This week was all about the leisure, so let’s do the ents first.
Playing, watching, reading, listening 🕹️🎞️
I’m having the best time playing The Wild At Heart (on Nintendo Switch but it’s available for everything). I adore this game! Things that are delighting me:
- Paths blocked by obstacles until you get new abilities (like A Link to the Past)
- Deploying critters to do species-specific tasks (like Pikmin). Its makers describe it as a herd-like game – a term nobody else seems to be using, but I like it.
- Switching characters with differing abilities to solve puzzles (like The Lost Vikings)
My first couple of cinema trips of 2024 were also doozies: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Thundercrack! – both in the BFI’s season of films London’s legendary Scala cinema was famed for screening. The Scala!!! doc itself is fun, check that out if you haven’t (it’ll be here on BFI Player from 22nd Jan). All three films live up to the exclamation marks in their titles!
Thundercrack! did not disappoint on filth. It doesn’t work as a horror, parody, nor hardcore porn (with its incessant deranged dialogue!) but succeeds as its own thing, which is a curious mix of all three. Really glad to have seen it! Really weird atmosphere watching close-up unsimulated sex scenes with strangers on a Saturday night in NFT3. Hilarious that Chandler and Bing are the origins of the Friends character (unconfirmed, but surely?)
Streamed some bangers at home as well:
- Piggy, which has been on our watchlist since it was in Sundance and Frightfest, and gives good originality, peril and gore (but flawed).
- Rewatched Mulholland Drive (cos it was on telly), just wonderful.
- The first half of Leave the World Behind. Enjoying this a lot, will finish it tonight, but I do fear it might be leading nowhere.
- Fun trash: Event Horizon, Pandorum (we are doing a sci-fi horror retrospective with the kids) and Deep Blue Sea – with the memorable Samuel L Jackson death scene. Fun fact: the VFX supervisor and Sam Jackson conspired to make this more sudden, to spare Sam saying any more of that terrible monologue.
Top telly has included Taskmaster’s New Year Treat, Catfish (which is on form at the moment), and Vanishing Act ep 1: Melissa Caddick. Yet to get going with The Traitors, but we will.
I read another Ted Chiang short story too, but it was meh. On to the next.
Life stuff (now with added Pixel Watch 2) ⌚🏃
I am more than the media I consume, but not much this week!
I also finished my Christmas jigsaw, ran 5K outside, got back in the gym (for a treadmill 5K run and a swim), and continued to figure out my Pixel Watch 2. Didn’t dare swim with it on – Google hedge their bets by saying you can, but also maybe don’t.
The Fitbit “body response” stress notifications are interesting, but sometimes arrive too late to connect them to their cause. One trigger I had no trouble linking to a cause came at 4am when a giant rubber duck in our bathroom fell from its windowsill perch onto the bathroom scales – no fucking shit I had a stress response, I thought we were being burgled.
I also got an alert when my old Croydon boss texted me out of the blue. Empirically triggering! But she only wanted some digital career advice for her son (phew!) which I’ll happily give when my brain is back in work mode
I think it’s gonna be really interesting (and possibly revelatory) to see what events trigger my stress levels when I’m back at work.
I busted through various domestic chores this week too: cleared the leaves, cleaned and repainted a mouldy patch of wall under the stairs, fixed a door that wasn’t staying closed. Scintillating content! But good to tick things off.
Work stuff 💻📝
Back at it tomorrow. In previous years I’ve done work-related reflection over Twixtmas, but I’ve resisted the urge this year. I needed to rest. So I’ll do my goal-setting during work week one.
It’ll be a big year for my directorate: lots to deliver, high expectations to meet. We’re equal to it though – I’m lucky to have incredible teams. The whole BFI is incredible – the trick we need to pull off is aligning all that passionate brilliance to a realistic number of shared concurrent things. Working on it.
Time to shake up your social media? – pleasantly surprised to see a mention of my old 2009 Twitter doc! Good newsletter, subscribed.
Vicky Teinaki’s blog is great. Her list of government and design links in this recent post is a rich seam of inspiration.
Prime Video charging £2.99 more to stay ad-free is a bold move. Watching with interest.
David Lynch cooking quinoa [YouTube]