In hindsight, one of my busiest months in a long time probably wasn’t my best pick for kicking off my productive new part-time regime.
First of all, I was pretty sick. Remember how, over Christmas and into the new year, I ended up with a horrendous bout of sinusitis? Apparently this is now a thing that happens to me when I get colds. That, and a delightful chest infection stemming from the same cold, minimised the number of hours I had in which to be productive in May. Cue too many evenings writing long past my bedtime, despite now having a dedicated day solely for that purpose.
Once a week, since the start of the month, I’ve had a reminder from Squarespace that the free trial of what will hopefully be my professional/portfolio website is about to expire, and would I like another seven days? Once a week, I accept. Don’t get me started on speculative projects, because I got two extremely exciting commissions shortly after making the decision to go part time. One of those you can hear online just now, the other I’m preparing to deliver at the end of the month. I have never been so busy in my life, and it’s incredibly exciting.
I had my first panic attack in the office since going part time, and since cutting my pills. I didn’t read all those books that I promised, because I was having the best of times with the best of people.
I regret nothing.
Those Brad Pitt photos are hilarious. Remind me of my angsty-self-portraits-inspired-by-song-lyrics phase. pic.twitter.com/GCbm7zY6Dd
— Lisa-Marie Ferla (@lastyearsgirl_) May 4, 2017
Pitch Perfect (2012): My Friday night movie pick during my recent stay at citizenM in Shoreditch. Guys I… really wasn’t all that into this? I was expecting some great fun, singalong cheese, but other than a few scattered moments (and a Queen Kether Donohue cameo) Pitch Perfect didn’t really hit my sweet spots. Plus the love interest was basically Ted from How I Met Your Mother with even less personality. I’ve heard the sequel is better, though. ***
Glasgow 1967: The Lisbon Lions (BBC1): Fifty years on from the greatest victory in our club’s history, you’re damn right we Celtic fans are still banging on about it – because winning Europe’s most prestigious footballing trophy with a team all born within a 30-mile radius of the stadium simply won’t be accomplished again. Plus, this documentary (which is still on the iPlayer, at the time of writing) is as much the story of a city as the story of a game – and who knew Bertie Auld was a complete dude? ****
Catastrophe, s3 (Channel 4): I have such a weird relationship with Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s anti-romcom, dating back to a US culture podcast I listen to using it to cast aspersions on You’re The Worst (aka #BestShow, the second season of which is currently screening on Channel 5 in the UK). They’re completely different shows! Guh! Anyway, given this contained Queen Carrie Fisher’s final filmed role, it was always going to be poignant – and god, that ending. Broken. ***
Recommended by Trona, Berlin-based garage duo Gurr were my favourite new discovery of the month – annoyingly too late to catch them at Stag and Dagger, though. Also, the first single from the HAIM album came out and it was so good it made me fall in love with them all over again. Excuse me while I go play it another 20 times…
Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking (2008): A second mention for Carrie Fisher in this month’s round-up, as should ever be. The book is adapted from Fisher’s autobiographical show of the same name, which becomes very obvious as you read: structurally, it’s a bit of a mess and there’s a fair amount of repetition that you could imagine getting uproarious laughs on stage but which, on paper, comes across as needing an editor. I suspect this is best enjoyed with a hot bath, an alcoholic beverage or two and read with the actress’ voice in your head. ***
Angie Thomas: The Hate U Give (2017): A beautifully-written coming of age story which does more in its 400-odd pages to bring home the reality of police brutality and institutional racism in 21st century America than any number of pontificating think-pieces. Simple, elegant, devastating. Everybody should read this book. *****
Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Nobody (2016): As a 99p Kindle Deal of the Day a couple of days after I saw Pitch Perfect, it was pretty much fated that I would buy its charming star’s memoir. Billed as a “collection of autobiographical essays”, this was a light-hearted enough read – but shot through with bolts of resonance. Like this one, which I screenshot to keep on my phone (emphasis mine):
And YET, I always think, This is my year. This year I’m going to get my shit SO together that I’ll always be able to see the solution to my problems. I’m going to get it so together that I’ll never have to “get it together” again. It’s like this Tyler Durden-style feeling that I’m so close. I’m so close to being a real person. I’m so close to making time for friends and family. I’m so close to being able to take out the trash without checking that none of my neighbours are outside because small talk makes me feel like the world is on fire. I’m so close to being wonderful.
Do What You Want zine (2017): Edited by Ruby Tandoh (as raved about here) and Leah Pritchard, this is a gorgeous-looking collection of personal essays, interviews, art, poetry and recipes (of course!) that I devoured in a single sitting on a train to London. While it’s not, like, 100% unmissable writing or whatever it’s such an important project – all of the profits from which are going to various mental health-related charities that it deserves a full five stars. *****
Dan Wilde, Dave Hughes opening for Calan, Cottiers, Glasgow, 2nd May: There’s objective music reviewing, and then there’s going to see your mate open for a Welsh folk band at the same venue where he played when your other mates got married. Which means I probably wouldn’t have been able to give you the latter, even if I hadn’t fucked off before the headliner. Perhaps the Celtic Connections-esque crowd had an impact on Dave’s performance, but I’ve never heard him sing better – which makes me very happy he is working on new music again after a short break. Acoustic singer-songwriter type Dan Wilde was lovely, particularly the song “Windy Head” – named for the literal translation of a Russian expression, a language he is trying to learn as it is his wife’s native tongue.
Daphne Oram’s Wonderful World of Sound, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, 10th May: Delightfully experimental biopic of the electronic music pioneer, by Glasgow-based theatre company Blood of the Young. Reviewed for this very blog, if you’ll remember.
Take That, SSE Hydro, Glasgow, 11th May: There may only be three of them now, but I can’t imagine you ever leaving the sheer spectacle that is a Take That live show feeling short-changed… as I wrote for The Herald. I still can’t tell any of the post-reunion songs apart though – other than the one from the Morrison’s advert, of course.
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, The Roundhouse, London, 13th May: I’d have loved watching Frank Turner play his debut (and my favourite of his) album in its entirety on my own, as planned, but unexpectedly running into my now Brighton-resident gig buddy Mad Rachel in the venue pushed this into one of the top ten nights of my life. Hearing “Thatcher Fucked The Kids” live for the first (and probably only) time ever didn’t hurt either.
- an incredible weekend spent with my family in the fairytale surroundings of Toftcombs Mansion House, near Biggar, where we all stayed over my cousin’s wedding weekend;
- joining the Manic Panic crowd and having Gemma at Rebel Rebel turn my hair into a gloriously gothic unicorn mane (it only took six hours…);
- going out in London for a solo steak dinner;
- nerding out over the universe that is The Hold Steady’s lyrics via interactive database Clicks and Hisses;
- the Fembot-themed Veronica Dearly V Gd Fun stationery/greeting card subscription club box (ERASE THE PATRIARCHY!!!!);
- birthday cake Timbits. The hype is real.
How was your May, chickens?