As I am writing this, as always, very procrastinated procrastinator’s log in the evening (or late afternoon, but since winter is coming they’re fundamentally the same dark thing), it’s only polite that I should greet you with a warm good ebening. I will readily admit that I find this little compilation hilarious, while at the same time being rather unimpressed by the constant amusement of often monolingual native English speakers at the quirks and accents of non-natives. This being said, many foreign managers (no pointing of fingers here, but they tend to be speakers of Romance languages) have failed in the Premier League partly due to language barriers, so when you get a job in the brexiting queendom, you should perhaps consider acquaintance with its native tongue a useful prerequisite. For a fine soundbite is much better than a drab game and Brendan Rodgers never shies away from a juicy motivational flourish- while many Liverpool fans may feel conflicted about him, I very much enjoyed both this conversation with Jamie Carragher, and Leicester’s subsequent polite loss to Liverpool. Finishing off the football section (you got that right, no Messi this month), here’s a list of quirky stadiums, though the one in Gibraltar might simply serve the practical purpose of distracting you from the horrors of football in a league where absolutely all the sides use the same stadium. (Spoiler: there’s an airport right behind it, possibly because everything is right behind everything else in Gibraltar.)
On to films- I may again be swimming against the tide here, just like in the Rodgers matter, but I very much enjoyed The Dead Don’t Die, and to celebrate Bill Murray and Adam Driver out-deadpanning each other, here’s a longish piece about Driver (and by the way, I also like Kylo Ren, you can perhaps notice a trend then.) My jury’s out on Joker, though, of which much has been written, but, as always it ain’t over until Slavoj Žižek weighs in. However, if I am to choose the best film I saw in October, it will undoubtedly be Bong Joon-ho’s Palme d’Or winning Parasite– it’s not like the main Cannes award is always a clear indicator of quality, but this time they got it spectacularly right. It’s also fascinating to behold Bong Joon-ho’s versatility, as Parasite is nothing like his previous, wonky but superb, Okja. Unrelated to any of this, here’s an excellent piece about Pedro Almodovár from the New Yorker archives.
When it comes to books, there were of course two Nobels and two Bookers awarded in October, and I am afraid I must continue with the already tedious swimming against the tide thing, because I am physically unable to read Margaret Atwood. Nor do I like Peter Handke, but then no one else likes him all that much, for a change, though most people seem averse to his questionable politics whereas I am more irked by his arid writing. I had however just finished Olga Tokarczuk‘s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead right before the was awarded the prize, and loved it to shreds and kept telling everyone who would listen what a great writer she is- which soon turned into a classic case of hate to say I told you so. (Though of course the Nobel committee’s decisions can be just as questionable overall as those of the Cannes jury, look no further than Handke.)
When it comes to music, October just kept on giving- there was a surprising and splendid Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds album, and the announcement of a tour which will include a date in Budapest as well, plus the second coming of Foals – here are nine songs which inspired it and an aesthetic history of the band. Digging deep into the Pitchfork archives (or taking a figurative pitchfork to an also figurative haystack), I stumbled upon two interesting longreads on fka twigs (her album is out in November) and Bon Iver, the latter leading me on a walk down memory lane to a TV series I used to watch with my granddad (he had exquisite tastes, also being fond of Chuck Norris and Bud Spencer.) In music related reading, James Blake wrote a piece about mental health, and Tricky an autobiography. Also, here’s the mother and father of all online procrastinating: a detailed guide through electronic genres with samples. And, of course, there was new music from Leonard Cohen, whose posthumous album will be out in November.
In the travel/photography section, an ode to the wurstel stands of Vienna, and interesting if a bit hipsterish take on, well, non-mainstream Budapest, a photo series about the joys and hardships of life in Glasgow, a photographer who explored Belgrade in the 90s, pictures from Berlin’s club scene and a photo essay on nuns.
Finally, before we dive into the month’s bad phone photography, a short and sweet bits and bobs section, in which you discover what netsuke are, meet a cat that improves films and another one who is very unwilling to improve itself.