Watching, listening, reading: December

Here we are again at the end of the month, and the usual round up of media consumption.  It’s also, of course, the end of the year, but rather than look back on 2016, I intend to look forward to 2017, so no round up of the year here.


I actually went to the cinema twice this month – first to see Dancer, a documentary about Sergei Polunin and then to see Rogue One on Boxing Day.  Dancer is the story of Sergei Polunin, the Ukranian born, Royal Ballet School trained dancer who burned out just as his career was really taking off.  It was an interesting story, and we were treated to quite a bit of his dancing.  He’s coming to Auckland this year, but am not sure I’ll be able to get up there to see him.  You can check his dancing out here.

We loved Rogue One – great story well told, sticking to the feel of the original films. I had my doubts before going, but everyone said it was good, and they were right.  It is really worth catching, but if you don’t like or know Star Wars guess you wouldn’t get anything out of it.

On the small screen we watched the Dr Who Christmas special, which was OK but not great.  I laughed all through the Christmas edition of Outnumbered, a comedy series we loved in the past, brought back for a special this year. Still on special programmes for the season, I started watching Dancing the Nutcracker inside the Royal Ballet, which was all right but not as interesting as it could have been. 

Also during December we watched the end of the Swedish serial, Modus, which got more and more complicated with each episode.  We have watched the first part of The Witness for the Prosecution, an adaptation of an Agatha Christie tale, starring Kim Cattrall. Question – why are so many TV series now filmed in the dark?  It is so boring to watch as well as sometimes hard to see what is going on.  I really wish this trend would stop.


I’ve been picking up some new podcasts for the holidays, such as Prince Street, Up and Vanished, Evolutionaries and A Taste of the Past.  Catch Evolutionaries for interesting interviews with people like Michael Pollan on food issues, and A Taste of the Past for exactly that, discussions about the history of food and eating habits. Is anyone else following Up and Vanished?  It is actually quite good, especially considering it is being made on a shoe string.

Other than that, from the BBC for a bit of daft fun when you can’t get going in the morning, Rhod Gilbert’s Best Bits podcast always helps, The Archers still, of course, and, even if you are not a fan, do catch Bruce Springsteen on Desert Island Discs. Breakfast radio is always Radio New Zealand, and being off on holiday right now, we are getting up later.  This means missing bird of the day, but catching things like a re-broadcast of an interview with Thomas Dolby.


Having a bit of holiday has meant I’ve had a chance to read.  My first copy of Cherry Bombe arrived, and really enjoyed reading so many good articles.  Frankie, Dish and Vogue Living (Australia) also dropped onto my magazine radar this month.

As for books, sticking with my current interest in food and eating, rather than just cooking, I turned to First Bite: How We Learn To Eat by Bee Wilson.  It’s an account of how we acquire our tastes in food and how we can change them, and draws on many different sources.  It was quite an interesting read, but there was some repetition and I think it would have made interesting long article rather than a complete book.  However, it certainly gives one food for thought (sorry!).  With work being stressful before Christmas, light relief was needed, and came in the delightful and very funny The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman by Mamen Sanchez.  It’s a great summer read.  I also read Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn (pictured above), a gripping thriller set in 1930s London and another perfect summer read.



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