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Enthusiasms

I yearn for a magic camera that can photograph memories.’ Bernard Levin, ‘Enthusiasms.’ 1983.

I was at the Abergevenny Arms, Rodmell. It is a quiet, smokeless pub on the road that follows the River Ouse from Newhaven to Lewes, East Sussex. Rodmell is the village where Virginia Woolf had a house; it is a short walk down the lane towards the river by the side of the pub, the river where Virginia Woolf drowned herself by donning her husband’s raincoat, filling the pockets with rocks, then wading into the water. One of the warrens of interconnecting rooms from the bar is a converted barn; a heavy oak trough, moulded it would seem into the brick and plaster, still serves as a shelf of sorts along the back wall. This ‘shelf’ if filled with hardback books – not a single paperback. I take out ‘Enthusiasms’ by Bernard Levin.

I read a paperback copy in the 80s, a few years after this first edition hardback copy came out. I probably wrote about it at the time. I read it again with only a little enthusiasm; I find the writing style archaic, stilted and arrogant. There is a tinge of intellectual elitism in every sense, as if he is writing for his mirror image. Yet, here I am about to quote him and here I am contemplating a section in this diary that lists and celebrates my own enthusiasms – not just a list of favourite books and music, or even my favourite diaries, but essays on each one.

‘Enthusiasms can take a thousand forms, but is of one nature: it means taking of great pleasure, the feeling of great ardour, the experiencing of great excitement, in the presence or contemplation of the object that arouses the enthusiasm.’

Enthusiasms I have enthusiasms, some come about on impulse; others are entered into because of the task I have taken on. In the past, this has been school exams, special subjects at university and a plethora of post-graduate courses. Are the passions or enthusiasms? In my working like, I suit the short-term contract, the project orientated task- it becomes my obsession for the duration – the pay-off, is excellence. I like to feel I have done all that could be done, that I have considered everything that could be considered.

My interests include: LEARNING PROCESS Music, maps, mnemonics, Swimming pools Lidos, leisure centres, indoors, outdoor, private or public, Victorian baths, municipal pools, closed pools, saved pools, pools by rivers or filled by the sea. With high boards, viewing windows, length, width, facilities, with waves, then flumes. Splits, lengths, endurance, in lakes, rivers, pools and the sea. Coaching it to babies, kids, squads and adults. Habitable castles History, ownership, modern use. Maps Geography, public school ‘maps’, redesign of Ski Resort maps. Guides to roads and restaurants. War memorials Who, why, when, how Victorian Children’s Books Victorian Adventure Stories Victorian Fairytales 1066 Bayeux Pevensey The First World War The Machine Gun Corps The Royal Flying Corps Britain’s’ Deadliest Roads Traffic Accidents Obscure museums Pre-Raphaelite paintings The Pre-Raphaelites

CHILDRENS’ TELEVISION

Dr Who Children’s Adventure Series from the Australian Film Workshop FILMS Weird Director: Belly of an Architect Peter? The music of Michael Nyman Terry Gilliam Alfred Hitchcock (Saw all in cinemas in Paris) Francois Truffaut

WRITERS

Henry Miller Anais Nin H G Wells J G Ballard Michelle Houellebecq Haruki Marukami Virginia Woolf Norman Mailer Stephen Pressfield Jonathan Franzen Autobiographies Ken Russel Biographies: Virginia Woolf x2 Alistair Cook Diarists and keeping a diary: Child development: Asthma Swimming, every pool Sailing, the British Coast Skiing, every run, every resort Pebbles on Seaford Beach

SEX

Manwatching Hite Report Kinsey Pornography Erotica Ten years of sex online Karma Sutra Tantric Sex (The Lover’s Guide to ‘Sexercise’)

RIVERS & STREAMS

Brooks and burns North Tyne Coquet The River Ouse Beamish Lune

TOPS OF MOUNTAINS

Lake District North Yorkshire Moors

PLANTS & GARDENS

Hostas Grasses Evergreens Composting Evergreens Portraits: Masterpiece Portraiture National Portrait Gallery Louvre Musee d’Orsay Reubens Hockney Rodin David Hamilton Pre-Raphaelites Photography

