Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sunday round up pt 2

- I’m so happy that The Bridge is back. I tend to avoid these long running TV shows, because I feel that they are a time drain, but The Bridge is one I’ll make an exception for, because the location fascinates me and the characterisation is brilliant. The second series seems to have more heart than the first – a consequence of Martin’s bereavement – and it’s been wonderful so far, although it strikes me that they’ve overplayed Saga’s lack of social conditioning this time round. That makes her funnier, perhaps even more charming – but less realistic somehow. Anyway, it’s great that it’s back. (Now all I want them to do is tell me which scenes are in Malmö and which are in Copenhagen; not knowing drives me nuts for some reason)

- Internet things: This is the first web-tool I’ve discovered in an age which is actually as useful as I hoped it would be. Unroll me helps you to unsubscribe from awful email-circulars. Yay. It really works.

- Having read a lot of Updike over New Year, I turned my attention to Philip Roth this week, digging out his still-outrageous, even-funnier-than-I-remember-it ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’, which is just so wonderfully biting and furious. As usual, I’m juggling about six books at the moment, but this one is pure pleasure.

- Another I’m finally reading after meaning to for ages is Olivia Laing’s ‘The Trip to Echo Spring’ which is just superb; a personal travelogue which examines the lives of six great writers and aims to answer the question posed in the subtitle: ‘why writers drink’. It’s beautifully written, although it’s giving me two big problems.

1) I’m having a sober January and it’s really making me want a cocktail. 2) It’s adding more stuff to my to-be-read pile; I’ve read a lot of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Tenessee Williams, but far less John Berryman, Raymond Carver and John Cheever. Want to read much more by all six now.

- I find Steve Malkmus’s stuff totally impressive, but not always easy to love. Of his solo work, only ‘Pig Lib’ stayed with me in the way that his work with Pavement did, even though The Jicks are (technically and for Malkmus) a better band. Every new album is a bit of a puzzle for me – always rewarding, never immediate. I’m always a fan. His new one is loose by his standards and contains some great stuff – ‘Houston Hades’ is so good it could have been on Terror Twilight, one of my favourite Pavement albums.

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