Friday, 28 September 2012

Seen, read & heard: September


1. Anna Karenina.  I've not really been in a film mood this month, and I probably wouldn't have bothered with Anna Karenina, but Sarah tweeted such interesting comments about it that, when I realised it was showing at the local indie cinema, I took myself off to see it.  Definitely a case of style over substance - and I mean that in the nicest possible way - this film looks gorgeous, and is so cleverly staged, with much of the action taking place in and around a 19th century Russian theatre.  I never felt entirely engaged with the central love story: a wooden Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Count Vronsky, and my natural antipathy towards Keira Knightly, made it hard to truly care about the tragic couple.  But I loved the film as a theatrical spectacle, and there were some wonderful performances from the supporting actors (particularly Domnhall Gleeson as Levin).

2. The L Word.  I was obsessed with this trashy yet compelling LA-based lesbian soap opera a few years ago, and decided recently to revisit my boxsets.  It's a world in which all characters can be reduced to two descriptors - Shane (sexy and damaged), Jenny (mental and annoying), Bette (arty and driven), Alice (kooky and bisexual) - but my gosh, I love it!

3. Game Of Thrones.  Bit of a cheat this, as I actually haven't begun watching it yet.  But my head of department has just lent me the boxset and I'm undecided about plunging in.  I have this weird thing about getting too attached to TV series, so whenever I hear about a 'Must-See', I'll often go out of my way to avoid it, so I don't get too attached... yes I know it's strange.  So, I'm kind of hesitant about plunging into the world of Game Of Thrones (especially as I still have four series of The L Word to get through!).  Anyone seen it and think it's worth making the effort for?


1. The Next Big Thing by Jennifer Weiner.  Weiner writes wonderful novels which are often unfairly dismissed as formulaic chick lit.  Does the girl usually get the guy?  Well, yes (although not always), but her books are laugh-out-loud funny, emotionally true and always touching.  Her latest was no disappointment, and I devoured it in one sitting while hungover one Sunday.

2. Now You See Me by S.J Bolton, whose crime thrillers err on the side of ludicrous, but who nevertheless knows how to pile on the tension.  I read this in one sitting, finishing at 4am, and when I had to leave my bedroom to go to the loo, I did so with my back against the wall, turning on every light as I went, so scared was I.

3. Hope & Glory: A People's History of Modern Britain by Stuart Maconie.  Erstwhile music journalist and, recently, travel writer Maconie is typically amusing and informative in this history of the 20th century.


Very boring of me, but I've listened to hardly any new music this month (only one film and one album?  What have I been doing with myself for the past four weeks?!).  Grizzly Bear's new album, Shields, was a cheeky buy in HMV last week and I'm hoping it's a grower, as on the first couple of listens I'm feeling kind of 'meh' (usually a good sign, as my brother will tell you!).

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