Beth Bate is director of Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA), the cinema, art gallery and print studio located in Dundee’s so-called Cultural Quarter. Voted one of Scotland’s top 10 buildings of the 20th century by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, DCA has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

What’s the last book you read?

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell, the incredibly evocative story of a girl born into Renaissance Florentine aristocracy, wilful and artistic, trying to survive in the dangerous and mysterious court she has been married into. The whole book is inspired by one poem, My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning about Lucrezia di Medici, and O’Farrell weaves it all out from there. I’m addicted to O’Farrell’s books. They’re smart, brilliantly researched, and totally gripping – they really stay with me.

What’s the last film you saw in a cinema?

All Of Us Strangers, at DCA. An incredible film, it will strike a chord with anyone who has lost someone. The soundtracks to films we’re showing at DCA drift into my office so I’ve been on a massive revisit to Pet Shop Boys after this.

What music are you currently listening to a lot?

I’ve got Shopping by Welly on repeat at the moment. The natural successor to a long line of British arch-pop lyricists, they filmed the video in the Keiller Centre in Dundee, and their energy is just fizzing.

Recommend a gallery or museum …

Dundee Contemporary Arts. Even if I wasn’t director, I would still love DCA. There’s really nowhere else like it. The quality of all four programme areas – exhibitions, cinema, print studio, and learning – is incredible, with some of Scotland and the world’s best art and films supported and shown, as well as being a brilliant resource for artists and communities living closely. It’s a really popular social space and I love how much audiences love DCA as well.

Who’s your favourite artist from history?

Agnes Martin, the minimalist painter whose grids and repetitive patterned pieces are completely extraordinary; seemingly gentle but extremely powerful. Her works are all about restraint, silence, beauty and spirituality. I find them very emotional; her Tate show in 2015 made me have a proper cry.

What musical instrument do you wish you could play?

I learnt to play the piano as a child and the double bass as a teen, which did not make for easy transportation. It was a miracle that my mum ever got that huge bass in her old VW Beetle. The most portable option would be my voice and, seeing as I can’t sing for toffee, maybe this would be a relief for fellow karaoke lovers too.

The Herald:

What has been your most formative cultural experience?

I will always remember my dad taking me to see the Pop Art exhibition at the Royal Academy when I was 14. I remember Lichenstein, Warhol and Peter Blake so clearly, and I had no idea that’s what art could even be. It was hugely exciting and I still have my Richard Hamilton Slip It To Me badge.

Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst?

Tracey Emin, her early work and public art in particular.

What’s your go-to YouTube video?

Cat TV, endlessly long videos of birds and mice that I play for my cat, Sparkle. She has a whole garden to roam and hunt in but will also happily watch televised prey.

What haven’t you managed to get around to yet but will when you have the time?

Zone Of Interest, Jonathan Glazer’s film about the Holocaust and the Nazi family who live next to Auschwitz. I missed it first time around at DCA but we’re about to bring it back, along with other Oscar titles. It’s been named as a hugely important film and I want to catch it on the big screen.

What was the most memorable recent theatre show you saw?

I saw Andrew Scott in Vanya, broadcast live from the National Theatre at DCA. He was utterly remarkable, playing eight characters, all discernible by sometimes the smallest of gestures.

You’re in a station or airport shop ahead of a journey. What magazine do you grab?

Vogue. I’ve been a lifelong reader but it was getting pretty boring a few years ago and I all but gave it up. Then when Edward Enninful took over as editor, I remember unwrapping his first issue, with Adwoa Aboah on the cover, and was blown away. The fashion is more dynamic and creative than ever.

Who’s your favourite comedian?

Victoria Wood for ever and ever. I just adore her and she makes me weep with laughter.

Favourite living author?

Margaret Atwood, my undisputed queen of contemporary literature. Her insight and imagination is unparalleled, she is unflinching and savage. We are lucky to have her brain and her books. I went to see her speak at Hay Festival over 20 years ago and she was being interviewed by a journalist (I shan’t name him) who kept asking the most inane questions, which she had no time for. When the floor opened for questions, my pal asked her about dystopias and Atwood said: “Finally! A sensible question!” We are still delighted about that.

Favourite film?

Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders. His films are always a delight and Harry Dean Stanton is one of my favourite actors. Combined with Natassja Kinski completing their lovelorn couple and Ry Cooder’s soundtrack, it’s perfect. The line where one kid asks the other why he has two dads, and he replies “Just lucky I guess” gets me every time.

Recommend a TV box-set …

Succession. Shakespearean levels of intrigue and betrayal, wickedly funny, and you can see some of Dundee in season two, including the beloved bandstand on Magdalen Green.

A podcast …

I’m very into the Labours Of Hercule, where the presenters Adam Roche and Frankie Pellatt discuss every episode of ITV’s Poirot in turn. I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan, Poirot in particular, and having a whole hour dedicated to each of David Suchet’s turns is just bliss.

An album …

Disintegration by The Cure. I return to it again and again, long after I grew out of my teenage Goth phase. It has such an expansive range of tracks, so many musical directions being explored, with swirling guitars, heavy synths and dreamy lyrics. It’s often described as being very gloomy but I’ve never felt that way about it. Maybe that’s my inner Goth, ha!

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And a novel

I’m reading Slow Days, Fast Company by Eve Babitz. It was a gift from my best friend. Reading about dazed LA times is a window into a sunny other world.

Blur or Oasis?

Blur, though I’ve always been more of a Pulp fan.

Irvine Welsh or Robert Louis Stevenson?

Irvine Welsh, my first mini-introduction to Scottish language, and culture.

Edinburgh or Glasgow?

Dundee, of course!