What I read, listened to and watched — weeks 11–12

Bogdana
5 min readNov 27, 2022

It’s getting harder. Let me tell you. Work is a bit bonkers and likely to continue like that into Christmas. There’s also life’s little bits, like prepping for the holidays, some anniversaries, having to deal with a house sale and some stress about that. It all gets in the way of being able to sit down and read or listen to something end to end. And then I also need to do homework :).

To be honest, the most time consuming thing that’s really eaten into my listening/watching schedule has been doing assignments for the cyberpsychology class I’m taking. I’ve read everything from research studies on the impact of fake news on people’s behaviours, to editorials about phone notifications and how they mess with your attention. I have also learnt things I am not sure I will ever need about APA referencing and how to correctly create a footnote. All of this has made me so grateful for things like blogging and Medium and the Internet where a handful of us have a chance to write without that many constraints. I understand the reason for the constraints, but it also occurs to me that having to constantly worry whether your piece will be marked down due to a mis-referenced quote takes a bit of the enjoyment of having an idea and then trying to pass it on through the medium of writing. I assumed that — what with my bit of OCD and focus on disciplined learning, I would enjoy those bits a bit more but, no, it’s been tedious and has made me feel a bit apprehensive about a 1000 words essay. Which is not what you want, really.

Anyway, lots of academic reading, as mentioned, so very little on the rest-of reading list. Have had two issues of the New European and LRB sitting on the living room table for weeks now.

Listening-wise, I’ve been diligently listening to Rory and Alastair on The Rest is Politics, if only because I managed to snag two tickets to their upcoming live show at the Royal Albert Hall (through an intrepid colleague, to be honest) and I though I might keep myself up to date on their talks just in case they make an inside joke :). I am really looking forward to the show and continue to enjoy their podcast immensely. I have been thinking, though, that it’s quite difficult for me to enjoy something which is not contextualised within a theme or series. Sometimes listening to the podcast feels like reading a random book that you found on a library shelf and just picked up. They talk about everything from American politics to African affairs and Whitehall gossip and it’s hard to get an idea of the wider forces shaping the conversation. I wish they would find some longer running theme and run with it for a couple of episodes at least.

I’ve also gone back to Origin Story with Ian Dunt and Dorian Lynskey and, as in the past, I have struggled. Their latest on Culture Wars suffers, for me, from the same issues as before: they do some basic research and then use that as a springboard for discussion and immediately in the discussion their own preferences and biases become very evident. In the latest episode there was a long conversation about how Culture Wars in the US seemed to be more entrenched, and maybe that was due to how American culture is build worldwide, with a heavy empasis on the “American” (capital A), but they seemed to ignore the fact that, for some of us who are not British, the same can be said about British culture. Finally, I attempted and failed to get into the Black Girl Songbook podcast and that made me feel particularly bad. I went through a couple of episodes and got lost in all the references I did not recognize; everything from singers I had never heard of, to The Wizz musical (which I had never seen) and lots of discussions about music producers and chart-topping songs I had never listened to. It made me feel a bit sick to my stomach to realise that I basically needed to listen to this while googling names and listening to things, which is, I guess, a good thing because you gain an education but, at the same time, it’s so infinitely sad. Sad because as a white woman I’ve not had much contact with black music outside of the charts, which is the mainstream stuff, and sad because, while my MA thesis was on American Black women writers, I am still so ignorant about a part of black culture which is so important. So, anyway, it’s a bitter sweet listen this one and a slow burner for me, because I need to google a lot and make myself a lot of “to do/listen to” lists as I go through the episodes.

I’ve been mildly more “successful” with my watch-list these past few weeks. I started and near-binged The Devil’s Hour with Jessica Raines and Peter Capaldi. It’s infectious, if that’s what you’re after in a series, but I think there’s better movies and series out there on the same topic, and if you want to watch something that’s even more intense I’d recommend Netflix’s Dark (only season 1).

I also watched a movie called Dirty Pretty Things with Audrey Tatou and Chiwetel Ejiofor, mainly because I was having a walk with my boyfriend around King’s Cross and remarking how many small, weird hotels just mushroom around train stations, and he suggested this movie (bec it happens in one of these hotels). It’s not too bad for a weekday night movie, although it devolves into a bit of craziness at the end.

I also started and did not finish a few other movies. Stutz on Netflix is an interesting one, written and produced by Jonah Hill. It’s a personal interview with psychiatrist and coach Phil Stutz, author of The Tools — a book that was once on our bookshelf too. There’s no particular reason I did not finish it, mostly I was a bit tired, so I might pick it up later in the year when I have more mental bandwitdh. The same goes for Claire Denis’ Avec Amour et Acharnement — which we did not manage to finish but which I LOVED for as long as we did watch it. It’s incredibly powerful to see mature, unromaticised love presented in such a wonderful way and I look fwd to finishing this one soon. We also absent-mindedly watched a documentary about Eric Clapton’s time between when Cream broke up, he tried Blind Faith for a year, and then became a solo sensation. This was on BBC1 and probably easily available through iPlayer. I love Eric Clapton but, as you may have noticed, my musical education is limited so it was so exciting to listen to stories about how music is made and what drives the creative process. It’s also interesting to see how much that is tinged with the chemistry among bandmates, and how people who are individually very creative may not be able to immediately make great music in the wrong company.

I’m going to end this one with a small food consumption find, because I went to the Bath Christmas Market over the weekend and bought and ate the most incredible steamed puddings from a stall at the fair. They were chocolate & orange, and gin & candied fruit steamed puddings and my palate will never be the same.

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Bogdana

CX Strategist and Design Director. Recovering Internet lover. Write about technology, design and what I watch/listen to/read.