My weekend: Alan Burnett

Alan Burnett
Alan Burnett

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Alan Burnett, 72, from Southsea, is a one-time Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Labour city council leader and university lecturer. He is chairman of the Portsmouth Pensioners’ Association. He has just written his first book, a collection of semi-autobiographical short stories called Early Years At Postcard Corner – a shop on the corner of Castle Road and Southsea Terrace above which one of his heroes, Peter Sellers, was born.

When did you last go away and where did you go?

Three weeks ago we went to Bristol to see our son and family and their newly born daughter Rosa. Jenny and I now have six grandchildren. They’re wonderful and keep us on our toes.

What was the last gig/concert/comedy show you went to?

Courtney Pine at the New Theatre Royal. He’s a real force known primarily for his saxophone playing. But he’s a multi-instrumentalist, also playing the flute, clarinet, bass clarinet and keyboards. Jazz is one of my real passions and I’ve been involved in helping to run the Nuffield Jazz Club for many years. I can think of nothing better on a Sunday afternoon than listening to some cool, live jazz.

What about the last theatre show you saw?

Can’t remember!

The last book you read?

Living with Darwin by Philip Kitcher. It was Charles Darwin Day on February 12 and he has been at the centre of public debate for more than a century.

The last film you saw at the cinema or on DVD?

The Life of Others which we watched with a German/American friend. It’s a 2006 German thriller about the monitoring of the cultural scene of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police.

What’s your favourite way to relax?

Watching sport on Saturday afternoons. I used to play rugby for Havant and I’ve always been a passionate Pompey fan. I was a season ticket holder for years, but I’ve given it up recently.

What do you watch on TV?

David Attenborough’s nature programmes.

And which TV programmes do you avoid?

Any programmes with guns and violence.

Which celebrity would you most like to spend a weekend with?

Professor Jim Al-Khalili the Iraqi-born British physicist, author and broadcaster who is also president of the British Humanist Association. Failing that, Glenda Jackson.

Where do you shop?

Charlotte Street market (what’s left of it) where I have bought fruit and veg for 45 years.

Where do you eat out?

Sopranos in Palmerston Road, Southsea.

What about pubs and bars? Where do you go?

Still & West, Old Portsmouth, and Sellers Coffee House, Kent Road, Southsea.

Where’s good for a day out locally?

Walking in the Meon Valley, cycling along the seafront or on the allotment.