My Favourite Things (misc)

A Random List of Favourite Things (mostly alphabetical)


  • Dolphins
  • Penguins
  • Polar Bears

Art period

  • 1848-1940 (Pre-Raphaelites through to surrealism)

Atheist Quote

  • ‘I desire to go to hell and not to heaven – for in hell I shall enjoy the company of princes, popes and kings, while in heaven there are only beggars, saints and apostles.’ (Machiavelli)

Batman Villain

  • The Joker (obligatory)
  • Two Face (Joker aside, the most psychologically interesting)
  • Ra’s Al Ghul
  • Bane (genius plus brute strength)

Books of the Bible

  • Ecclesiastes (for the mournful cynicism)
  • Song of Solomon (for the beauty of the poetry)
  • Revelations (for sheer insanity)

Book Written by Douglas Adams

  • The Salmon of Doubt

British governments

  • Labour 1940-1945 (even if they’d done nothing else but the creation of the NHS this would be enough to land them top-spot)
  • Labour 1964-1970 (abolition of death penalty, decriminalising homosexuality, abortion etc)

British Monarch

  • Charles II (for being a generally intelligent, likable and tolerant bloke compared with most rulers prior to him – and in fact, since)

Character from ‘Breakfast Club’

  • Alison

Characters from the ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ cartoon

  • Tiamat
  • Venger

Character from Winnie the Pooh

  • Eeyore (shock horror) 


  • Green
  • Black
  • Sapphire-blue


  • George Carlin (RIP)
  • Bill Hicks (RIP)
  • Stewart Lee
  • Baddiel and Newman – purely on the strength of the ‘History Today’ sketches

Comic Book Artist (Modern Era Only)

  • Dave McKean (head and shoulders above the rest for me – the guy’s amazing)
  • Dave Gibbons (Watchmen)
  • Brian Bolland (The Killing Joke)
  • Eddie Campbell (From Hell)

Crazy Bible Stories

  • Genesis 30: 39 (Jacob makes stripey animals by having them mate in front of stripey sticks)
  • 2 Kings 2: 23-24 (God sends she-bears to maul kids to death for daring to laugh at Elishah’s bald head)
  • Matthew 21: 18-22 (Jesus curses and kills a fig tree which won’t give him a fig – despite it being the wrong time of the year for the tree to bear fruit)
  • Revelations (Pretty much everything)

Crazy Rulers

  • Vlad III of Wallachia (he takes some beating)
  • Idi Amin of Uganda (simply for having the title – ‘His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO,MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”, in addition to his officially-stated claim of being the uncrowned King of Scotland.”)

Cynics and curmudgeons (quotable ones)

  • Calvin (from ‘Calvin and Hobbes’)
  • Dr Samuel Johnson
  • Mark Twain
  • Oscar Wilde

Decade for post-rock n’roll popular music

  • The 1970s (best by test)
  • The 1980s (guilty pleasure)


  • Earl Grey tea (Twinnings, with milk, preferably served from a pot)
  • Decent-quality coffee from a pot
  • Ginger beer (with ice)
  • Lime milkshake with cream (a rare treat but a welcome one)


  • Keith Moon (The Who)
  • John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
  • Ian Paice (Deep Purple)
  • Ginger Baker (Cream)
  • Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters)

Dungeons and Dragons Monster

  • The Tarrasque (it’s huge, it’s unstoppable – what’s not to like?)

Episodes of Columbo

  • The Bye Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case (Theodore Bikel)
  • Now You See Him (Jack Cassidy)
  • The Most Dangerous Match (Laurence Harvey)

Episodes of Dungeons and Dragons (cartoon)

  • The Dragon’s Graveyard (the best overall)

Episodes of old Dr Who (Top 10)

  • The Caves of Androzani (Davison),
  • The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (McCoy)
  • The Curse of Fenric, (McCoy),
  • The Deadly Assassin (T Baker)
  • The Talons of Weng-Chiang (T Baker)
  • Warriors Gate (T Baker)
  • City of Death (T Baker).
  • Logopolis (T Baker)
  • Tomb of the Cybermen (Troughton)
  • An Unearthly Child (Hartnell) – for the first episode
  • NB – For the really nerdy, Seasons Five, Seven, 14 and 18 are the all-time greats

Episodes of Press Gang

  • There Are Crocodiles
  • Monday-Tuesday
  • Shouldn’t I Be Taller
  • The Last Word (parts one and two)
  • Something Terrible (parts one and two)
  • Killer on the Line
  • A Quarter to Midnight
  • At Last a Dragon

