It’ll soon be one year since the lockdown, in some form or another, started and every now and then I suddenly miss something from our life ‘before’. Say, going to museums, just getting lost for hours, until my back and feet hurt and I felt overwhelmed by everything I’d seen. These days, there is the solace of online exhibitions, such as this fabulous Dorothea Lange Archive hosted by the Oakland Musem. All I’m missing now is someone I can quietly curse for walking in between me and the picture I was looking at.
I also want to return to reading, writing, procrastinating plus occasionally drinking some actual coffee in coffee shops, because there is strong evidence it’s good for me. (About this I never had a doubt.)
Each award season there is one film I don’t really feel like watching, and end up hating. (Hacksaw Ridge, never forget.) I also feel suspicious of films shot in black and white, because they risk being unnecessarily pretentious. So it seemed like ‘Mank’ would be this year’s bete noire (et blanche, excusez the pun) but I was extremely surprised to discover it’s unexpectedly entertaining, thought provoking and very much fun. Not to mention that very rare performance when an actor doesn’t overblow a historical character, though of course it’s overblowing a historical character that gets you all the prizes, as Gary Oldman will surely learn.
As the Messi-happiness-scale will surely tell, it’s a miserable time to have anything to do with FC Barcelona. The terrible malaise that struck a club that has always wanted to be much more and is spectacularly failing at it is intriguingly revealed by the story of the most iconic picture of its recent history. The full story is hidden behind a paywall, but in a nutshell, the man who took it, using an odd choice of lens for a sports photographer- which he practically isn’t- has had his contract discontinued. Because mismanaging talent at all levels seems to have become a sad trademark of an ailing giant.
Do you spend sleepless nights in your bed wondering whether the coronavirus is actually alive? Yeah, me too.
And do you feel that all you need to lift your spirits right now are some lumberjacks from the Öreg-Túr area? Yeah, me too.
One of my resolutions this year was to buy less books until I manage to work my way through a considerable chunk of my unread pile. More precisely, piles, shelves, piles on shelves, shelves risking collapse into piles. How well did I do so far? Not well at all, obviously, but what can one do when you have thoughtfully compiled reading lists thrown at you out of the blue, like this collection of 100 titles by Eastern European and Central Asian writers.
I also felt it was my duty to support local bookstores in these hard times, and enveloped by a wave of nostalgia, I ended up with ‘Astérix Légionnaire‘, chuckling like crazy over the Goth whose name is Figuralegoric. This led me into an online rabbit hole (how I like those) where I discovered that the Roman chariot racers from 2017’s ‘Asterix and the Chariot Racers’ are called Bacillus and Coronavirus. Make of that what you want.
I occasionally look, with somewhat moist eyes, at the two unused Foals concert tickets I own. One day, one day. Until then, some CCTV sessions.
And now signing off from this short, sad month with a somewhat hopeful poem and a playlist, as you do.