What I've Been Reading
Sinning Across Spain: walking the old and new Camino by Ailsa Piper - I really enjoyed this travel/adventure book. I listened to it on talking book, read by the author herself. Ailsa has always been a walker, and has walked many trails. When it came time to walk the famous Camino in Spain she thought of the medieval walkers who were paid to carry other people’s sins on the walk. Not having many sins of her own, she turned to friends and acquaintances and asked for theirs. She received many and noted them to read on her journey.
This is a fabulous travel adventure book of one woman on a trail contemplating life. She writes about the people she meets on the way, her fellow pilgrims. She writes about the hardships faced on the walk, the nature she sees, how she empties her mind, the music she listens to. She also philosophises about things such as sins, religion, and such. Highly recommend.
Brother and Sister: a memoir by Diane Keaton - this was a fascinating memoir about Keaton's brother. She never tells us what he suffered from, but it is obvious he had serious mental health issues. It is her early history as informed by this larger than life character that they her entire family loved but struggled with. There is not a lot of Hollywood stories within, except where she might mention she was headed to a set of a movie etc. It is a remarkable story of love and frustration, very un-hollywood and with a lot of heart and soul.
Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval - Accidentally Wes Anderson is an instagram page with pics of places and buildings that you would think were straight out of a Wes Anderson film, showcasing a certain style and colour palate with a great lot of symmetry. Wes himself writes the intro and it is a glorious book to delve through.
Honeybee by Craig Silvey - this is the much awaited follow up to the instant Australian classic, Jasper Jones. I enjoyed this book very much but I didn't love it. It tackled a lot of themes and subject matter and some of it felt forced or I noticed it was added in. Great fiction adds such things in such subtle ways that you do not think you are learning as you read (that is the job of non-fiction not fiction), you may finish a book and realise this, but not as you are actually reading it. Some plot felt clunky and forced.
I loved the relationship formed between the two unlikely main characters, Sam and Vic. Vic is a senior mourning the loss of his wife, and Sam is a teen boy who like to dress up as a girl. They meet during a dark spot in their life and they 'save' each other. Sam is pretty messed up from a violent family life and seeks some kind of normality with Vic. From therein on, many other adventures are added and whilst they were interesting, I felt some dragged and were unnecessary. It is still a good book, worth reading, I am just picky about fiction.
Reckless by Chrissie Hynde - this was a bit of a jumbled autobiography/memoir. I wanted more behind the scenes of The Pretenders and that wasn't really presented fully. There was a lot of depth to her early life and how she got into music etc but not a lot about fame, writing, performing etc. I did enjoy this, but I wanted so much more.
What I've Been Watching
Michael Palin: travels of lifetime - this is a great new series featuring the great Michael Palin looking back at all of his travels. Starting with Around the World in 80 days, others reflect on the impact of this ground breaking series. Michael chimes in, with thoughts and old audio and passages from his intensive diaries. It was lovely to see a much younger Palin enjoying himself and mixing it up beautifully with the locals. This was a warm, wonderful walk down memory lane.
Timewarp: the greatest cult films of all time - was a great 3 part documentary on cult films. Taking in B-grade sci-fi, horror, comedy, camp and films like Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Big Lebowski, Rocky Horror, and so on. This was a glorious romp and so much fun.
Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll is a wonderful rock documentary from Taylor Hackford about Chuck Berry. It follows Chuck on tour in the late 80s and his practice into the lead up to a big tribute concert. The concert is being organised by Keith Richards and Chuck puts him through his paces in terms of the musicality of the show. Formidable but warm, serious but hilarious, Chuck was a pure delight to watch in all his glory. The documentary shows the concert throughout too, and everyone is beside themselves to play with Chuck. Truly the godfather of rock and roll, this man was made for rock and roll!
Score: a film music documentary - was a fascinating film about scoring film. From the big guns to the newbies, how they put music to a film, to enhance and showcase what is happening. What a wonderful artform.
Mrs America - this drama is based on the Equal Rights for Women group and the other group of women, led by the crazily named Phyllis Schlafly, who tried to stop them progressing. I had no idea such a group existed, let alone how they tried to stop feminism. I really enjoyed the story at first, fascinated by 9 hours was way too long, it needed a decent edit. That being said, I did love this, and felt it was an astonishingly amazing cast. Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan, Margo Martindale as Bella Azbug, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, and Rose Bryne as Gloria Steinem were particularly outstanding. Cate Blanchett worked a fine line as the almost comical Schlafly.
Chewing Gum - is the first series by Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You). Michaela plays Tracey, a 20 something, from an ultra religious family. She has been with her much older boyfriend for over 4 years without so much as a chaste kiss. Obsessed by Beyonce, all Tracey wants is to learn about and have sex. This is very funny, and has a great cast. Michaela is great at being out there and pushing the boundaries. I loved this so much, it made me laugh out loud and Tracey is completely adorable.
Flight Attendant - I loved this so much and cannot wait for S1. Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang Theory) plays an alcoholic flight attendant with a boyfriend or lover at every stopover. After a night with a rich good looking man goes wrong, she finds herself in a panic on the run. The is funny, dark, a thriller, a whodunit, and had me hooked. Also a superb supporting cast with Zosia Mamet, Michelle Gomez, and TR Knight.
What I've Been Listening To
Push the Blues Away by Josh Teskey and Ash Grunwald – excellent blues, very catchy and listenable
Disco – Kylie – ok album, but too much autotune which is quite awful, but there are some good tracks.
Metrobolist aka the man who sold the world by David Bowie - this is a remastered version under the original titles Bowie wanted to call the album. It is fabulous and sounds even better.
The Modern Medieval by Something for Kate - this was lovely and listenable as all of SFK's albums are.
Letter to you by Bruce Springsteen featuring the E-Street Band - this is one of his best albums to date, with some stunning reworkings of older songs.
Unreleased 1998-2010 by Powderfinger - not a bad selection of offcuts, very listenabled and anthematic as they tend towards.
Delicate sounds of thunder by Pink Floyd - this is a remastered copy of the classic live album and it sounds amazing. Always thrilling to listen to Pink Floyd, this is a must!
Upon my Wicked Son by Andy Prieboy - I loved this album back in the day. I was a big Wall of Voodoo fan and just loved the mix on this one. A real mix of rock, 90s indie, and pop. Finding this brand new copy but second hand was a real gift and when I opened it the vinyl was gold...indeed!!
The Ramones by The Ramones - all time classic punk and rock album. I love it so much, it never dates and always makes me smile. Kick Arse!!!
The Great Destroyer by Low - I had never heard of Low until recently. An indie American pop rock band and they are glorious. This is their 7th album and I immediately loved it. It reminded me of a mix of Teenage Fanclub and early REM. The person that choose this gift knows me well!