Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.
–Selected Writings, Gertrude Stein
The Pale Horse, the latest Agatha Christie adaptation from screenwriter Sarah Phelps, released a trailer (below) this week. It stars Rufus Sewell and Kaya Scodelario, which is spot-on casting because they’re both compelling but it’s particularly easy for them to tilt over into being unlikable as characters. The plot is set in the 60’s and focuses on Mark Easterbrook (Sewell) , who wakes up next to a dead young woman, and is drawn into the mystery surrounding her death when a list of names is found inside her shoe and people from the list keep dying. Scodelario co-stars as his icy wife, a role I’m sure she’ll chew up with ease. The two-episode series airs February 9th and February 16th on the BBC, and it looks like it may release on Amazon Prime on March 13, 2020. Here’s the trailer, and a slightly spoilery review from Empire.
The Internet lit up with glee when some Yorkshire police nabbed a distinctive ring and ah, attempted to return it to its owner.
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
I remember the first time I heard a Joni Mitchell song. It was “Both Sides Now” – I came upon it directly after listening to Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” for the first time, which is as it should be, and a story of music and magical discovery all its own. What I remember about “Both Sides Now” is that it was one of the first songs to give me that sense that all great songs do: that is has always existed, that I was already aware of its existence, and that when I heard it, synapses in my brain fired to make this unknown thing instantly familiar, recognized, remembered – and loved. All of which is a long way to say: read this article – Anatomy of a Perfect Album: On Joni Mitchell’s Blue[Lithub]. “Both Sides Now” isn’t from Blue – “River” is, which is another classic, and a Christmas song, shot through with a gorgeous yet assenting wistfulness that sweeps you along its rich turns and delicate melancholy like the river of the title. Mitchell teaches us how to embrace loneliness as a friend rather than an enemy. “Only a phase, these dark café days.”
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite placed first in the Indiewire’s critics poll for 2019, which polled 304 movie critics from around the world to pick the best movies and performances of the year. I loved Parasite, but the fact that it’s the pick for best movie of the year really speaks to the paucity of transcendent or even brilliant films this year. The movie is brilliant, but flawed, and it’s not even among Joon Ho’s two best films (of which one would certainly be the scorching, unforgettable Mother). The 50 Best Movies of 2019, According to 304 Film Critics [IndieWire]
Showtime is adapting Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clayinto what’s being described as a “sprawling” series. Kavalier and Caly follows the lives of two Jewish cousins—an artist and a writer—who seize on America’s obsession with superheroes during World War II and become wildly successful in the comic book industry. Now, I don’t like Chabon – I once tried to read Kavalier and Clay and didn’t make it through – but I REALLY don’t like Showtime, which tends to make splashy, overly dramatized, hyper-sexualized stuff – so this is a match made in heaven in my opinion. [A.V. Club]
Lithub has a gorgeous article on How To Spend a Literary Long Weekend in Chicago (which is one of the most literary cities in America, and somehow also one of the few major cities I haven’t been to). [Lithub]
“All happy couples are alike; each couple in a Noah Baumbach movie is unhappy in their own way.” Rachel Handler’s Vulture article begins with this brilliant opening line, and ranks every couple in Noah Baumbach films from least to most miserable. I love it. [Vulture]
Bookriot has a delightful list of fairly affordable and high-quality Harry Potter-themed gifts; my favorite is the King’s Cross Station clock. [Bookriot]. Or, here’s a list of higher-end, more expensive HP items (most still under $100): my favorite, predictably, is the time turner clock pictured above in this post [Business Insider]
What I loved this week: a Stumptown song, a ballad about missing Glasgow, and of course, Pink Floyd.
This week’s episode of Stumptown (great show by the way: far better than it has any business being from the premise and trailers), ended on a song that immediately caught my attention, which turned out to be this GORGEOUS, instantly gripping 60’s ballad from The Animals:
“If you ever change your mind
About leavin’, leavin’ me behind
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet lovin’
Bring it on home to me, oh yeah”
If by real you mean as real as a shark tooth stuck
in your heel, the wetness of a finished lollipop stick,
the surprise of a thumbtack in your purse—
then Yes, every last page is true, every nuance,
bit, and bite. Wait. I have made them up—all of them—
and when I say I am married, it means I married
all of them, a whole neighborhood of past loves.
Can you imagine the number of bouquets, how many
slices of cake?