've taken full advantage of this over the years

Royal Academy of Arts

Tate Modern

Tate Britain

National Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Hayward Gallery

Whitechapel Gallery

I enjoy modern art as much as classic, which I guess is reflected in the galleries I visit

I want to give special mention to a good friend who I have seen develop as an artist over twenty years and whose artistic journey I admire very much indeed. His name is Chase Valentin and you can see some of his work by clicking here.

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QUOTES

A selection of some quotes I admire:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” by Confucius

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” by Isaac Newton

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them” by Galileo Galilei

“I am not young enough to know everything” by Oscar Wilde

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” by Oscar Wilde

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow” by Albert Einstein

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal” on a headstone in Ireland

“It's better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone” by Marilyn Monroe

“Who said nights were for sleep?” by Marilyn Monroe

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” by Mohandas Gandhi

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems” by Mohandas Gandhi

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” by Nelson Mandela

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men” by Plato

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last” by Winston Churchill

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on” by Winston Churchill

“To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering” by Aldo Leopold

“No man is above the law and no man below it” by Theodore Roosevelt

“The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, that my friends, is true perversion..” by Harvey Milk

“Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself” by Chief Seattle of the Suquamis

“When love is not madness, it is not love” by Pedro Calderon de la Barca

“Who, being loved, is poor?” by Oscar Wilde

“You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams” by Dr Seuss

“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool” by William Shakespeare

“It is the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter” by Marlene Dietrich

“Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends” by Virginia Woolf

“What is conservatism? Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried?” by Abraham Lincoln

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber” by Plato

“Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear” by William E. Gladstone

“Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party” by Winston Churchill

“How do I define history? It's just one fucking thing after another” by Alan Bennett

“Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key” by Alan Bennett

“The kind of people who always go on about whether a thing is in good taste invariably have very bad taste” by Joe Orton

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life” by Charles Darwin

“In science the important thing is to modify and change one's ideas as science advances.” by Herbert Spencer

“No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy” by Herbert Spencer

“If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it” by William Shakespeare

“There is grandeur in this view of life,” by Charles Darwin

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