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Interviewer: Why did you decide to include a painting by a famous politician?
Man: I wanted to remind viewers that amateur painting has its own purpose, that scores and scores of people paint for themselves as that politician did. And I liked his daughter’s explanation that it helped to give him some respite from the pressures of public life. I thought that was important to focus on , so that we weren’t just talking about painters as professionals who had really cracked it and who taught us things about their technique.
Interviewer: You draw yourself, don’t you?
Man: Yes, I’ve always liked it though I’m afraid my attempts aren’t very good, so I keep them purely for my own amusement. The intensity of drawing is always a great thrill , i can’t say it’s a relief, which it obviously is for some people. You have to use your eyes to look more carefully at a scene than you would if you were just out for a walk, or even if you were taking a photograph as an amateur. There’s something about drawing that forces you to see things and think about them
Interviewer: I’ve only ever been up in a plane once where the pilot turned the plane over in an aerobatic display and I’ve never been more scared or felt sicker. Do you get that sinking feeling too, Gina?
Gina: I’m very fortunate in that I don’t. This came as a pleasant surprise to me because I do get terribly seasick. I find that what is routine and what I’m used to doing isn’t frightening. Learning some of the new manoeuvres, though, can be quite daunting because this is a single-seater plane. So, the first time I do anything new, I’m on my own  except for the guidance of my coach, who’s on the ground.
Interviewer: What’s the real thrill for you of performing these difficult manoeuvres in competitions?
Gina: It’s exciting of course, but ultimately the reward comes from knowing that you’ve done it with precision . It involves an unusual combination of mental preparation, physical preparation and skill. It’s not as difficult as you might first think to fly the sequences of movements. What is difficult is doing it to a high enough standard to avoid the faults the judges are looking out for.
Fran: I’m exhausted. It took an hour to drive five kilometres! George: You should do what I do and use a motorbike.
Fran: Is it much quicker?
George: It is a bit, because you avoid some queues. The great thing is, when I put on my helmet, I’m shut away, you know, in my own little world  and that means I arrive feeling quite calm. I started riding a motorbike where I grew up in the country because there weren’t any buses.
Fran: So is that your most prized possession? I was asked recently what my favourite thing at home was. As a chef I imagine yours is something in the kitchen, your cooker perhaps.
George: The one at the restaurant is fantastic because it was specially designed for me. It’s hard to say here. My family love the kitchen table, where they chat for hours. Given the late hours I work, I hardly participate in that. No, my workplace is so hot and sticky that what I long for is a shower when I get home . I feel the stresses of the day disappear with the water. Odd thing to choose, isn’t it?
Man: I’d been teaching art for about ten years when I went on holiday to Greece. While I was there, I became really interested in the art of making mosaics and decided to include this in the courses I run. Many people assume that the Romans invented mosaic, but it was the Greeks who were the true craftsmen . And they, in turn, probably picked it up from the Sumerians. But it was the Romans who brought mosaics to Britain. And, apart from the introduction of nylon backing to hold the tiles together, the techniques themselves haven’t changed much over five thousand years. It’s the designs which have undergone a really radical change . In the recent past, modern mosaics have been restricted to the walls of public libraries and the odd swimming pool , and, by and large, it looked as if the true art of the mosaic could well disappear. Fortunately, that has not happened.
People often ask me why I prefer to spend hours teaching my students to stick tiny squares onto tiles when I could be doing something else. And it’s certainly the case that the process demands both time and motivation  on occasions. It can even give you a really bad headache! But, in fact, there’s something very therapeutic about it. I think it has something to do with breaking things up and then reconstructing them.
For every course I teach, we have jars and jars of brightly coloured glass, odd bits of china, broken plates and dishes, and most people just can’t wait to start sticking them onto larger stretches of concrete. For the beginners, we produce mosaic packs, which contain all the essentials you need and explain clearly how to go about things. Each course includes a weekend workshop, which is attended by the majority of students , and it’s actually a wonderful way of relaxing. I’m often asked if I do puzzles, and it’s not such a silly question as it sounds because it’s a very good comparison of skills . Some people do get a bit scared, faced with all that choice, but that’s why the mosaic packs are so popular. But I try to teach people to be inventive as well.
If you look around yourself, there’s plenty of evidence that the art is enjoying a revival. Not only do you see mosaic ashtrays and soap dishes , but you can actually now find them decorating underground station walls. Now, I’m not suggesting that you start pulling your own home to pieces and replacing everything with mosaics, although I often find myself looking at chests of drawers and thinking, ‘Hmm, just a border, perhaps! ’ Still, my reply to my over anxious students is, ‘All right, I know it takes hours, but, after all, it’s a labour of love, and you have something which will give you pleasure for a long time afterwards.’ Now if you’re interested in trying out the effect in your own home…