The measure of success of a new newsletter surely centres around two things:
We’re clearly all good on the first measure, and there’s only been one unsubscriber, so I’m counting that as a win!
I’m still finding my feet with it. Is it all a bit too wordy? Does it need more pictures to break up the Wall of Words (tm)? Does the conflation of personal opinions, traditional Story Factory content and, now, food blogging work at all? I’d love for a combination of newsletter and site to become akin to a hybrid of IndieWire and Culture Whisper‘s newsletter. But that’s a high bar. And it’s often an excess of ambition that ends up crippling these projects.
Falcon and Winter Soldier - Two episodes in, and it plods along nicely. If this wasn’t part of a franchise, the much-vaunted MCU, with its familiar characters and narratives, this would be written off as mid-level fare. A buddy movie with a political conspiracy story, but with more costumes and punching. There will be people hoping that the pitching of Globalists vs America Firsters will end with a resounding victory for the Symbol of America. I’m keen to see how far Disney is willing to push a controversial political message: Will they pick a side and risk alienating real-world political outlooks, or just slide back into safe status quo.
A Post-Return MCU World bears a similarity to a (hopefully eventual) post-COVID world, in one way: There will be people looking for return to a world exactly as it was before, and others looking to shift the status quo, to use the opportunity to remake a better world. Disney and the MCU tend to be conservative bodies: Even when there’s a big upheaval, the drive is to a return to ‘normality’. An understandable, human reaction: When your world is threatened, it is our instinct to return to safety. The harder step is to return to better.
The Irregulars - A supernatural Holmesian YA story, through the prism of His Dark Materials, there’s a good balance between the progression of the over-arching plot, and the case of the episode. Bit by bit the hidden truths of the world are revealed, while the tendrils of the supernatural world reach deeper into Victorian London. There’s a lot to love with the show, and it held its momentum throughout. It’s hard to see how they’d continue this onto a second season, but as they’ve already established a multiple-worlds, would a cross-voer with the other Holmesian Netflix property Enola Holmes be so terrible an idea?
(Yes. Yes it would.) (Or would it?)
Promising Young Woman - Sadly I’ve not yet watched this movie. It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020. It was due to start it’s theatrical run in April 2020, but due to the pandemic, didn’t hit screens until December, followed by a VOD release in January and a Blu-ray release this month. Sadly, only in the US; there’s been no release in the UK, despite numerous nominations for Emerald Fennel and Carey Mulligan. Happily, there’s now a release date! Promising Young Woman is getting a UK VOD release on April 16th! Worryingly it might look like a Sky exclusive, showing on Sky Cinema and NOW TV, but if that’s the case I fully intend to create a trial account just to watch it!
I joked in the last newsletter that while I was sitting with my head in my hands in my loft office, other people were being disgustingly productive and writing novels. One such person is Richard Holliday, who not only wrote a new horror novella, but already has it out for sale on Kindle. Nightmare Tenant is available now.
Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, best known for his 2016 track Human (which my dad particularly, and unironically, enjoyed), has a new single out. All You Ever Wanted is a solid return, but is anybody else getting Bruce Springsteen vibes? Certainly a departure from the heavily produced sound he’s most famous for.
In news far fewer people will be excited about, My Bloody Valentine have signed to a new label. A fact that, on its own, is probably only exciting for them. But, it does mean all their back catalogue is being re-issued, and there’s a chance of a future tour. And if that’s not worth being excited about, I don’t know what is.
I asked on Instagram what recipes people would be interested in, as I’ve cooked for, and discussed food with, a large number of people over the years. My steak and ale stew is a favourite in this house, and I hope will be in yours too. You need one large pot to make this (If you want to turn it into a pie, just make the stew, put it in pastry and bake it. I’m not the Pie Minister.)
Well there you have it, the second newsletter of this new incarnation. Let me know what you think, or if you have anything you like to consider for submission. Let’s see where this takes us. And maybe next time I’ll try and make this whole thing look a little less spartan.