MY CULTURAL LIFE
We ask a tastemaker what they are reading, watching, listening to and downloading
Paris-born interiors maverick Jerome Dodd has masterminded the Christmas decorations for the White House, provided props for Roland Mouret’s fashion shoots, and has been selling decorative antiques and curious artefacts (see 5 and 8) for nearly 25 years. His two London shops are infamously christened ‘Les Couilles du Chien’ (the dog’s bollocks) and he has just opened a pop-up residence in Liberty, which will be open until July (@les_couilles_du_chien; lescouillesduchien.com).
My favourite piece of music has to be Police and Thieves by Junior Murvin, later covered by The Clash. This track always reminds me of youth, rebellion and my connection to Portobello, Golborne Road and the north Kensington area where I live and work. The song that makes me feel instantly happy is I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens ( 4), released in 1967. It reminds me of my new puppy Ziggy, but I also enjoy the irony that a cat could write a song about a dog. The music I return to time and time again is old-school 1970s reggae. Having worked most of my adult life in a predominantly Afro-caribbean area, the sounds of Max Romeo, John Holt, Ini Kamoze and other reggae artists remind me of how enriching different cultures are to one’s own life, and how wonderfully multicultural London is. The book that has influenced me the most has to be Candide by Voltaire (Penguin, £12.99). It never ceases to amaze me how a piece of 18th-century writing can be so current. The concept of trying to make the troubled world a better place by starting with making your own personal ‘garden’ the best it can be is a principle I try not to forget. I’m currently reading the late AA Gill’s Pour Me: A Life ( 2; Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20). Legend is an overused term; however, in this instance, it feels totally appropriate. Over the years I have enjoyed his writing, his irreverent attitude to the establishment and his acerbic reviews. He is a man who will be greatly missed, and this book in particular is a must-read. My favourite film is The Long Good Friday ( 3) starring the late Bob Hoskins. I never tire of watching this 1980 gangster thriller, which presents a fitting vision of Thatcher’s Britain. Hoskins delivers a stunning performance, and the one-liners are hilarious. But unprintable! The podcast I download is American comedian Greg Proops’ The Smartest Man in the World. It’s always funny and thought provoking. The last theatre show I saw was the choreographer Wayne Mcgregor’s Chroma ( 6) at the Royal Opera House, featuring New York’s amazing Alvin Ailey dance theatre. Dinner at the Opera House followed by a show is always a treat, but this production was particularly powerful and inspiring. My favourite places in the world are Lamu ( 7), Kiwayu and the surrounding Kenyan wildernesses. Spending time in this magical place, which remains free from the trappings of modern life (and cars in particular), is a joy. Lamu is a cultural gem and its coastline feels like an Africa of times gone by. At the moment I am planning a trip to combine scuba diving in the Galapagos islands ( 1) with a visit to Ecuador. The only other South American country I have visited is Costa Rica, which was fantastic.