Monthly Consumption // Aug-Sept 2020

Everything I watched, read and listened to throughout August and September..


'Prognosis: A Memoir of My Brain' by Sarah Vallance - The autobiography of a woman who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury after being thrown from a horse, this book was a brilliantly honest account of her journey beyond the prognosis. 

'First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Story about Anxiety' by Sarah Wilson - A book that looks at anxiety from a completely different perspective to the normal self-help stance, I was really excited to read this. But honestly? I kind of hated it. The take-away message, for me, was that anxiety is a powerful driving force that pushes people to be super productive and extra-creative, and I came away from it feeling like a failure because my anxiety does nothing but paralyse me. But if your anxiety doesn't turn you into a potato, this book might well be for you. 

'Cairngorm John' by John Allen - A gripping account of the highs and lows of three decades in Mountain Rescue, this book is a must-read for anyone who spends time in Scotland's hills. 

'The Body Keeps the Score' by Bessel van der Kolk - A wealth of information on trauma, its manifestation within the human mind, body and brain, and the unexpected interventions that might prove therapeutic. 

'Between the Stops' by Sandi Toksvig - A personal memoir interwoven with factual accounts of London's history, I throughly enjoyed this unusual autobiography. Sandi Toksvig is a national treasure, don't @ me. 

'Ways to Die in Glasgow' and 'How to Kill Friends and Implicate People' by Jay Stringer - The Sam Ireland Mystery series follows the private investigator as she finds herself caught up in a dangerous world of corrupt cops, dodgy property deals, recurring arson incidents and a few too many dead bodies. Set in Glasgow, I loved the descriptive rendering of my favourite Scottish city. 


Freaks - A girl kept indoors by her over-protective father turns out to have mysterious powers and access to a terrifying version of the world. Or something. Definitely not my favourite film. 

The Peanut Butter Falcon - When Zak flees his care home with dreams of becoming a wrestler, an unlikely friendship and adventure await him. A brilliant, feel-good movie. 

The Climb - A Senegalese-French man living in Paris, who's never climbed a hill in his life, sets out to conquer Mount Everest to impress the woman he loves. I wanted to get mad at this movie for promoting the idea that you can pay your way up a life-threatening mountain, but it was too cute a film to take that seriously! 

The Imitation Game - Based on the true story, Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing as he sets out to crack the enigma code. 

Calibre - Set in the Scottish Highlands, this is one hunting trip gone terribly wrong! 

Enola Holmes - Sherlock Holmes' younger sister turns out to have impressive detective skills of her own in this girl power action film. I've seen some really poor reviews, but I found this light-hearted and enjoyable, with Millie Bobby Brown as fab as ever. 


Down to Earth - Zac Efron and Darin Olien's travels looking for healthier, more sustainable ways to live. Interesting viewing. 

The Umbrella Academy - Season 2 of these superhero siblings trying to prevent the end of the world.

Lenox Hill - A documentary series following doctors in a hospital in New York City. The Coronavirus episode was stark viewing. 

Derry Girls (season 2) - Hilarity ensues once again with this 90s gang of teenagers from Northern Ireland. 

Raised by Wolves - Loosely based on Caitlin and Caroline Moran's childhoods, this sitcom follows the lives of one family growing up on a Wolverhampton council estate.

This Way Up - Aisling Bea stars as Aine - a teacher trying to rebuild her life after a breakdown - in this comedy drama series. 

Good Girls (season 1) - All-American moms turned money launderers? Why not. Easy viewing.

Black Earth Rising - A BBC drama starring Michaela Coel as a young adopted woman uncovering her own past and the painful history of her birth country, this was by far the best thing I watched in two months.

The Baby-Sitters Club - Throwing it back to the 90s with this Netflix remake. I'm definitely not the target audience for this series, but I couldn't resist. 

Chewing Gum (seasons 1 & 2) - More Michaela Coel in this ridiculous sitcom about a young woman leaving behind her strict, religious adolescence. 

Trinkets (season 2) - The girls are back in Shoplifters Anonymous for season 2 of this Netflix teen drama, which I'm probably too old to enjoy as much as I do.

Modern Family (season 1) - This American mockumentary following three connected families has been our go-to viewing when we don't want to pay too much attention.

Call the Midwife (season 8) - The nuns and nurses are back on the streets of Poplar for another moving series. 

Staged - Michael Sheen and David Tennant star in this unusual comedy series, filmed using video-conferencing technology during nationwide lockdown. Worth a watch.

Ackley Bridge (series 1-3) - For someone who hated school as much as I did, I have a weird fondness for TV shows set in British schools! This drama series sees the merging of two schools and their British and Asian communities, with all the issues of race, poverty, sexuality and teenage dramedy that arise as a result.

Travels with my Father (series 4) - Jack and Michael Whitehall are off on their travels again, this time landing in Australia for just two episodes.

60 Days In (series 2) - A documentary series following a group of volunteers as they go undercover as inmates in an American prison.


Over the last two months I was listening to:  'Down in the Woods, Where the World Once Was' by Bright Eyes; 'A Celebration of Endings' by Biffy Clyro; 'Campfire Chorus' by Arkells; 'Hand Me Down' - a covers album by Kate Rusby; 'Zeroes' by Declan McKenna; and a whole lot of Grace Petrie, on repeat.


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