- Ready Player One was alright, felt like I’d seen it before. Nice to see Birmingham on the big screen, less so because it’s portraying a dystopian craphole
- Isle of Dogs I felt a bit mixed about; it felt too long and there are elements of it that are problematic
- Midnight Sun ended a triple bill at the cinema. Felt a bit fluffy, which is why I saw it, suspect the original might’ve been a bit meatier
- A Quiet Place was unexpectedly brilliant, found myself holding my breath at the end, and agreeing with the nervous laughs from other audience members at the end
- Ghost Stories is something I swear I’ve seen on stage and worked better then. It was classy and clever but I wanted a bit more from it
- Love Simon was a nice light-hearted teen romcom, with a gay main character – and love interest. This shouldn’t be refreshing in 2018, but it was.
- Funny Cow was an interesting look at the challenges facing a female comic in the 1970s, gritty social realism.
- Beast is about a sheltered young woman and an outsider who begin a turbulent relationship amidst a murder in the area. It’s typically British, with sound stand out acting and suitably atmospheric
- Avengers Infinity War I’m still unsure about, I’m going back for a second viewing
- Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is the perfect Sunday viewing whilst the weather outside is crap.
- Journeyman is definitely a go see movie. The story of a boxer recovering from brain damage, which is interesting and superbly acted
April has been a busy month, and looking back on it, it’s no wonder I’m feeling tired. Work saw me go on day trips to Leicester and Coventry, as well as a three day trip to Lancaster (which I wrote about here) and I also spent the weekend visiting friends in Colchester. I really enjoy the act of travelling so I didn’t mind all the train journeys, but I need to spend some quality time at home spring cleaning before a trip to Australia next month to see my sister.
What I’ve been watching…
I’ve managed to keep up a good run of going to the theatre again this month, with trips to see Fat Friends The Musical at the Alex, Police Cops in Outer Space at the Old Joint Stock and This House at The Rep. I also managed a couple of book talks, including one to see Laura Stevens talk about her book The Exact Opposite of Okay, and another to see Afua Hirsch talk about her book BRIT(ish) at the very excellent Impact Hub.
Given how much I’ve been away from home, I was quite impressed with my eleven trips to the cinema this month. I was contemplating doubling my cinema challenge for the year, but the Avengers Infinity War seems to be taking up all the screens at my usual cinema and so planning a cinema day is increasingly more difficult.
I’ve been double dosing Netflix and Amazon Prime and generally watching lots of things that are light and easy to watch. One film did stand out, the sublimely ridiculous Deathgasm; a B movie, horror comedy from New Zealand. Following in the footsteps of other Kiwi cult classics, it’s a gorefest about teen metalheads who accidentally summon a demon. As you do.
What I’ve been reading…
Another month of ‘not a lot’, aside from some trashy 97p stuff on my kindle that doesn’t need mentioning. I did power through The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Stevens, ahead of the book talk and was a book I enjoyed far more than I thought I would. I’ve got half a review I need to do something with.
I did borrow The Four Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee from the library, which I got about half way through before I had to give it back, but was an interesting read about looking after yourself, with easy to digest ideas backed up with links to scientific studies. I also borrowed Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, after reading part of an essay for the shine theory post.
Some interesting links I’ve been reading…
Depression Steals Your Soul and Then it Takes Your Friends
It’s so easy to cut off a friend who is persistently difficult, self-absorbed, nasty, and decidedly “other.” Especially if they cut themselves off first.
How to Say ‘No’ to Others and ‘Yes’ to Yourself
Saying “no” can be scary. Some of us avoid saying “no” by either saying “yes” or avoiding answering the request altogether (oops). But here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with saying “no” to things other people ask you to do (unless, in most cases, it’s your boss), whether it’s a night out with a friend, a “can-I-pick-your-brain” request from an acquaintance, or something else.
When I moved to London aged 18, I felt alone. Wasting hours on public transport made it feel like home
I credit London transport for curing my homesickness, when I felt like I had absolutely no idea where I was. It helped me stick my head above the water, and see things a little more clearly.
I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions, there’s something a bit joyless about them – they always seem to be about berating yourself for not being good enough. And I’m quite versed at doing that without having resolution hanging round like millstone round my neck. But I do like the timeliness of setting myself a challenge that is smart – sensible, measurable, attainable, resourced and time-limited.
This year I wanted to revive some of the challenges I’ve done before, like the book and film challenges, but add in another one for the theatre. A few years ago I went to the theatre quite a bit, and I really enjoy it, but with everything going on it’s really easy to forget this.
This month can mainly categorised by what my boss terms ‘floored by flu’. I ended up off work for two weeks with the flu, which included the worst sinus pain I’ve ever had, double ear infections, sore throat and the inability to be more than four steps away from a kettle. Whilst I’m over the worst of it, some of the symptoms are stubbornly sticking around and I’m trying not to push it too much.
During the never-ending bout of the flu I ended up listening to some podcasts whilst in the bath. One I came across was Call Your Girlfriend, a podcast for ‘long-distance besties everywhere’. Perfect, I wanted something easy to listen to that was chatty, accessible and that might teach me something without requiring a whole lot of thinking.
It was there that I first heard the phrase ‘Shine Theory’ an idea that has been floating around for a while, but thanks to an article by Ann Friedman at The Cut, I finally have a name for. Shine Theory is simple, it’s the idea of supporting and empowering other women to celebrate their successes and celebrating with them. Rather than thinking another woman’s success puts you in their shadow, realise that when a friend has the spotlight on them, it shines on their friends too.
Roxane Gay, in How to Be Friends With Another Woman, one of the essays in her Bad Feminist book, puts it brilliantly; “If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this, without shame. It’s not your fault your friends are awesome.” In fact, there are so many Shine Theory style pearls of wisdom in How to Be Friends With Another Woman that it’s well worth reading this excerpt.
February has been a much busier month than I expected. Firstly it was my birthday, which was relatively low key this year, because I finally got to see Hamilton the day after (having booked the tickets well over a year ago). Two people close to me both gave birth to their first children, so I’ve been getting baby updates, and my friend is dog-sitting so not only are there regular pics from her, but I got to have a birthday lunch with Misha the dog.
I’ve been pretty terrible at blogging recently, and of all the blogs this is the one left to the bottom of the pile. But I wanted to start trying to blog more here, do more of a diary style update, pulling together some thoughts on films, books, theatre and such. I saw a weekly round up work well on another blog, so thought I’d give it a go.