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Friday, 26 June 2020

Friday Favourites: Books, Films, Podcasts

UK blogger Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton with headphones on enjoying a podcast or two
Here it is, my occasional post about what I've been watching, reading and listening to. This week I'm featuring a couple of Irish films, some treats from English National Ballet and the National Theatre, an international crime thriller from the BBC, the re-issue of an old favourite of mine, and some cheerful, positive vibe podcasts.

Love An Irish Film 

I love a good Irish film.  I would happily live in Ireland - it seems to have a totally different, more relaxed and comfortable vibe, than the UK.  So whenever we spot an Irish film or series we always watch it, plus I love the drama podcasts from RTE.

Dating Amber is an amusing coming-of-age film about two teenagers at school who decide to "date" each other to avoid being bullied because of their apparent lack of interest in the opposite sex (they're both secretly gay).  Their platonic friendship develops and is a lovely thing to behold.  (Amazon Prime).

The Boys and Girl From County Clare dates from 2003 but I'd never seen it before. This is a charming Irish film about a traditional céilí music competition, set in 1965. Two estranged brothers find themselves competing against each other. There are quite a few well-known faces including Bernard Hill, T P McKenna, Colm Meaney and Andrea Corr. (Amazon Prime).

Big Love Is Back
The cast of HBO series Big Love, now showing again on Sky TV

I must confess to loving the US series Big Love, produced by Tom Hanks, which is now being streamed again on Sky in its entirety. Big Love tells the story of Bill Hendrickson, owner of a homewares store in Utah, and his polygamous life with his three very different, very attractive wives.

They live in three adjacent houses and have to keep their polygamy a secret. Meanwhile most of Bill's family, still living at the fundamentalist church's Juniper Creek compound, are forever causing problems: in particular the father of Bill's second wife (Chloe Sevigny).  He's the self proclaimed Prophet, and a dangerous and schemer.

A few years ago I had to go out for a work dinner with some colleagues over from the US. One of them was a Mormon and I made the mistake of saying I was watching Big Love. An icy silence descended over the table!  For the record, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rejected polygamy, or plural marriage, in 1890 but it is still practised by breakaway fundamentalists groups.

Giri/Haji

The cast of BBC international crime thriller Giri/Haji

The hubster has been enjoying the BBC2 international crime drama Giri/Haji, now streaming on Netflix. When we watched episode one I'd had a hard week and was very tired.  It seemed there was too much plot to grapple with, so I gave up. But John has enjoyed this thriller set in Tokyo and London, exploring the butterfly effect of a single murder across two cities.

A Little Bit of Positive

We could all do with some positive vibes and new podcast, A Little Bit of Positive, featuring popular broadcaster Julia Bradbury and her friend, writer Giles Paley-Phillips, has this in spades.  They find guests with uplifting stories and share positive anecdotes.

Another podcast that'll bring a smile to your face is Nobody Panic. Tessa Coates and Stevie Martin exchange banter on topics such as getting a puppy, how to admire you're wrong, and how to let go of things. There are over a hundred episodes so if you enjoy this, it's a rich seam.

Balletic and Dramatic Treats

While we've been in lockdown theatres have of course been closed, and while they reopen after July 4, they will only be showing recorded works and not live performances.  It's very worrying to think that many of the West End theatres in London may not be able to properly reopen until next year, and some will probably go bust.
Romeo and Juliet ballet production from 1977. Photograph: Bill Cooper
In the hiatus English National Ballet has been sharing some treats from its archive on YouTube, including the Rudolf Nureyev 1977 production of Romeo and Juliet.  The ballet company has also been streaming free classes taught by its artistic director (and celebrated ballerina) Tamara Rojo.

The National Theatre has also been sharing some gems with a free play streaming on YouTube every Thursday.  Coming up: July 2 ‘Les Blancs’ by Lorraine Hansberry; July 9 ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ by Terence Rattigan, starring Helen McCrory and Tom Burke, and July 16 ‘Amadeus’ by Peter Shaffer.

Bravo to both companies for helping to fill the void.

That's it for now - no books I'm afraid. I haven't been doing much reading in the last few weeks.  I seem to be exhausted by 9pm and fall asleep right away without my usual 30 mins of reading. Do share some of your viewing and reading finds in the comments!

Sharing this post with Anything Goes at My Random Musings, Mutton Years Style and I, and Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi.

I'm back on Wednesday with the #WowOnWednesday link up.

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