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How's Life: Gareth Davies - 'Small amounts of trouble'

In this series you will have a small peek into the lives of people who work or study at VU Amsterdam.

In this article: Gareth Davies, Professor of European Law

Place of birth Cuckfield, UK, 1970 Nationality Double British / Dutch Studies / Research Field European Law: Free movement Law, Trade Law, EU citizenship, Climate Engineering Colour Haven't thought about that for 40 years. Blue is okay but mostly for wearing Favourite Movie or Book Mass consumer of books but choice would be: 1. Macbeth - was forced to study at school but turned out inspiring 2. A Confederacy of Dunces - has something wonderfully humorous and surreal about it, a kind of lightness The Interview What’s your favourite spot in the place you grew up in and, did you find a ‘new’ favourite place in Amsterdam yet? I loved to be in the woods around my house, when I was really little. I still like being around the countryside, especially in the hills. There’s not really such a place in the Netherlands. I miss the hills and the ‘real’ outside. Here that doesn't really exist.

What does your perfect day look like? I hate being in a rush, there's nothing I hate more than being hurried. I would probably get up whenever I felt like it. Probably between 8 and 9. Slow breakfast, newspaper and coffee. Long and slow start of the day. After that I would go for a long hike outside in the hills (if there is any around). Walk for a few hours and then have a drink / read a book. Afterwards go out for a film and dinner.

What were you like in high-school? You should really ask someone else shouldn't you... I was probably a bit of a wisenose, a bit of a know-it-all. Little bit of a nerd maybe, or, probably not. Someone who always knew the answers. A bit cheeky but not really bad. Always getting into small amounts of trouble. None of the really bad stuff. Now I’ve slowed down. I was a lot smarter then. The brain cells have slowly decayed. When I was young I thought I was always right and looking back, I probably was. Now other people think I’m right but I don't think I am anymore. It's tragic but the way the world works. It gives you respect when you no longer deserve it.

Can you share a goal you would like to achieve within the next 5 years? I don't think so. No, I actually make short term goals. I used to make long term plans but never do them. On a whole I make plans for the next few weeks of months. Sometimes I think it would would be nice to write a book but then usually when I start I can not be bothered to be honest. I tend to just follow my ideas and see what happens.

What would you do if nothing was holding you back? Actually, I would probably work less and write more. I would write slower and take more time. Instead of writing and article every few months. I would give myself more time and go off and travel the world and write a book about whatever I felt writing about. I would do everything slower, there's now always the pressure of getting things done. And, I always liked the idea of writing but never actually did it until I got an academic job. I suppose that I could have easily have become someone who studied literature or become a journalist or something, that would've been fun. I could still go in that direction, I can imagine... it's not impossible.

A novelist maybe but I don’t have enough talent for that.


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