Hi everyone! So it occurred to me that I often absorb a lot of media, but whenever I come to write a review on something, there never seems to be enough to say to fill a whole blog post. So instead, I thought I’d compile a series of shorter recommendations into one post!
Book: The Power
Okay, so I recently finished this book and OH MY GOODNESS. OH ITS SO GOOD.
Basically, it follows the stories of four different people- Margot, Tunde, Roxy, and Mother Eve- as they navigate a world turned upside down. One day, teenage girls everywhere have the ability to shoot electricity out of their hands, and they can pass on the ability to adult women too. It’s an insightful observation the gender politics of today, as well as an exploration of what a matriarchy would look like- the conclusion being, about as dysfunctional and dystopian as our patriarchy. I would encourage everyone to read this- it’s a powerful mixture of compelling fiction and critical analysis. I would also encourage anyone who thinks that women the world over have won the war against them to read this: it shows the small but pervasive ways in which Western countries have internalised sexism, but also brings into stark reality the way women in developing countries are treated, as well as the way in which women are treated as ‘spoils of war’ in countries in conflict; these inequalities are held up for questioning even more when you flip the positions of the sexes.
TV: Grace and Frankie
This show is nothing less than a work of genius. When Grace and Frankie are asked to a meal with their husbands who work together, they assume it will be to announce their upcoming retirement. In fact, their husbands, Robert and Sol, have come to tell them that they are both getting divorced from their wives so they can get married- to each other. The following three series follows the families try to navigate their new and confusing relations, focusing on the two ex-wives, two very different personalities forced to live together in the beach house their families joint-own. After several previous years of animosity, the women find themselves relying on each other. It’s truly wonderful to see older women dominate the screen in an industry and a society that so often shuts them out. I often think that they are a more engaging and endearing double-act than the new couple Robert and Sol. At some points it will have you crying with laughter, others you will be moved close to tears. It’s funny, poignant, and sometimes painfully honest.
I was told to watch this film as research for an upcoming role, and it really is an incredible film. Tom Hardy is a genius, masterfully playing two very similar yet different characters with such finesse at times I forgot they were the same person. I also personally think that the complexity of the Kray’s was portrayed: they were shown in a fairly sympathetic light, but nothing was detracted from their incredibly violent lifestyle. Hardy’s portrayal of Ronnie Kray as mentally ill (I’m unsure what he would be diagnosed with under modern medical terms, but in the film he was referred to as a ‘paranoid schizophrenic’) was particularly well done, I think, considering it is very sensitive subject material. He wasn’t portrayed as a one-dimensional thug, but as an intelligent man with clear and, in some cases, good ambitions; but his explosive violence and mental fragility was also shown.
Sometimes, you find art that catches you in a vulnerable moment and makes you cry, right from the heart. This poem caught me in one of those moments.
Theatre: The North! The North!
A few days ago I went to see this piece of theatre called ‘The North! The North!’ in the Bikeshed Theatre in Exeter, and if I get any time I will definitely expand on this with a longer review, but it was really awesome! It was a mixture of monologue, storytelling, fantasy and dystopian horror. It reminded me of the podcast ‘Alice isn’t Dead’ in the way it creatively described horrific creatures without ever showing them. It was a one-man show, and the actor moved with such energy I was amazed he was still standing by the end of it. One of my favourite scenes was a fight scene. As I previously mentioned, I recently watched ‘Legend’, which features a lot of gratuitously gory fight scenes. As this was a one-man piece, the entire fight sequence was mimed, but you could see every punch given and received in a way that made me flinch without the sensationalist blood and guts that we’re accustomed to.
Music: BANKS- Goddess and The Altar
I found BANKS from a Lucy Moon video recommending good break up albums. This genre of music (alternative pop?) is not really my usual preference, but I absolutely fell in love with these albums. BANKS clearly had a toxic and unhealthy relationship which obviously doesn’t apply to lots of people, but the raw honesty of these albums really helped me process my emotions and if you’re going through a break up I’d really recommend them. There are songs for when you are feeling empowered (Fuck with Myself, Goddess), songs for when you’re angry at them (Mind Games, This is Not About Us, Judas), songs for when you’re angry at yourself (27 hours, Alibi, Change) and songs for when you have to admit that the fault probably doesn’t lie solely with one person (Gemini Feed, To The Hilt, Waiting Game, Before I Ever Met You). It also has some really lovely songs like Mother Earth that are just really chilled. Both albums are a mixture of synth sounds and a raw, almost tribal cry that echoes back into history and reverberates into the very core of what it feels like to be human.