My cultural life: Stuart Patterson

What is your favourite film and why?

Too many, but I'd go for Bergman's Fanny And Alexander. Of course, it's beautifully filmed and acted, but what a wonderful screenplay, and so full of fun too, which isn't something normally associated with Bergman's films. And the Bishop has to be the best/most detestable villain in any film and his deservedly horrible death a great cause for celebration. And when young Alexander encounters the Bishop's ghost's mocking smile in that endless corridor… truly haunting and unforgettable.

The piece of music which means the most to you?

This is impossible to answer so I'll list the first few that come into my head. I love Chuck Berry as I remember my much older brother and sister playing his records downstairs when I was upstairs tucked up in bed. For me, John Martyn's 'Solid Air' is probably the greatest record made by any Scottish singer and I still play it frequently. Miles Davis, Captain Beefheart, Neil Young, Otis Redding… this is why it's impossible. I saw Brian Wilson at The Festival Theatre in Edinburgh recently and when you hear all those magnificent songs one after the other you begin to understand how he may be greater even that Lennon and McCartney.

The best performance you've ever been to?

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Dundee Rep Ensemble's production of Chekhov's The Seagull directed by the Lithuanian director Rimas Tuminas. He didn't speak any English so he communicated with the actors through a translator who was a Cockney. Perhaps it was the Cockney translator who was the genius, who knows, but it was a stunning production where the simplest movement or gesture could take your breath away.

The book you've read more than once?

I read Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest whenever I get fed up and bored with theatre, which is quite often. I find something new in it every time, and it makes me laugh out loud. It has a brilliantly surreal thread running through it. Similarly The Cherry Orchard, any play by Beckett, and, of course, Shakespeare. This can sometimes be counter-productive as these writers are so brilliant they make you want to throw in the towel.

The fictional character whose life you'd like to lead?

Captain Hook, or the old bewhiskered guy in the Western who's guarding the murderer in the town jail when Paw and his brothers come to spring their boy. The old guy defies them, brandishing his shotgun and warning them "You go on home now, or I'll come out blastin'!" And much later he shouts to his newly arrived allies outside "I've got two dead and one stove up."

Your idea of classic television?

The last great show on British TV was probably Boys From The Blackstuff which was a worryingly long time ago. Shameless can be good, but apart from that I watch Match Of The Day and Newsnight and the occasional film. American TV has soared ahead of us – think of Deadwood or The Sopranos. Most of our TV executives must only have a passion for their own careers and unfortunately that shows on our screens.

Your favourite work of art?

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov… no, Uncle Vanya… no The Cherry Orchard.

Prediction for star of the future?

I have to say Savourna Stevenson. I've worked with her for years in the theatre, but recently we've worked together on two Peter And The Wolf-style orchestral pieces with narratives – Misterstourworm and Hansel And Gretel. I've always known what a talented composer and harp player she is, but I believe she's pulled off something really special with these two pieces and has demonstrated a fantastic talent for classical composition.

The entertainment gadget you can't live without?

I've finally figured out my iPod after it lay in its box for ages. But I now find myself sitting on the train, staring helplessly at more than 10,000 songs and unable to decide what to play.

• Misterstourworm And The Kelpie's Gift, a new orchestral work with narrative for children, is released on CD, June 9. It is written by Stuart Paterson and Savourna Stevenson, narrated by Billy Boyd and performed by the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Edinburgh NYCoS and the RSNO Junior Chorus


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