THE SEA

Windsurfing Sailing Seaford Beadnell

COOKING

Healthy Eating Feasts Rich food Healthy Food Elizabeth David Terrence Stamp Nigel Slater

CHILD DEVELOPMENT

How we learn How we remember ‘The Contents of my Brain’ Mutlicamera techniques Casting Singing Romans in Britain Kings and Queens Fords Long Sword Early cars First Planes

GEOGRAPHY

Glaciation Weather patterns Climate change The Ice Age on Britain The Water Cycle ‘Recreating winter’ ‘Slopes for sale’ Maps Annotated diagrams Creative Writing Tools and inspiration ‘The Observation Deck’ Naomi Epel Ben Okri, Stephen Pressfield … Albums Picture books Scrapbooks Drawings Notebooks Catalysts, motivations … Children’s picture books Lady Anne Clifford

SOFTWARE

Ideafisher Filemaker Pro Dramatica Pro Final Draft Adobe Photoshop Dreamweaver

OFF-SCREEN

Ink and paper Wallpaper backing and pens Chalk Board Cardboard models Talk it through Walk it through Focus groups Interviews Inspiration Catalysts

PLACES VISITED

Hancock Museum Newcastle Science Museum Greenwich Natural History Museum Science Museum British Museum Design Museum Royal Academy MOMI Greenwich Hampton Court Martello Tower Cragside Bamburgh Castle Alnwick Castle Dunstunburgh Castle Pevensey Castle Battle Abbey Eden Project Pitt Rivers Museum Toy Museum, Stowe

SAILED TO

Fecamp Lulworth Cove Poole Weymouth Falmouth Lake Distrrict Wide use in creative arts: photography, film story telling, music, and live events. FILMS: Brazil to Terry Gilliam The Piano to Michael Nyman to Ute Lemper, John Glass, Organ Music ‘Henry & June’ to Henry Miller & Anais Nin ‘Les Quatres Cents Coups’ to Francois Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock.

PERFORMANCE

Youth Theatre Edinburgh Fringe Managed Band 100 Club, Universities … Ballet Opera Theatre Barbican Theatre Royal Riverside Donmar Warehouse MUSIC: Flute Guitar Piano Singing David Bowie Michael Nyman (featured in training video) Mahler (2nd) Composed music for training & information films

ENGLISH ROADS

Humpback bridges Level crossings French Roads JCBs Traffic cones Traffic lights Ice-cream vans Eddie Stobbart Lorries RAC vans Road signs Electricity Pylons Cranes Spires

TREES

Oak trees Village greens Church Halls Dry stonewalls Hedges Neat ‘jungles’ Post boxes Phone boxes

PUBLIC SPACES

Swings in public parks Roundabouts Slides N.B. national curriculum ‘Delight and serendipity’ Bodleian Library, Oxford British Library Collection of Ephemera Serendipity of moving from one library to another Documentary Research on Lady Anne Clifford Gargoyles Doors Schools of Communication Arts (Paper clip, paving stone) Mary Rose Cutty Sark Bamburgh Castle Warwick Castle Stonehenge

WEBSITES

Tripod Diaryland BBC science Douglas Adams Amazon Google Clubseventeen Adult friend Finder Friends Reunited Genes Reunited

PLACES

Heathrow Gatwick Victoria Station Kings Cross Paddington Station Liverpool Street Waverly, Edinburgh

COUNTRIES

England Shaded in the counties from age 10, parents divorced, bagging Tyne & Wear, Northumberland, Cumbria, then and Greater London. Quickly added Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshires. Sailing around Sussex, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset etc: France Holidays to Savoie, to West Coast, then exchange, worked in the country and travelled extensively working on a series of reports for the Ministry of Culture on arts initiatives taking places in ‘areas of deprivation’ affecting inner city groups and immigrants: Amiens, Nantes, Salzburg, Verdun etc: True or False News Stories Fashion Shows

STICKY GAMES

Submarine Pong Galactica Tetris Sim City Age of Empires Rome: Total War Risk Monopoly Twister Bridge Poker

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