Monday, October 7, 2019


What I've Been Reading

Who I am by Charlotte Rampling – this was a lovely little memoir (only about 100 pages) from the French Actress full of musings, whimsy and deep life stories.

This is what a Librarian looks like: a celebration of libraries, communities and access to information by Kyle Cassidy – I loved this book so very much. It was filled with fabulous photos of all types of Librarians from the US with a small section on why they love their job or why libraries are important and so on. There were also essays throughout the book from librarians and library loved (Neil Gaiman being one of them…of course!). This is such an important and fun book, showing our relevant and important libraries still are. I know this but a lot don’t sadly and dealing with that can be incredibly draining, so this book really lifted me when I needed it. Maybe I should do an Australian version!!??

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe – this is quite a remarkable book that challenges that Aborigines were hunter/gatherers. It discusses evidence of agriculture, aquaculture, housing, storage, preservation of food, and so on. Fascinating insights from research and art and archaeological evidence. It is a must read.

Belonging  by Michelle Obama – I listened to this over a 3 week period in the car, read by Michelle herself it was absolutely brilliant. A traditional autobiography, it traces her childhood, family, her early work as a lawyer, meeting Barack, having a family and of course her 8 years as First Lady. This is the story of an incredibly strong, feisty, intelligent, sassy, and brilliant woman. I loved hearing her stories, from family to political. She has written with honesty and humour, and is insightful and lovely. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

What I've Been Watching

This Is Us S3 – oh this show, it kills me. It is so very well written. I love the layers that get peeled back with each show, each season. I love the truth in the storytelling and I love the characters. I go through a lot of tissues but that is ok. For those that do not know, This Is Us is about triplets, or rather twins and their adopted brother who shares the same birthday. It goes back and forth in time, and you meet the three of them as babies, toddlers, kids, and teen, and sometimes older versions of themselves. You meet their parents and other family members and see who is who and how the family becomes. It is quite extraordinary storytelling. To me, that Dad, played with perfection by Milo Ventimiglia, is everything, the most adorable yet flawed character you’ll see. Without him, there is no story. Like life, this will devastate you and make you smile. This season explores more of the Dad’s past with the help of Kevin, goes into Randall and Beth’s pasts, and sees Toby and Kate try for a baby. To me, this is must see television.

Modern Family S10 – I still enjoy this show and get a laugh from it. The kids are getting older and are as glorious and funny as the adults. I guess it is simple comedy, but it works for me. I also love physical comedy done well, and they do it so very well on this show, especially the dude that plays Phil! Love him.

Seachange reboot - I have finished watching this online and quite enjoyed it. Was it as good as the original series, no, not even close but it is still worth a look. Great choice in Dan Wylie as the new love interest for Laura, Siggie is unraveled as ever as Laura. New characters work and old ones make you smile. It is not a wacky as the original show and that is severely lacking, but I still liked this.

Mum S3 - this is such a simple comedy but it builds. Mum - Lesley Manville - is trying to rebuild her life after her husband died. Her selfish son lives at home with his daffy girlfriend. The rest of the family are also beautifully flaired and then there is Michael, her husband's best friend who has a crush on her. The show is about how Mum manages the challenges of the family on the back of her husband's death. The comedy is subtle but incredibly clever. The other subplot which is beautifully handled is the will they/won't they between her and Michael. I really love her parents-in-law, they don't have a lot to say, but the nuances in their acting is absolutely stunning. Supposedly this is the final series, but I really hope not.

Riviera S2 - Season 1 started to irritate me, so I almost gave this a miss, but I am glad I did not. The first season follows Georgina (Julia Stiles, the widow and second wife of Constantine (Anthony LaPaglia) who was murdered on his yacht. It is very Dynasty like, with bitchiness, wealth, beautiful houses, espionage, and murder. A new family, headed by the fabulous Juliet Stevenson, arrives on the scene with their own secrets. Also Georgina's uncle Jeff, played brilliantly by Will Arnett, who adds more mystery and some humour to the story. Con's family is still challenging, and his first wife, Lena Olin, formidable as ever. Yeah this is vacuous, but it sucks you in, if only for the beauty of the Riviera!

