Born in Bradford, Tim Booth was recruited by British rock band James while at Manchester University in the 1980s. With Booth as lead singer, James went on to sell more than 12m albums. The band supported the Smiths on their 1985 tour and reached No 2 in the UK singles chart in 1991 with Sit Down. In 2001, Booth left the band to teach the movement meditation practice 5Rhythms, before releasing his first solo album, Bone, in 2004. Following acting roles in Batman Begins and The Manchester Passion, he rejoined James in 2007. James' latest album, Le Petite Mort, is out now. Leah Harper
DV8 are the physical theatre company founded by Lloyd Newson. Their work is incredible, powerful and punishing. The first DV8 piece I saw was called Strange Fish  - it was the greatest performance, in any medium, that I have ever witnessed.
I'm going to Burning Man festival for the fourth time this summer - the last time I went was my stag week and I cycled around in a wedding dress and a fur coat the whole time. Adults go to Burning Man to become children. It's about art for art's sake, with no commercial interest.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
David Mitchell is the most amazing author. Cloud Atlas is hard to get into because it jumps between time zones - at first, you don't know what's going on, but there's an accumulation within the structure that hits you like an avalanche about halfway through.
Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes
I first saw Ronnie Burkett, a puppeteer from Canada, in Brighton 10 years ago. After 20 minutes, this old man puppet that I had got to rather like came on stage naked, got in the bath, had a heart attack and died - and I burst into tears. I think he is a genius.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I sat through all 144 episodes of Buffy twice, with both my sons, and I think it's a masterpiece. I don't think True Blood, or Twilight, or The Returned would exist without it. [Buffy creator] Joss Whedon felt he was writing for kids but it morphed into something profound.
Big Sur, California
I've just come back from Big Sur, and a place called the Esalen Institute. It's a 120-acre ranch on the cliff tops, overlooking the ocean. They have natural hot sulphur spring baths, where you can sit watching shooting stars - or in my case, watching the eclipse of the moon.