Well, when I decided to start writing about the type of entertainment that can be consumed in your home as a blog series I had no idea just how relevant it would be just a few short months later.
I know a lot of people have significantly more time than usual on their hands right now, but even for those for whom time is still in short supply, I think I can safely say a little escapism wouldn’t go amiss – and that’s something that books, television and podcasts are brilliant for.
Since I was so late with edition two of this post, I don’t have reams of recommendations, but with 2020 seemingly overseeing the apocalypse, I thought I would make this month’s choices ones that are, if not entirely positive, at the very least fun or light hearted. Each one of them brought me a laugh or a smile, and if you haven’t yet given any of them a go, I hope they do the same for you.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid | I absolutely devoured this book, and really mourned the ending of my time with it when the last page was turned; it’s the most fun thing I’ve read in a while, full of spirit and totally captivating. Written as a set of interview transcripts, the story of fictional band The Six’s stratospheric rise to fame – the writing, the music, and the drama – is told through the voices of those in the band and the people around them. Reid deftly handles serious topics like addiction and abortion (I did say my picks weren’t *entirely* positive) in a way that captures the devastation they can bring without the glamorisation that some rock’n’roll stories lend them.
I loved reading the relationships between the female characters; unusually for a book that includes something of a love triangle, the interactions between the women in the story felt authentic and empowering. All of the characters, in fact, felt so authentic that I had to check this wasn’t a real band a couple of times – and no, they’re just written in such a truthful and intoxicating way that believing they really exist comes easily. Truly, I loved everything about this novel, and I’ll be rereading it sooner rather than later.
Stath Lets Flats | Having never heard of this before, I managed to watch both seasons of it on my flights to and from New Zealand (as well as 12 films – bravo me). It is so ridiculous, so silly, so eccentric…and very possibly brilliant too. Created by Jamie Demetriou, it follows Greek-Cypriot lettings agent Stath’s incompetent attempts to let flats to a selection of bemused renters and impress his father in his quest to run the family business.
It is funny in a way that I can’t truly articulate; describing any of the most bizarrely hilarious scenes wont do them justice (‘he tries to catch a pigeon’ doesn’t express it properly), and quoting the lines that had me snorting aloud (‘she done a grey sick in a posh drawer’) won’t truthfully capture the humour. Nonsensical and surreal in places and dry and ironic in others, I did a lot of laughing while watching this, and we could all probably do with a laugh right about now, stupid or otherwise. You can watch it on All 4.
Shagged Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey | Initially introduced to me as a sort of ‘relatable marriage and parenting’ situation, I wasn’t entirely sure this was going to be my type of podcast, but I gave it a go anyway and it turned out to make for hilarious easy listening. Hosted by comedian Chris Ramsey and his equally funny wife Rosie (a very likeable duo), Shagged Married Annoyed is one of those podcasts that has you sniggering in public – okay, not at the moment – and genuinely feeling like you know the people it involves. Try not to be charmed by these two, I dare you.
Just as funny as Chris and Rosie themselves are the ridiculous stories submitted by listeners each week and read aloud – these are often my favourite parts of the episodes. It’s already hugely popular and highly successful so most of you have probably listened, but if you haven’t, there are a year’s worth of episodes, so you’re in for a good time.