Poppy is doing a school project about people with odd or unusual hobbies. She talks to two people she knows who live in her apartment block about their pastimes. Listen to the interviews.
Poppy: Thanks for letting me chat to you about your hobby, James. I know you’re busy and I really appreciate you making this time for a short interview.
James: No problem, Poppy. I’ll help in any way I can. Fire away with your questions.
Poppy: Can you tell me when you started to be interested in your unusual hobby?
James: Well, I don’t think my hobby is unusual. It’s something that a lot of people used to do a generation ago. It’s just fallen out of favour recently. Very few people are interested in my hobby these days. It’s a pity.
Poppy: Can you tell me what your hobby is?
James: Yes. I’m a philatelist. I collect postage stamps.
Poppy: Ooh. Could you spell that for me?
James: Yes, P H I L A T E L I S T. Collecting stamps is philately. P H I L A T E L Y.
Poppy: Right, I’ve got that. How did you start collecting stamps?
James: My grandfather started collecting stamps when he was a boy, and for my eighteenth birthday he gave me his collection. He had more than nine thousand foreign stamps in twenty albums. I had shown little interest in stamp collecting when I was a kid, but when Granddad gave me his collection, my interest suddenly took off and I saw how fascinating this hobby was.
Poppy: Why would you recommend stamp collecting as a hobby? I have to admit, it sounds a bit boring to me.
James: Boring? Never! Stamp collecting isn’t just about little bits of paper that you stick on a letter. It’s about design, art, history, geography. You can find out so much just by looking at a stamp.
Poppy: Do you know how many stamps you now have in your collection?
James: Well over fifteen thousand. I'm not sure exactly. You stop counting exactly as your collection builds up.
Poppy: What is your most valuable stamp?
James: There’s no doubt about that. I have a Victorian Penny Black. It was one of the first postage stamps ever issued in Britain. I could get hundreds of thousands of dollars for it at auction, but I would never dream of parting with it.
Poppy: Thanks, James. That introduction to stamp collecting was really interesting. I have changed my mind about it being a boring thing to do!
Poppy: Clara, lots of people have the same hobby as you. What is odd about the way you approach it?
Clara: Yes. Basically my hobby is the most popular hobby in the world, but I do have a different take on it.
Poppy: Explain, please.
Clara: Well, my hobby is photography but I am not at all interested in taking colour photographs. I only take black and white. And also I hate digital cameras. I use a camera that uses real film like all cameras used to do ten or so years ago before digital took over.
Poppy: Why don’t you use a modern camera?
Clara: I do use a contemporary camera. It just isn’t digital.
Poppy: You can buy camera that aren’t digital in shops today?
Clara: Not in usual camera shops. But there are still specialist photography shops that sell cameras that use film. And it’s great fun developing your own film. It takes time but it’s a great feeling when you see a picture appear on the film you are developing. It’s much more satisfying than pressing a button and seeing an instant photo. Where’s the skill in that? Taking a photograph with a digital camera isn’t real photography in my opinion. It’s for people who know nothing about photography.