Read. Watch. Listen. with Malcolm Ruddock

Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Today, Malcolm Ruddock, executive assistant to the President and Provost, takes his turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

Barbarian Days book cover

Barbarian Days book


Read: A book that recently held my narrow attention span cover to cover is Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. For him, Finnegan explains in erudite prose, surfing is decidedly not a sport but an addiction – one that compelled him to travel the world during his youth in search of the proverbial perfect wave, and one that still captivates him well into his 60s in the frigid North Atlantic waters near his home in Manhattan. Finnegan is no Spicoli, and this is no stoner’s tale. It’s part autobiography, part travelogue, for which The New Yorker staff writer won a Pulitizer to add to a raft of other awards he’s received for his political journalism.

Barbarian Days book cover

Barbarian Days, by William Finnegan


Watch: I can pick any random film showing at Hyland Cinema and rarely go wrong. Case in point: the last one I saw was Free Solo,a documentary about mountain climber Alex Honnold who scales the 3,000-foot granite monolith known as “El Capitan” in California’s Yosemite National Park. For the uninitiated, “free solo” means going up without a rope and no equipment other than a small bag of hand chalk strapped to his waist. This is a riveting film you will watch mostly from the edge of your seat or cowering into its back.


Listen: I enjoy listening to CBC Music’s “Strombo” stream on my headphones while working out at Western’s Student Rec Centre. Categorized as “pop/rock,” George’s ecclectic mix juxtaposes genres from reggae and rap to punk and thrash metal. Always fun, mostly high-energy and occasionally educational (e.g., now I know Tom Waits and Scarlett Johansson have each covered “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” by the Ramones), it’s expanded my musical catalogue and helps me feel a little younger when I’m grappling with dumbbells among other weight-room clientele who average 30 years my junior.


If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see in Read. Watch. Listen. or would like to participate yourself, drop a line to