It’s almost the end of August, just a few days to go to the 1st September and the start of spring for us in the southern hemisphere. Here is a round up of some of the things I’ve enjoyed watching, listening to and reading.
We finally got around to watching Blå Ögon (Blue Eyes) which was first shown in Sweden in 2014. It’s a gripping drama which is not just about the murder of a far-right politician, but also about the machinations of government. The Guardian‘s introduction to the serial is a good starting point to learn more. Catch it if you can.
Still on drama, we have started to watch One of Us, (VPN and BBC iPlayer) about the murder of a seemingly happy couple and the aftermath. It’s one of those dramas where everyone has a secret, so as these become apparent, they open up more possibilities as to the path of the story will take. I’ve only seen episode 1, so am reserving a final judgement until later, but why oh why are the actors speaking so slowly? Obviously this has been made for export, but it sounds a bit stilted to me. Anyway, it stars the ever wonderful Juliet Stevenson, as one of the mothers of the murdered couple. Note: it is filmed near Peebles in the Scottish Borders instead of where it is supposed to be set, the Highlands, and it is obvious.
We are so enjoying the brilliant Stranger Things on Netflix! Stranger Things is set in 1983 and centred round a group of children in the small Indiana town of Hawkins. It follows their search for their friend Will who vanishes as he cycles home one night. It is full of cliches that dominated film in the 80s. As one reviewer said, the boys are straight out of a Spielberg film, and I love the Alien like beast, the Cold War fear. The characters too are great – the pretty and clever sister, the kind hearted nerd, the policeman who comes round to believing something sinister is going on and Winona Ryder as the hysterical mother of the lost boy. If you haven’t seen it, do try it. I haven’t been so gripped by a TV drama for months.
The children from Stranger Things (picture from The Verge)
Podcasts still fill up most of my listening time. Old editions of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Desert Island Discs (loved the programme with Nadiya Hussain who won The Great British Bakeoff last year), TED Radio Hour, and The New Yorker Radio Hour. I especially enjoyed a lively and fun interview with Paul Simon on the last on that list and one with Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York from the first. I’m still catching up on old episodes of Radio Cherry Bombe, the radio addition to Cherry Bombe magazine and asking myself why I hadn’t I discovered this before. Over on BBC Radio 4, I’ve been listening to Tracks, which is another conspiracy/sci fi drama. It’s OK, but none of the characters are engaging. I’ve also been enjoying for the umpteenth time The Small Intricate Life of Gerald C Potter, a comedy series from the 1970s starring Ian Carmichael, which still makes me laugh.
As for music, I took part in a Facebook challenge to post a song from the 1980s for a week. I cheated and added one extra, Love and Money Strange Kind of Love – still love this all these years later. This morning as I was starting the blog post, this came on the radio*. I just had to sing along.
On the magazine front, it’s the same old favourites, though I think I might try something new for September if I have time.
Need some sofa time!
As for books, in between detective novels, I picked up Haruki Murakami’s Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki, which has been sitting in my to read pile for a while. Normally, I can’t put down his work, but this I couldn’t pick up. I’m not sure why, perhaps the mood I was in when I started it. In contrast, I’ve just started Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies which I am loving.
So that’s it for this month. Charlie decided to contribute the media he has enjoyed this month, as you can see in the header photograph. His favourite film was one of garden birds. His favourite listening was the opening of a bag of cat treats and as for reading…Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats of course.
*Frank Sinatra New York, New York