“Phew”, I said to myself on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s a good thing I have all of Thursday to write this week’s newsletter, I’ve barely started!” This was all, of course, before the crashing realisation that tomorrow (today?), Thursday, I have a day off. And not one where I’ll be doing DIY or other jobs that don’t involve actually leaving this enclave of the Shires. Tomorrow, my fiancé and I will be heading for The Smoke, where we will brunch and go clothes shopping. For me, that is. For me, looking into the wardrobe right now is like in the Tomb Raider movie where, with the smoking ruin of her stately home behind her, she informs the courier that she “woke up this morning and hated everything”!
Somewhere last year, in 2019, I started a running regimen, to try and get healthier and be able to regularly run 5km. I nearly made it twice, interrupted by two kinds of tendinitis and a heavily sprained ankle. Having finally reached my milestone, I thought that I’d share the Engine Room’s exercise playlist. At 36 minutes it’s the length of time it takes me to run 5k, including warm-up and cool down. The next step is either to run for longer (necessitating a longer playlist) or faster (requiring a shorter one). But if I don’t keep up the momentum, I’ll stop and just give in to middle-aged spread, and nobody needs to see that, least of all me.
I mentioned Promising Young Woman in my second newsletter, and while it’s available to watch now (finally) it is exclusive to Sky Cinema. However, if you don’t have Sky or a NowTV account already, there’s a seven day trial of the Now Cinema package available. And while you’re there, go and watch Killer Joe too before your trial runs out.
Last week I mentioned the Japanese Miss Sherlock, which has turned out to be a really fun watch. I’m sad there’s only one season, but the cases are clever, the characters have rapport, and rarely has there been as well dressed a Sherlock as this. The show takes more cues from Cumberbatch’s Holmes than any other, but that’s no bad thing.
Friday of course marks the finale of TFATWS on Disney+, wherein there will be some punching, a heroic new uniform, and very little introspection. I look forward to the release of Loki in June, but it has been a diverting ride.
I started reading Omar El Akkad‘s American War last weekend, while I was suffering from the aftermath that the vaccine took on my poor, ravaged carcass. What better time than when consigned to bedrest, right? And, happy days, I did make solid headway. However, I doubt I’ll finish it.
Not because it’s not good! I mean, it’s been compared favourably to Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road and Philip Roth‘s The Plot Against America. It also was a finalist for the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award, and in 2019 the BBC News listed it on a list of the 100 most influential novels.
But for me, the ending and even the torturous path to get there are so heavily sign-posted and so crushingly, depressingly inevitable, that I just can’t bring myself to go through with it. It’s not a treatise that I need convincing on, it’s not a subject matter that I’ve never pondered before. Sometimes you just don’t need to put yourself through something gruelling, just because you’re told it’s good for you.
In comic related news, the finalists for the 2021 Hugo awards were announced, and both Kieron Gillen‘s DIE and Once & Future made it. And rightly so, they are both excellent.
I could take the easy way out here and just paste in my chilli recipe, codified for the first time this week. But what I really want to talk about here is honey. Specifically local honey, as a preventative for hay fever. I had previously taken it as an old wives’ tale, until I saw the difference with my own eyes. I know you’re supposed to start eating local honey the winter before, but I don’t think there’s any harm in starting a habit early and sticking with it.
But if only it were so easy! Between local apiarists losing hives, and the lockdown driving everyone #ShopLocal (and rightly so), I can’t source local honey for love nor money! I shall persevere though, as hay fever is really doing a number on me this year. And my quest has thrown up one fringe benefit: I’ve found two sources of very locally laid ‘freer than free range’ eggs.
Ahead of my visit into London, I was worried that I had become a bit institutionalised; a lockdown lifer in my loft. Having barely left the Shires in over a year, I worried that my tastes had shifted to the parochial, that I would no longer have the taste for the shiny new, the crush of people, the size, the scope, the possibility of all that was London. It’s been a long time, time marches on, and vision narrows as the light dims, right?
Having just spent a day there, eating and seeing and drinking and shopping and experiencing, I can happily say I’m not over my love of London and all that it is. I’m not sure I’d live there any more, and I’m quite happy the streets and trains are much emptier. But London has lost none of its vivacity, none of its sheen for me.
Let’s just not talk about how much I spent. But if I’m going to go to battle against, in, and for my city, I’ll need to be properly attired.
And I’m pretty sure All Saints saw me coming.
This was the week where I was closest to not hitting the deadline. The closest I came to thinking “nobody will care if I send it out on Friday instead”. And maybe you wouldn’t. But I care. And so here we are.
So, are you enjoying them? Do they add something to your day? You could let me know, that’d be nice. But also very un-British. But instead, could you let someone else know? Could you forward a favourite issue to a friend, in the hope they also subscribe?
You know me, I love an audience. And I’d be very grateful.