Episodes of the Prisoner

  • Dance of the Dead
  • Free For All
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Many Happy Returns
  • The Chimes of Big Ben
  • The Girl Who Was Death

Episodes of the X Files 

  • Ice (S1)
  • Eve (S1)
  • Die Hand Die Verletzt (S2)
  • Humbug (S2)
  • Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (S3)
  • Paper Hearts (S4)
  • Small Potatoes (S4)
  • The Post-Modern Prometheus (S5)
  • Tithonous (S6)
  • Monday (S6)


  • George Orwell
  • Christopher Hitchens
  • Harlan Ellison 
  • Robert Ingersoll
  • Douglas Adams
  • Nick Hornby (31 Songs)

Fighting Fantasy Illustrator

  • John Blanche (Sorcery!)
  • Russ Nicholson
  • Tim Sell (House of Hell)

Films by Alfred Hitchcock

  • Rear Window
  • Vertigo
  • The Birds

Films by John Carpenter

  • Halloween
  • Dark Star
  • Assault on Precinct 13
  • The Thing
  • They Live

Films by Stanley Kubrick

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Shining
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Barry Lyndon

Film Composers

  • Ennio Morricone
  • Vangelis (on the strength of ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘1492’)

Film / TV villains

  • Abner Brown – ‘The Box of Delights’
  • Alex – ‘Clockwork Orange’
  • Anton Chigurh – ‘No Country for Old Men’
  • Cardinal Richelieu (Heston version) – The ‘Three’ / ‘Four’ Musketeers
  • Dr Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins version) – ‘Silence of the Lambs’ etc
  • Frank – ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’
  • Lucy Butler – ‘Millennium’
  • Miriam Blaylock – ‘The Hunger’
  • Top Dollar – ‘The Crow’
  • The Joker (both Nicholson and Ledger versions)

French Monarch

  • Louis XV (for supposedly saying ‘Apres Moi Les Deluge’ (‘after me comes the flood’) in reference to the looming French Revolution which didn’t actually happen until he was indeed dead – now there’s a cynic)


  • Heart of Ice (Dave Morris) – Quite possibly the best gamebook ever written. Believe what you hear.
  • The ‘Sorcery’ series (Steve Jackson)
  • Deathtrap Dungeon (Ian Livingstone) – Oldie but goldie.
  • House of Hell (Steve Jackson) – Ditto

Guitar solos (one per artist)

  • AC/DC – ‘Have a Drink on Me’ (Angus Young)
  • Black Sabbath – ‘Die Young’ (Tony Iommi)
  • Cream – ‘White Room’ (Eric Clapton) 
  • Deep Purple – ‘Highway Star’ – ‘Made in Japan’ version (Richie Blackmore)
  • Dire Straits – ‘Sultans of Swing’ (Mark Knopfler)
  • Dream Theater – ‘Pull Me Under’ – (John Petrucci)
  • Fleetwood Mac – ‘Big Love’ from ‘The Dance’ (Lyndsey Buckingham)
  • Guns n’Roses – ‘Night-train’ (Slash)
  • Iron Maiden – ‘Alexander the Great’ (Dave Murray / Adrian Smith)
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – ‘All Along the Watchtower’ (Jimi Hendrix)
  • Led Zeppelin – ‘Communication Breakdown’ (Jimmy Page)
  • Megadeth – ‘Hangar 18’ (Dave Mustaine / Marty Friedman)
  • Metallica – ‘Master of Puppets’ (Kirk Hammett / James Hetfield)
  • Michael Jackson – ‘Beat It’ (Eddie Van Halen)
  • Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Mr Crowley’ (Randy Rhodes)
  • Pantera – ‘Cemetery Gates’ (‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott)
  • Pink Floyd – ‘Pigs (Three Different Ones’) (Dave Gilmour)
  • Queen – The Prophet’s Song (Brian May)
  • Rolling Stones – ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ (Keith Richards)

Instrumental Track By a Rock Band (one per artist)

  • Interstellar Overdrive (Pink Floyd)
  • The Call of Ktulu (Metallica)
  • Transylvania (Iron Maiden)
  • Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys)
  • Eple (Royksopp)
  • Eruption (Van Halen)
  • Funkadelic (Maggot Brain)
  • The Star Spangled Banner (Jimi Hendrix)