Glitch S3B - S1 was one of the best debut series I have ever seen, especially given it was Australian. One night dead people rise from their graves in a country town. It had obvious supernatural undertones but was presented in such a way it was really believable. And I loved the historical back stories of these characters. It left you hanging, and suggested enough not to be offputting. S2 tried to delve into the whys, unsuccessfully and heavy handed, it was such a let down. S3 picks up pace much better, although still nowhere near the heights of the first season. It builds to an interesting end, and we now know how (sort of) things happened. But one thing is for sure Patrick Brammell is the most interesting and diverse actor on Australian tele.

Shrill - I read Lindy West's memoir that this is based on and was excited to see it had been optioned with the wonderful Aidy Bryant (SNL, Girls) as the main character, Annie. Annie is a bright, overweight girl working as a writer for a popular online magazine. She is sick of writing simple stories and wants to write those that impact but her vacuous editor, played with panache by John Cameron Mitchell, refuses to let her. When she writes something bold and pops it up without permission and it goes viral, she meets his wrath. She lives with her hilarious best friend, Fran and has a friends with benefits dude, Ryan, and friends at work. Her parents are wonderful, her mother consumed by diet and always unsubtly mentioning weight loss and exercise to her daughter. It beautifully embraces her size and confidence regarding it and how those in society 'deal' with that. It is funny, and dramatic, and everything. Aidy is outstanding in this, only 6 episodes and it left you wanting more. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

The Hills revisited -  ha, this is my super guilty pleasure. I got sucked into The Hills when it was originally on. Mostly as I loved Whitney and the behind the scenes at Vogue etc stuff. And I could not believe the vacuousness and stupidity of the others, it was like a car crash you shouldn't look at but you can not help. Here they are, all these years later. Just as vapid but just as entertaining...go on, judge me, I do not care!

Peep Show - I somehow have never seen this great UK comedy, it is being replayed currently and I am loving it. It stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb as Mark, the uptight office workers and Jez, the unemployed muso. Def an odd couple but it works and is pretty funny. We follow their exploits, the women, their jobs. Also starring Olivia Coleman as Mark's long suffering love interest.                                                                                                                          Loro – another stunning film from Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty, Youth, The Young Pope). This IS long and the story is a little minimal but it is absolutely stunning to watch. Supposedly about Silvio Berlusconi, former PM of Italy, it is a behind the scenes look at his glamourous, corrupt and lush life. There is a fair bit of misogyny  within as you can imagine and Toni Servillo is unrecognisable as Silvio. I guess this is not for everyone, but I love Sorrentino’s cinematography and really enjoyed this for that!

The Happy Prince – Rupert Everett writes, directs and stars in this film about Oscar Wilde’s last days as he reflects on his life. This is beautifully filmed when he is reflecting on good times, especially in France and Italy, but in the darker times the design in more sepia. As much as I loved parts of this film, it needed a good edit and felt a little bit like a passion project at times. For fans of Everett and Wilde.

Us – Jordan Peele does it again. I don’t like horror, but his version of horror seems to sit ok with me. It is unsettling and this is nowhere near as good as Get Out, but it is still great. I don’t even want to tell you what it is about, cause I went in with no idea and that worked well for me.

What I've Been Listening To

REM -  listening to a lot of REM, and missing their brilliance.

Jeff Buckley, Grace - have the re-issue on vinyl and it is a thing of beauty.

Various Vinyl - been going listening randomly to my vinyl as I arrange it all.

Podcasts -  the usuals; Here's the Thing, Unspooled, Clear and Vivid, Looks 3 Chats 10, WTF, and a new one, Library Leadership.

No comments: