Midweek on Fleek: Things I like that you might too #7
It's getting quite cold now, isn't it? Everything is twinkling with a fine layer of frost, everywhere is piping in the faint sound of sleigh bells and everyone's breath smells boozy and mulled.
But it's not the holidays yet lads! Unless you found out in October you'd be working Christmas Day and immediately handed in your notice. In which case MAZEL TOV.
Here are 3 warm and toasty ways to pass the time in the awkward purgatory between picking your Secret Santa's name and accidentally leaving your gift under the buffet table.
1) Watch The Sinner on Netflix
Jessica Biel is on a day trip to the beach with her dreamy husband, Charlie from Girls.
She is innocently peeling some fruit for their tiny son (played by an up-and-coming two year old whose name I can't be bothered to google) when she begins to watch the couple on the blanket in front of her.
They're making out, playing loud music and generally having a frolic.
Without warning Mrs Timberlake leaps up and uses her pear-juicy knife to stab the young man seven times in the neck.
The subsequent drama follows a police detective (who likes to be dominated and looks a bit like Robin Williams) as he tries to figure out not whodunnit, but why.
No spoilers but the big reveal at the end of The Sinner is possibly a bit far-fetched. HOWEVER, the murderess's memories of hypnotic wallpaper, undulating bodies, cracking bones and a deeply disturbing ski mask mean 10 seconds feels frustratingly long to wait for the next episode.
A lot of the good supporting roles are played by women, which is always welcome, and Jessica Biel (who also produced the show) does some convincing sex noises/frowning.
The age gap between the sunkissed, late-night-sneaking older sister and her sickly, bedridden sibling is pretty hard to believe (We know, Jess, you look young. Congrats. But not that young.)
At least there's a nice flashback where the two girls spoon a wooden crucifix and say 'I love you Jesus.' #serieshighlight.
2) Read The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry
The occasional scary intellectual will write off the societal musings of everyone's favourite transvestite potter as kind of.. basic. Obvious. On a par with that A-Level Media Studies essay where you actually tried.
AND THIS IS WHY WE LOVE HIM.
The adjective 'basic' has an undeservedly bad rep just now. All dream-dinner-guest Grayson has is a sensitive eye and the eloquence to sum up what he sees for the masses. Everyone knows Media Studies was way better craic than French anyway. In The Descent of Man, describing himself as a 'doubter at the gates of the crumbling superdome of masculinity', Grayson examines the dangers manliness poses in almost every corner of our lives.
The book (which is dotted with cheeky illustrations) makes reference to Grayson's own cross-dressing adolescence and cites Obama, Attenborough, Beckham and Packham as worthy antidotes to the bloke-bants and lad culture plaguing our boys. Though it sometimes feels a bit 'What else is new?', gives barely a mention to gay or trans men, and doesn't necessarily offer many answers to its blunt, bulldozing questions ('What are men afraid of?'), Grayson Perry writes engagingly on a topic we must keep discussing.
He talks to psychotherapist Jerry Hyde, who suggests being masculine is about having the strength to destroy (either physically or emotionally) and choosing not to use it.
How nice if a Turner Prize-winning, micro-fringed Channel 4 stalwart could unite the ironically bearded gent with the cage fighter by re-imagining masculinity as (in Hyde's words) 'tenderness'.
3) Listen to The Call
Do you ever feel a bit desolate when you realise your only true calling in life was to learn the words to every Nicky Minaj verse ever and you've already done that, so there's little else to live for? Luckily there's a podcast you might like which will totally distract you from your unmemorable achievements by focusing on other people's.
The presenter Erica Williams Simon - a writer who used to be a political strategist - chats to women about their careers and campaigns, exploring how each is trying to answer her life's 'call'.
Erica is a bit cringe at times when left to her own devices on The Call, but once she gets down to interviewing her guests, she has a knack for guiding them in unexpected directions without imposing too much. Choosing super cool people to speak to probably helps.
3-and-a-half) Listen to Russell and Matt
Guys. The above suggestions took me about a year to write and they're not even that good.
If you knew Russell Brand and Matt Morgan had been doing their radio show again SINCE APRIL and didn't tell me, I'm not sure we can be friends any more.
Russell's multi-faith, gender-neutral, pseudo-political vibes these days are all well and good, but the true deranged genius only crackles out of him around Matt Morgan, whose imagination leaps to obscure cultural reference points and whose voice just happens to be sex in a bowl. (He's from Dartford, need I say more?)
It's the most beautiful friendship you'll ever listen to.
Sorry this post has trailed off to nothingness. Please if you've done or are thinking of doing any of the above, let's discuss.
Love you bye 🤷🏻♂️