Keyboard solos

  • Genesis – ‘Cinema Show’ (Tony Banks)
  • Pink Floyd – ‘Any Colour You Like’ (Richard Wright)

Keyboardists (including piano and organ)

  • Tony Banks (Genesis)
  • Richard Wright (Pink Floyd)
  • Rick Wakeman (Yes) – I’m not the biggest Yes fan, but the guy’s amazing
  • Jon Lord (Deep Purple)
  • Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
  • Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones etc)
  • Elton John
  • Stevie Wonder


  • Chetham’s Library, Manchester (it’s only small, but it was here I got to see an original copy of ‘Paradise Lost’ and Newton’s ‘Principia Mathematica.’). Plus, free admission. Can’t be bad.
  • Gladstone’s Library, North Wales (a beautiful place I was lucky enough to visit one weekend)
  • New York Public Library (I’ve never been, but it sure does look impressive)
  • Cardinal Mazarin’s Library (on the grounds it contained an original copy of the Gothenberg Bible – how rich must the old git have been?)

Marx Brother

  • Harpo

Meal eaten while at university

  • Chicken tikka masala with a basket of chips and a pint of Blackthorn cider in the (now sadly defunct) Wentworth canteen. Yes it was simple, but it was bloody lovely.

Member of the Beatles

  • George Harrison

Member of the Ghostbusters team

  • Ray Stantz (it’s Dan Akroyd’s childlike enthusiasm – sorry Bill Murray!)

Member of the Goodies

  • Bill Oddie (sorry, it’s the beard and the shirts)

Member of Monty Python

  • Graham Chapman

Members of the Rolling Stones

  • Keith Richards
  • Brian Jones
  • Mick Taylor (best guitarist they ever had)

Members of the Who

  • Pete Townshend (melanholic guitar god plus the brains behind the outfit) 

Musicals (films)

  • Cabaret
  • Wizard of Oz
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Labyrinth
  • West Side Story
  • The Wicker Man (ha!)

Mythological monsters

  • Hydra (yeah, I know dragons have captured the public imagination more, but come on, how bad-ass would a hydra actually be if you were wading through a swamp?)
  • Manticore (bonus points for the fact it features as the end-of-level-boss in ‘The Shamutanti Hills’ by Steve Jackson – good choice, Steve)

Number Two from ‘The Prisoner’

  • Leo McKern (the only actor to appear in the role three times – yay)


  • Bosch
  • Breughel
  • Goya
  • Leonardo (for the drawings)
  • Magritte
  • MC Escher
  • Van Gogh

Paintings by Artists Other Than Those Previously Named

  • Dadd – The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke
  • Fueseli – The Night Mare
  • Gericault – The Raft of the Medusa
  • Grunewald – Crucifixion (from the Eisenheim Alterpiece)
  • Velasquez – Portrait of Innocent X
  • Velasquez – Las Meninas (one of the best paintings ever)


  • Bertrand Russell (for just generally being amazing)
  • Friederich Nietzsche (for being barmy, eminently quotable and for having an outstanding ‘tache)
  • Baruch Spinoza (for being a champion of tolerance and free speech – a rare quality among his 17th Century peers even if Holland was generally more tolerant than elsewhere)
  • Emil Cioaran (for being bleaker-than-thou)


  • Domino’s meat-feast (I had one in London – to date, the most delicious pizza I’ve tried even if it is from a chain)

Places in the UK

  • Cambridge 
  • Chester
  • Hay-on-Wye (for being the second-hand bookshop capital of the UK)
  • Leakey’s bookshop, Inverness
  • Lincoln
  • Llandudno, North Wales
  • Loch Ness
  • Nairn Beach, Scotland (the loveliest beach I’ve been to in the UK)
  • Worcester
  • York


  • Sylvia Plath
  • Ted Hughes
  • Philip Larkin
  • TS Eliot
  • Wilfred Owen 

Popes (ha ha ha)

  • Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini) – For being a liberal humanist, an avid book-lover and a man of the people (relatively speaking)
  • Nicholas V (Tommaso Peruntachelli) – For founding the Vatican Library (even if some of his other policies were less savoury)
  • Silvester II (Gerbert d’Aurillac) – For championing science and mathematics – and for supposedly being in league with the devil and owning various alchemical devices such as a talking bronze head (cool).

