Saturday, 6 June 2009

Vital Statistics

As suggested by Dick Jones (basic format nicked from The Independent Magazine):
I drive…
A Kia Rio.
If I have time to myself…
I go on air, looking for other radio amateurs to contact, look at the sky, scramble up hills.
You wouldn’t know it but I’m very good at…

Making wooden tent pegs and turning tree branches into clothes props.
I’m no good at…

Whatever the opposite of procrastination is
Books that changed me…
In what way? This strikes me as an interesting and ambivalent category, I thought, not to be confused with “favourite books” or "world's greatest books". In the tradition of Desert Island Discs, I have taken the influence of The Bible and Shakespeare as given. Quite a lot of poets, plus, in approximate chronological order:

Piggly Plays Truant by W Perring and AJ MacGregor
Rupert annuals
The Miracle of Life ed., Harold Wheeler
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
Fun with Short Wave Radio by Gilbert Davey
The Children of Albion, ed. Michael Horowitz
Composition with 12 Notes Related Only to One Another by Josef Rufer
Briggflatts by Basil Bunting
The Communist Manifesto
Silence by John Cage
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps
The Penguin Book of Surrealist Poetry (the title is, arguably, slightly misleading in the case of many poets included)
Mountaineering in Scotland and Undiscovered Scotland by WH Murray
Moby Dick
The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch
To the Lighthouse
Movie heaven…
Most “Powell Pressburger” films
Battleship Potemkin
Star Trek First Contact
April in Paris
The Cruel Sea
Baghdad Cafe
Comfort eating…
Bread and Marmite
Chocolate digestive biscuits
Banana sandwiches
Jordan's "Crunchy" cereals
When I was a child, I wanted to be...
An electronics engineer
All my (spare) money goes on...
If you find out, please let me know.
At night I dream of...
I dream but quickly forget what I dream of, so I don't know. Ask me at 6.30am.
My favourite buildings...
This one.
School Cottage, Aisthorpe
Lichfield Cathedral
The remains of Tre'r Ceiri
The structures around Avebury
My biggest regret...
I don't go in for big ones.
Losing a piece of music manuscript written and autographed by Olivier Messiaen.
If I wasn’t me I’d like to be...
Tony Benn, Buzz Aldrin or Bjork.
My favourite works of art...
Another Place and Domain Field by Antony Gormley
A lot of the Grayson Perry pots I've seen
Several oil paintings by my father
L.H.O.O.Q. By Marcel Duchamp
The Family of Man by Barbara Hepworth
The current soundtracks to my life...
Pupils playing their guitars, cellos and basses
Recently I've been listening to Charles Mingus, Harry Partch and David Bowie but it could be something completely different next week (Haydn, The Clash, etc.)
The piano in the dining room.
The best inventions ever...
The triode valve
The mosquito net
Loads of medical ones


Rachel Fox said...

And now I am imagining you as Bjork on 'Stars in their Eyes'.

Anonymous said...

And I'm currently entertaining a visual image of a genial pipe-smoking Icelandic lunatic in a NASA jumpsuit!

A great selection, Dominic. If I'm allowed to extend my booklist from someone else's I'd nick from yours the Rupert annuals (although Bestall period), 'Zen Flesh, Zen Bones', 'Briggflatts' and 'Ulysses'.


Dominic Rivron said...

RF: Tolstoy famously said "One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of ones flesh in the ink-pot each time one dips one's pen". Bjork always seems to me to sing in the same spirit (I'm not sure what the musical equivalent would be).

patteran: To be all three at once would be great!

And, moved by the Piper at the Gates of Dawn, I almost included Wind in the Willows as you did.
I feel as if Rupert had a significant effect on my mental wiring: the mixture of magic and science, of imps and professors, of trapdoors in the ground and fantastic machines. It shaped the way I see clouds (there must be a castle up there...) and woodland.

Totalfeckineejit said...

A great list of things Dominic.Tony Benn was one of the very few sound politicians.I've never read any of your favourite books- but then I've porobably read less than 30 books in my whole life so it's hardly surprising! (A shameful revelation I know ,so don't tell anyone!) Did dip my toe into the bath of hot air that is Ulysses several times and each time got scalded and life is too short to be so painful, but who knows what the future holds , one day I may love it like you and why not? Bjork is an honest specialist, her music has a total integrity that is very rare,I believe Kate Bush has it too, John Lydon in his PIL days and to a much lesser extent my old buddy Shane Mac Gowan.Actually he doesn't really but I hate leaving him out.I think I would love to be a radio ham-especially the postcard bit you previuosly mentioned.Haven't seen any of those films-must try to.Must try this list as well,great idea.Well done.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Patteran is not far of the mark from where I am standing. Another character that springs to mind is Professor Brainstorm but can't remember where I dredged him up from. Not sure of the significance of the MonaLisa to the post though.
Not sure what word is the opposite of procrastination but whatever it is I don't think you are it.

Poet in Residence said...

Hi Dominic, Enhance your comfort diet!:)
bananas taste great on wholemeal toast smeared with honey
marmite on wholemeal toast is great with tinned Italian plum tomatoes on top

Can't be long till Snowdon. Hope you're fit.

Best, Gwilym

John Hayes said...

Interesting--I love Battleship Potemkin & Baghdad Cafe, tho I haven't seen the latter in years. & yes, yes, yes to singers/musicians who are able to lay it on the line like that: I think of Susannah McCorkle & lately John Boutté just to mention two, & Kennethn Patchen in poetry just to mention one. Fine post. The ham radio stuff has always fascinated me, but I never tried it.

Dominic Rivron said...

TFE: I don't think I read that much, either. I go through phases, I suppose. I thought that when I made the list. I did go through a Joyce phase a bit ago, though. It just clicked. It's as if some big books just refuse to let you read them till the time is right. Some music is like that too. As for ham radio - one reason I got into blogging was because the radio broke down. If you think it sounds interesting, check out Amateur Radio in Ireland.

Weaver: The Mona Lisa is Duchamp's LHOOQ, listed under fav works of art.

PiR: Funny you should mention the marathon. I twisted my ankle last week and have been forced to stop since. I'm going to try 2 miles in the morning - I think it'll be OK. Marathon, thankfully, is in October.

Like the sound of marmite and tinned tomatoes on toast. I'll try it.

JH: I discovered Baghdad Cafe not so long ago - a free DVD in a newspaper. I'm glad I did. As for ham radio - one reason I got into blogging was because the radio broke down. If you think it sounds interesting, check out ARRL.

Frances said...

Sorry to show my ignorance but what on earch is a triode valve? Guess knowing you its something to do with radio, Dominic?

Dominic Rivron said...

I wondered if someone would ask that!

The triode valve is indeed used in radios (or used to be). It made amplification possible and, in the case of computers, switching. It was superceeded by the transistor. Arguably, it is the invention which made everything we think of today as electronics possible. There is a good Wikipedia article about valves (US: vacuum tubes) at

Dave King said...

great. I missed it in The Independent.

Poetikat said...

I can't remember, is The Cruel Sea a David Lean film? I may have to steal these questions for a rainy day. Really enjoyed your sharing a bit of yourself.


Dominic Rivron said...

DK: I've never seen it there either - I hardly ever get an Independent.

Poetikat: I've just checked: The Cruel Sea was directed by Charles Frend. Since making the list I've seen -and would add- Withnail and I.