Monthly Consumption // April 2020

30.4.20


With the whole country on lock-down, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in feeling like my consumption of audio-visual entertainment has massively increased in the last month. I've been trying not to spend my days completely glued to the TV or laptop, but it's easier said than done when other alternatives have become so limited. 

With that said, here's a rather lengthy list of everything I read, watched, listened to and saw live (ha!) in the last month...

Books

'The Rabbit Girls' by Anna Ellory - A touching novel about a woman facing her own battles, while uncovering her father's past as a Prisoner of War through a series of letters about the 'Rabbit Girls' - women experimented on in World War II camps. Some of it was pretty grim reading, but I really enjoyed this book.

'Don't Go There: From Chernobyl to North Korea' by Adam Fletcher - The first book in Adam Fletcher's 'Weird Travel' series, this memoir documents his visits to some of the world's most unusual destinations. A lighthearted, entertaining read. I've already downloaded the next instalment. 

'Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage' by Kay Bratt - An autobiographical account of one woman's move from the States to China, where she found purpose volunteering in a local orphanage. I found the stories of some of the children very moving, but I struggled a bit with the "us and them" divide throughout the book. 

'Women of the Dunes' by Sarah Maine - A beautiful novel set on the West coast of Scotland, where an archaeologist discovers hidden treasures and connections that span generations. I really enjoyed this atmospheric, romantic mystery. 

'Jog On: How Running Saved My Life' by Bella Mackie - A factual account of Bella Mackie's journey out of crippling anxiety and depression, prompted by a new-found love for running. As someone who's found running greatly beneficial in managing their own mental health, I related to much of this book and found it an inspiring and hopeful read.  


Movies 

A couple of Christmasses back, I bought my partner a '100 Movies Bucket List' scratch-off poster, which has sat relatively untouched until now. Lockdown has provided the perfect opportunity to work our way through the list, ticking off 10 this month.

First up, we watched action movies 'Snatch' and 'The Terminator', neither of which I particularly enjoyed.. Sorry, not sorry. We saw Studio Ghibli's quirky animation 'Spirited Away', about a girl lost in a world of magic and mystical creatures; and Pixar's 'Wall-E' - about an earth-cleaning robot who falls in love - both of which were adorable. We watched 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (the only one of these I'd seen before) and fell in love with Wes Anderson's visual styling all over again. We viewed Monty Python's 'Life of Brian', which amused my face, and 'Groundhog Day' which really didn't. We watched our first Bollywood film in the form of '3 Idiots' - a coming-of-age comedy which pleasantly surprised me, though it could have done with being about 45 minutes shorter! And then there was dystopian crime drama 'A Clockwork Orange' and the moving World War II movie 'The Pianist', both of which I would rate pretty highly.

Not on the Bucket List, we also saw 'The Martian' - Ridley Scott's sci-fi piece about an astronaut stranded on Mars - which was a more lighthearted and enjoyable watch than I expected.


TV 

Having moved into my partner's for the duration of lockdown, I've been enjoying the novel experience of being in a home with a TV license - making the most of it by catching up on lots of shows on the BBC. We watched the second series of 'The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan', which have made me ridiculously keen to visit Zimbabwe; we got completely hooked on the reality travel show 'Race Across the World'; I enjoyed the emotional drama of 'The Nest'; and we finally caught up with the hype and watched seasons 1 and 2 of 'Killing Eve'.

On Netflix we watched season two of Ricky Gervais' 'After Life', which made me more emotional than I should probably admit; and the four-part drama 'Unorthodox' - about a woman who flees her Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn for a new life in Berlin - which I would highly recommend. 


Music 

In music this month I stumbled across the artists Soccer Mommy and Proper Youth for the first time and have been enjoying their small back-catalogues. I've also been listening to The Strokes and Mystery Jets' new albums, as well as the second half of Hayley Williams' 'Petals for Armor'.

There were three stand-out releases for me this month, though, and they've definitely been getting the most airplay: Scottish gem Gerry Cinnamon's new album 'The Bonny'; my folk idol Laura Marling's 'Song For Our Daughter'; and Fiona Apple's first album in 8 years, 'Fetch the Bolt Cutters', which wakes up the angsty teenager inside of me in the best possible way. 


Seen Live

I mean... This was quite obviously a no-go this month because none of us are allowed to leave the damn house.

I should have been seeing Grace Petrie, Within Temptation and Evanescence this month, but they'll hopefully go ahead at a later - post-pandemic - date.

I have been enjoying the sudden surge of live-stream performances on the internet instead, particularly Frank Turner's fundraiser for small local venues, and Sofathon Singalong performances by KT Tunstall and Cameron Barnes.


What have been your favourite reads, sounds or viewings during this weird old month?
xo

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