Retro Computer Games

  • Doom
  • Eternal Champions
  • Fatal Fury 
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Mortal Kombat II
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PS2)
  • Streetfighter II (champion edition)
  • The Thing (PS2)
  • Timesplitters 2 (PS2)
  • Red Faction (PS2)

Rock n’roller

  • Buddy Holly

Roman Emperors

  • Marcus Aurelius (yes, he persecuted the Christians but he was still a rare example of a man of insight, wisdom and integrity landing the top-job)
  • Caligua (okay, he had no redeeming qualities – but he gets points for just generally being batshit crazy)
  • Tiberius (you’ve got to admire someone who buggers off to the island of Capri leaving the empire in charge of a psychopath while you ‘entertain’ your guests elsewhere)

Rulers (fictional)

  • Richard IV from ‘Blackadder’ (for killing half the Turkish army armed only with a small fruit knife. And for being crazy and having a very large beard).
  • Vigo the Carpathian from ‘Ghostbusters 2’ (no explanation needed if you’ve seen the film)

Scrooge actor

  • Albert Finney (seriously, he’s hilarious)

Shakespeare characters

  • Iago from ‘Othello’ (for just generally being evil and brilliant)
  • The Fool from ‘King Lear (for being snarky and wise)
  • Timon from ‘Timon of Athens (for being so gloriously misanthropic by the end)
  • Titular character from ‘Richard III’ (can you blame him if everyone around him is an imbecile?)
  • Constable Dogberry from ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (surely the funniest petty authority figure ever written)
  • Mercutio from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (the most intelligent character in the play other than the Friar)

Sights (views)

  • The summit of the Great Orme in Llandudno, north Wales, overlooking the sea on a clear day
  • Rows and rows of books stretching as far as the eye can see (especially in a good second-hand bookshop)
  • Workplace (any) disappearing into the rear-view mirror of a car


  • A fry-up cooking (bacon especially)
  • Paint drying (as long as it’s not too strong)
  • Roast chicken cooking in an oven (especially when hungry)
  • The sea / sea-salt

Song lyricists

  • Adam Duritz (Counting Crows)
  • Bob Dylan (the greatest)
  • Elvis Costello
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Lou Reed
  • Mark E Smith (the Fall)
  • Paul Simon
  • Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) 
  • Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)


  • The noise wine makes when it’s first poured from a freshly-opened bottle into a glass (even though I’m a non-drinker)
  • Rain on the windows and the roof
  • A large tome clunking shut
  • Duel-lead electric guitars (think Iron Maiden or Thin Lizzy)
  • Waves

Stephen King Film Adaptations

  • The Shining (Kubrick)
  • Carrie (De Palmer)
  • Misery (Reiner)
  • Battleground (‘Nightmares and Dreamscapes’ – TV adaptation). 
  • The Dead Zone (Cronenberg) – Very atypical of his work and thus welcome

Superman Villains

  • Lex Luthor (obligatory)
  • General Zod (the Terrance Stamp version)
  • Doomsday
  • Mxyzptlk

Transformer Characters

  • Unicron
  • Flame
  • Shockwave

TV shows (factual)

  • The Shock of the New
  • Civilisation
  • Penn and Teller’s Bullsh*t

TV shows (fiction)

  • Bagpuss
  • Beavis and Butthead
  • Blackadder
  • Century Falls
  • Daria (early seasons)
  • Dark Season
  • Dexter
  • Dr Who (original)
  • Edge of Darkness
  • I, Claudius
  • Inquisition (2002, Jacobi) – one of the best one-off dramas I’ve seen
  • Jonathan Creek (Series 1-3)
  • Knightmare
  • Millennium
  • Mr Benn
  • Press Gang
  • Quantum Leap
  • Randall and Hopkirk Deceased (original)
  • Star Trek the Original Series (some of it)
  • Star Trek the Next Generation (some of it)
  • The Naked Civil Servant
  • The Prisoner (original)
  • The Singing Detective
  • The Stone Tape
  • The Twilight Zone (original) 
  • X Files

TV show theme-tunes

  • Dreamstone
  • Inspector Gadget
  • King Rollo
  • Mr Benn
  • Pirates of Dark Water
  • Power Rangers (even if the show was awful)
  • Shock of the New
  • Time Trax (guilty pleasure)
  • Twin Peaks

US Presidents

  • Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
  • Franklin D Roosevelt (1933-1945)
  • Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)


  • High Plains Drifter (one of the few I actually do like)
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • The ‘Dollars’ trilogy

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