Cultural Life: Neil LaBute, playwright

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The Independent Culture

Films: I've been on a French cinema kick for many years now – recently loved 'Mademoiselle Chambon' (simple and heartbreaking) in the cinema and 'A Prophet' (brutal, devastating) again on DVD. Also saw part one of 'Mesrine', the Vincent Cassel crime epic, and can't wait to see the second half. Rented a film I didn't know called 'The Man of My Life', starring Charles Berling; the film was a bit fussy technically but Berling created a touching portrait of a charming, restless gay loner.

Television: I've continued to follow 'Mad Men' into their fourth season – it's been a banner acting year for Jon Hamm (below) but the show seems to be spinning its handsome set of wheels in terms of story and conflict this time around. I'll stick with it, fingers crossed.

Music: Love the new CD by The National called 'High Violet' and the even newer one by Eels called 'Tomorrow Morning'. Rough-voiced men singing sweetly sad songs. Beautiful.

Books: I recently dipped back into 'The Great Gatsby' looking for a quote and read the thing cover to cover. It holds up as a wonderful study of excess and waste and there's a sentence by Fitzgerald every few pages that actually takes your breath away. I'm also savouring a slim volume of collected short stories called 'The Women Who Got Away'. Nobody describes the moment when love disappears like John Updike does.

Visual Arts: Spent a wonderful afternoon at 'Manly Pursuits: The Sporting Images of Thomas Eakins' in Los Angeles. His brilliant studies of the male animal at rest and play are gorgeous examples of 19th-century American painting at its best. I felt sweaty and alive.

'This Is How It Goes' by Neil LaBute and directed by Seb Billings is at the King's Head Theatre, London N1 until 3 October (0844 477 1000)