Some good things, April 2022

Books

I have been very bad at finishing books this month, but I am enjoying Stuart Richie’s Science Fictions, which is both fascinating and terrifying; and Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, which is beautifully written but so far lacks a compelling plot.

Films

The Worst Person in the World was excellent, though it hasn’t particularly stuck with me. The same is true for Ghost In The Shell, which I saw for the first time at the BFI IMAX (not really the best format for it, in hindsight). The best film I’ve seen recently was The Northman, which I think might have a better story than Hamlet (the two share the same Norse myths as inspiration). I saw that in a bad cinema (I always forget how awful Barbican Screen 1 is) and want to watch it again.

TV

There’s a lot of good stuff on at the moment. Severance is as excellent as everyone says, Winning Time and Atlanta both deserve more attention, and Better Call Saul is off to an incredible start. I’m also enjoying the very, very cute Old Enough.

Restaurants

Two set menu bargains stood out in the past month: the “Scratch” menu at Spring and the lunch menu at Noble Rot. The former is a meal worth many, many times the price; the latter is supremely comforting. Arcade Food Hall lived up to expectations, and I expect to become something of a regular. I am now unquestionably a regular at Jolene Colebrooke Row.

Theatre

I’ve been a Punchdrunk obsessive since I first saw The Drowned Man in 2014. The Burnt City doesn’t quite match its London predecessor, but is excellent nonetheless. I’ve already been twice and I expect to return many more times. I went to Jerusalem with similarly high hopes, having seen and loved a student production many years ago. It was, unsurprisingly, even better in the West End: Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook are phenomenal, the set’s great, and the whole show is beautifully crafted.

Music

I’ve been trying to get more into classical music, with varying degrees of success. I find the older stuff a lot harder, though Bach’s Goldberg Variations are impressive. The modern stuff is more up my street, especially Max Richter’s Recomposed Four Seasons, John Cage’s In a Landscape and Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet Duet. Mostly, I’m learning just how abysmal Spotify is for listening to classical music; Apple’s dedicated classical app can’t come soon enough. Elsewhere, I find myself coming back to Underworld’s Frankenstein soundtrack again and again.

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