Books: Inspirations; Julian Rathbone

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The music

I love all music, but one piece I cannot do without is Beethoven's piano sonata number 15, The Pastoral: for humour, whimsy, and delight raised to the level of deep emotion, especially when played by Alfred Brendel. I want the last movement at my funeral.

The play

A Midsummer Night's Dream. I've directed schoolchildren and amateurs in it four times and I wouldn't mind doing it once a year for as long as I've got. It is a celebration, a reminder that Homo sapiens is not always bad news.

The place

The Alpujarras south of Granada, with the almond blossom like frozen fountains of sea-spray, or a few months later when the orange trees are in bloom and the spring snow flashing on the Sierra Nevada. Or the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca.

The film

Cinema has become a passion, but my taste remains hopelessly philistine. The Italian Job (directed by Peter Collinson), Get Shorty (Barry Sonnenfeld), and just now the smartened up re- releases of Grease (Randal Kleiser) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (William Keighley, Michael Curtiz).

The artwork

No contest here, ever since I saw it in the Prado in the mid-Seventies, in a smallish room, unglazed with an open window by it - it has to be Velzquez's "Las Meninas" (The Maids of Honour c1656). It has a little marble plaque beside it saying "The greatest work of art in the world."

Julian Rathbone's `Trajectories' is published by Victor Gollancz, pounds 16.99. He is currently writing the screenplay of `The Last English King' (Abacus pounds 6.99)

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