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entertainment insomnia Podcasts

The great podcast cull of 2020

I’ve been scrolling through Overcast (my podcatcher of choice) over the past few weeks and ruthlessly Kondoing all the podcasts that fail to spark joy in my heart. This morning I deleted one as I was halfway through listening to its latest episode. I can hardly name names because some of them were so forgettable […]

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entertainment Television

From Peak TV to Weak TV, an essay

My subscriptions are constantly under review (I hope yours are too). I recently unsubscribed to NowTV and my on-again off-again relationship with Netflix is currently off-again. This saves me £18 per month. The TV+ service is either free at the moment or free because my kid bought an iPad, but in any event, isn’t worth […]

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Books entertainment music Podcasts

New Light on the Beatles Equation

Rolling Stone magazine has a list of the Top Ten Beatles Books. You may not be surprised to learn that there isn’t a single book written by a woman in the list. Still, boys love lists, don’t they? And the alphabetising, train-spotting tendency is dominant in rock criticism. Mark Lewisohn has taken it to such […]

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entertainment music Review

A New Bob Dylan Album You Say?

I’m reminded today of an hilarious moment in Tim Moore’s rather excellent book French Revolutions, about his attempt, as a fairly rickety and unfit man, to complete the route of the Tour de France on a fairly rickety bicycle. When you’re cycling, you’re moving at the kind of speed that means you notice all the […]

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bastards entertainment Television

Brainwashed by TV Cop Shows

“He was a serial killer. You did your job.” Cardinal So it goes. I’ve been wrestling over the past few days with the obvious cognitive dissonance between fictional cops and the real, paramilitary thing stalking the streets of American Cities in armoured vehicles and body armour, beating up protestors and – over and over and […]

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entertainment music Podcasts

3 Thumbs Up

For a few months now, as previously mentioned, I’ve been getting to grips with the McCartney solo material I had long ignored. This is thanks to a variety of podcasts, including Nothing is Real and I Am the Eggpod. The latter is a mixed bag: a tendency to be a bit bland but some high-profile […]

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bastards Books entertainment film movies Review

Set texts for the lockdown

I noticed, early in the lockdown, how certain film topics seemed to be creeping up the lists of recommendations on the platforms. There was Outbreak, something called Pandemic (bit on the nose), 93 Days, The Forgotten Plague, and, of course, Contagion, the Steven Soderbergh film with the stellar cast that had completely passed me by. […]

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bastards concerts entertainment gigs live music Review

Reunions – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Someone posted a ‘funny’ clipping on Twitter this morning about a town in California declaring itself a ‘sanctuary city’ for businesses and flagging its intention to defy the statewide lockdown rules. (For future historians puzzling over this fragment, there was a viral pandemic in 2020, and the United States, led by sociopaths, had the highest […]

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entertainment Review Television

Devs vs. Westworld

Sooner or later, science fiction comes down to the question of what it means to be human. The situations and settings vary, but the question is one of the oldest we have: the ontological debate between free will and determinism. Philosophers, religionists, and scientists have all approached the problem in various ways. We are biologically […]

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entertainment Review Television

Upload (Amazon Prime): actual science fiction

Huh. I read a couple of reviews of this series and they were lukewarm at best, and yet I found it really enjoyable and burned through it in a couple of nights. Now suffering bingewatch remorse. As ever my tastes are off beam in comparison to the critical opinion in the quality press, but I’ve […]