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Watching, Listening, Reading #5

29th April 2016

How’s it travelling out there? What have you been scanning with your eyeballs, cramming down your cakeholes, sucking down your earholes?

Oh, this opening is making me feel a little nauseous. My apologies. (note to self: lift tone.)


I adored Ann Patchett’s Amazonian tale State Of Wonder, a one-more-page-while-the-bath-is-getting-cold type of read. Also the late, wonderful Oliver Sacks autobiography On The Move:  charming,funny and idiosyncratic, like the man himself. Look at him here, so young and gorgeous.

I also loved broadcaster Simon Scott’s memoir ‘Unforgettable: A Son, A Mother and The Lessons Of A Lifetime’ about time spent at his mothers bedside. She is a racy, witty and kind-hearted showgirl, he’s a moving writer, and their relationship is beautiful. (I must add here while trying to remember Scott’s name,  I thought the book was called ‘Surrender’ and so I googled ‘Surrender memoir’, where I was directed to a article called ‘Rectal Romance’ in which ‘Toni Bennet talks about her new anal sex memoir.’  I mean. Really. I know that the young people y say that the rump is the ‘hot spot’ of the moment, but Ms. Bennet! Think of your legacy!  )

The astonishing, unputdownable story Octopus by Guy Lawson about Sam Israel and the stockbroking world of the 80s.

Reread and adored: Bill Brysons fascinating ‘At Home’ (I just love this book),  the Australian wartime classic Come In Spinner and some of my very favourite Adrian Mole (still so sad that we won’t grow old with Adrian. RIP Sue Townsend. )

Keith has just finished the last of the Narnia series with the kids, and they are embarking on Swallows and Amazons. I’ve been reading the first 2 books of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, which are super fun, punchy, high-octane spy-tales. Great for reading aloud, especially because you get to punctuate  every chapter with ‘Duh duh DUH!’, which happens less often in life than it should. We’ve just moved on to calmer fare though; and I am loving re-visiting My Family And Other Animals by Gerald Durrell; one of my own teen favourites.


I’ve been doing a bit of the OJ Simpson story and loving my old fave Nurse Jackie on Netflix, but I’m not finding much time for TV at the minute.

I really love both Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb, and so their short, snappy show When I Get A Minute  is right up my alley. These short, chatty programs cover books, TV, podcasts and general media, they are delightful and everything they discuss I have either read or watched, or plan to as soon as possible. Also on iView, Luke MacGregors series Luke Warm Sex was almost unbearably candid, as he goes on a sort of 6-episode sexual vision quest to try and get over his own hang-ups as a shy and anxious person. He is such an unusual comic, disarmingly sincere and immensely likeable, and so it made for wonderful television, provided that you can see through your fingers.

The kids have moved, well and truly, into the Doctor Who zone. Also they love the Slow Mo Guys on YouTube, and the girls and I are partial to a bit of RPA (the more intense the surgery, the better. )

Together, we are loving Survivor, one of my own favourites for at least a decade now. It’s an excellent family show - much strategising, much excitement, a lot of communal maths as we work out numbers and alliances before eviction. (Nerdy good times!) Tonight we stuffed ourselves with spicy bean burritos, then had a special dessert; coconut pannacotta with fresh pineapple, in honour of the tropics.

Friday night Survivor - it’s one of my favourite things.


Keith and I are really into historian Dan Carlin at the minute; his history podcasts are amazing but we also love his current-affairs show. (Interesting Trump analysis.) The New Yorker politics podcast is also great on the US election. I’ve been enjoying Only Human and The Memory Palace, and as always, Double X, Radiolab and Freakonomics are reliably cracking shows.

On Spotify I’m really liking this indie playlist with the crazy title Skäggiga snubbar sjunger skönsång, which translates to ‘men in beards singing sweetly’ or similar, as well as a bit of Barbra Streisand. T-Bone is very into ‘It’s Raining Tacos’ (do not explore, earworm of epic proportions) and I’ve been pulling out some of the old favourite Dan Zanes for the smallest. (If you have pre-schoolers, Zanes is the best - try Catch That Train.) Here’s a cracking one: Prince’s own party-mix as a Spotify playlist. 

Happy weekending, my friends. May the road rise to meet you,  the wind be at your back, your pannacotta coco-nutty and your earworms brief and manageable.

Any tips for me? What’s good in your world?


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