a) Ben Elton is my favourite author, his style is very easy to keep
reading. I am also fond of David Lodge, as his books seamlessly
combine both compelling narrative and interesting philosophical
discussion. However, my favourite book, is "Kill Your Friends", by
John Niven, which creates such a wonderful visual image of life
working in the 90's music industry. Other favourites include Marina
Lewycka and Bill Bryson.
b) People always laugh, but I will defend to death my opinion that
"Cool Runnings" is the greatest film ever made. It is excellent in
pretty much every respect. The Chilean film "Machuca" is also
fantastic, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind
films with subtitles.
Other than that, I like a lot of Kevin Smith's earlier stuff, as
well as things like "Dr. Strangelove", "They Shoot Horses, Don't
They", "The Boat That Rocked" and "Demolition Man".
c) "Community" may just be the best show ever created, with "30
Rock", "Parks and Recreation" and "The Big Bang Theory" also up
there. "Daria" is, of course, an all-time classic. Otherwise, you
can tick off a lot of the classic British comedies- "Blackadder",
"Monty Python", "The Young Ones", "The Office", "Phoenix Nights"
and things of that ilk.
d) I'm a sucker for Mel C, and women-fronted 90's rock in general,
stuff like The Cardigans and Letters To Cleo. Eminem is an all-time
great, and I also grew up a Britpop kid, so you can tick off Oasis,
Pulp, Blur, Ash etc. More recently, you're talking Reverend and the
Makers, Lily Allen, The Kooks- all that sort of mainstream-enough
indie sound. But I'm certainly no snob and will listen to anything,
really- there's a time and place for the likes of Katy Perry and
In terms of lesser-known artists, I'd highly recommend checking out
the Bastard Fairies and the Dresden Dolls.
e) Pancakes are not just for Pancake Day.