The first in a monthly series, largely for my own benefit, of my own highlights from the past month.
- My niece turned one and remains the most adorable, inquisitive little thing.
- Had two ‘Christmas’ nights out with friends (much laughter, good food and boozes)
- Finally got down to Kelvingrove to see the wonderful Alphonse Mucha exhibition.
- Started attending guided Meditation, once a week so far, but enjoying it.
The lease on my current (rented) flat is due up and I’ve decided to move. Cue a massive clear out in preparation (I have entirely too much stuff). And yes, I am reading Marie Kondo’s book.
Highlight – The GraceKeepers by Kirsty Logan
The first book chosen for book club, this is a dystopian novel that doesn’t dwell on the world it exists in but allows you to view it through the eyes of several interconnected characters. It took a while for me to warm to this, but with some wonderful imagery and a carefully crafted world built on mythology and wonder, it’s the characters that bring this to life. As the swell of the ocean carries the ‘damplings’ from island to island, so it brings Callanish and North slowly together before a final storm crashes down and changes their worlds forever.
The Blue Room by Georges Simenon
Can’t recall where I picked this up (I think I read about how good the translation was?) but this is simple crime story, told in a back and forth style, slowly revealing the truth to us as readers, and to Tony who is accused of murder. As it slowly pulls at the thread of his life, we share his dawning realisation of the difference between what we see in our own minds, and what is seen by those who observe us.
Highlight – La La Land
Well worth all the nominations and awards in my opinion but I’m aware this is a very Marmite kinda movie. I loved, LOVED, the sense of nostalgia and mid-century stylings. I adored the whimsical approach that only heightens the moments of high emotion all the more. I’m a bit meh on Ryan Gosling but he held his own, but the star for me was Emma Stone. From opening song to the final curtain I was entranced. If you enjoy the old musicals – think Singing in the Rain – then I think you’ll enjoy this.
- Whiplash (Netflix) – which I rewatched for the third time, if you liked La La Land go back and watch this. It’s made by the same people, and has a similarly out of time sense of nostalgia. A simple enough story of a drummer and a tyrannical music teacher, not only is the acting and cinematography stunning, the music is fabulous, the story itself builds to a wonderful crashing crescendo and the second best ‘cut to black’ ending after The Usual Suspects.
- 13th (Netflix) – A sobering documentary about racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans, and how the authorities (at all levels) have stacked the system using media and culture. Sobering stuff, and poignant in the current climate.
- House of Cards (Netflix) – a rewatch from Season 1 in preparation for the new season, interesting viewing given the current Trump administration.
Highlight – Mammal Hands
If you like Go Go Penguin… said Spotify, so I gave them a whirl and couldn’t agree more. This trio cover piano, drums and saxophone and the music is a little more mainstream friendly, not quite as esoteric as GGP. Well worth a listen for some beautiful music and exemplary playing.