What I read/listened to/watched — week 1
So my boyfriend and his podcasting partner (you should listen here to their podcast, the Cinematologists) do a lovely newsletter where they list their favorite reads/listens/watches for the week/month. And it struck me that that’s a very neat way to keep track of or reflect on some of the many pieces one goes through in a week. So I decided to start chronicling some of that on my own.
Here goes, week 1. Just to let you know I won’t be linking to much of this stuff because it makes for quite a lot of work but most of it is easily searchable.
What I watched
It’s been a busy movie/series week for me. We’ve been watching the CNN/ HNO documentary about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (The Last Movie Stars). It’s really wonderful but what struck me the most is the undertone of regret in the narrative about Joanne Woodward who, after being a superstar, had to relinquish all of that to look after their family of 6 and ensure that her rising superstar husband had the time and space to be that. Her little quips about maybe not thinking parenthood through and struggling with having to focus so much of herself on being a mom are heartbreaking. I also watched Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks (not a fan, felt like a bad Lost in Translation) and Shiva Baby (grrreat! loved it). And then because of the Newman/Woodward docu, we watched Paul Newman in Hud which was absolutely amazing. Finally, I binged the first two episodes of the new LOTR: Rings of Power on Prime and was amazed at how well made that is. I cannot wait to see more. In the background, I am also rewatching some of Netflix’s “Untold” which is way better that I thought (for personal reasons, my fave is still the Mardy Fish episode) and basically going to sleep to the dialogue in Big Mouth which I will never be old enough for.
What I listened to
I have been religiously listening to The Tennis Podcast because the US Open is on and I am now a tennis fan, it turns out, probably due to nagging from my boyfriend :) but also because I am quite enjoying watching Carlos Alcaraz play. So the Tennis Podcast is a lovely companion to that and also to my by-weekly walk to work. I also never miss one of The Rest is Politics episodes with Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart. Finally, I started Crypto Island and could not get through more than one episode (sad to say the stories are inane and the guy doing the interviewing is way to unsophisticated in his questions). It’s a huge “Pass” from me. I still listen to The Blindboy Podcast every week but these days none of the episodes have really caught my fancy. Music wise, I’ve been re-listening to Sam Fender’s 1st, Hypersonic Missiles, and to quite a bit of Curtis Harding because my boyfriend is obsessed with him.
What I read
I finally managed to read a proper overview of the controversial Byron Sharp keynote HERE. I felt quite annoyed to say (because I dislike his public persona quite a bit) that I could not find anything he said wrong. I don’t love his obsession with his own theories but until someone else can put forward any other with equal amounts of supporting data, I guess he’s got the upper hand over anyone including Les Binet/ Peter Field whose research (and we’ve been discussing this for a while) is likely to be somewhat biased by the nature of its data source. There was a lovely follow-up on attention metrics which Sharp put down quite a bit. The writer argued that attention metrics help with reach and I felt his arguments were quite solid. I sadly, cannot find that link anymore. What I do wonder is why marketing is having such a hard time demonstrating anything with hard data. Why does it take us such a long time to come up with plausible frameworks? One to continue thinking about.
I also read an interesting MIT Sloan Management Review article about mental health in the workplace which was a nice pairing to an onslaught of mini-articles shared by colleagues and friends on Quiet Quitting. It’s a really interesting subject and one that I’ve had to observe myself but my experience has been that quiet quitting is really a precursor to actual quitting and nobody I know has “quiet quit” for longer than it took them to get another job. I also continued to plough through my AI book, which is becoming quite a struggle because the articles are quite dense and philosophical. I however enjoyed the idea that you could educate a machine to ask questions to clarify its goals. I always assumed that AI was quite goal oriented so to have a machine operate on a binary set of goals is impressive. Of course, this is just theoretical ATM.
I also literally ate up Will McPhail’s graphic novel In and have finally bought Alison Bechdel’s The Secret to Superhuman Strength and started it, but decided to keep it for next week when I have a bit more time.
I finished my week reading about people who decided to date through Google Docs that they openly share with everyone online and that took me to a website of someone who describes themselves as a rationalist and has decided to publish testimonials from ex girlfriends. The rational part of me applauds the effort, the emotional was quite put off by the whole thing and I spent a fair amount of time on my daily walks wondering if I’d’ve picked my boyfriend (who I met online) if he’d presented me with testimonials from his exes. We’ve been having a lot of conversations about romantic love and what actually makes a relationship work when you’re in your 40s and don’t have children and we both realise there is always a practical aspect to staying together but we both also agree that if everything was about being practical and rational we probably would not be together right now.
And that, my friends, is all I “consumed” this week. Plus a fair amount of Babybell cheese which has lots of protein for you :)