Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas picks | Want, need, wear, read

Image: Daria Shevtsova

It's Christmas Eve. I've woken up tired and emotional which is very much peaking too soon. But excited too... I'm only two deliveries away from having everything done and basking in the glow of having presents wrapped but no real idea of what we're all going to eat on Boxing Day. Classic Christmas for me - 50% totally organised, 50% winging it.

This post isn't designed to replace the enjoyable task of going through the Christmas Radio Times with a highlighter - I'd never take that away from you. Instead, think of this as a spangly stocking of treats that might spark an idea in that Chrimbo limbo when no one knows what day it is and is this what it's like to be retired?

Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian

I'm like the keenest kid in class on this one, pushing my hand up so high because I really, really want you to know about this amazing short story. Shh, but I'm not normally into short stories (just find them a bit unsatisfying) but I'm more than happy to review this policy on the basis of Kristen Roupenian's flawless example. The way she draws the characters, the authentic dialogue, the emotions it conjured up - it's all astonishing. READ. IT!

Baby Driver

I missed this at the cinema but had heard so much about the opening scene, soundtracked by one of my all time favourite songs from the nineties, Bellbottoms by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (I loved that band so much). Really enjoyed this film a lot - the music is obviously spectacular and it stars Jon Hamm (my fave + two 'h'-free Jons in this film!). And I definitely wouldn't say I'm particularly into car chases but this one was well cool. Have you seen it?


We saw this with the kids at the cinema earlier this week and both boys said it was one of the best films they'd ever seen. I'm so glad. Without being one of those educational parents, I thought it would be a good one to watch to ignite conversations about differences, which it did. I absolutely loved this film as a film, too. I read the book a few years back and loved it too. Really glad the director did it justice.

In the time it's taken me to make this post live, my Grayson Perry recommendation has switched from his book - The Descent of Man - to his exhibition. Grayson Perry: The Most Popular Art Exhibition Ever! on at Arnolfini in Bristol until today, unfortunately. It's one of those exhibitions that invites you back in again and again as there's so much depth.

Back to the book... it's a look at modern masculinity and how it's in need of an upgrade masculinity to make the world a better place. What initially piqued my interest was a rather heated argument it generated on a friend's Facebook page. I rubbernecked without getting involved (obvs) but noted that GP reports that 'men commit 90% of violent crimes. That statistic alone should motivate a government to put gender at the centre of policy, but I'm not hearing it. The cost of male crime, to the UK exchequer runs into the tens of billions of pounds every year. What if female tax payers decided they were fed up of paying for this?'. Sounds like a must-read, doesn't it?

And on the same shelf of the virtual bookshop is Robert Webb's How Not To Be A Boy. Like Perry, Webb is exploring masculinity in the western world but this time through the lens of his own perspective. The memoir nature of this tale delves into his own past and a turbulent relationship with his sometimes violent father with whom he had to move in after the death of his mother, aged 17. It's hard not to hear anything Robert Webb does as himself rather than Jez from Peep Show but I loved hearing some of the book read by him and serialised on Radio 4 recently. Try to track it down if you can.

I mused that it was interesting these two were exploring masculinity and wondered if we're on the brink of a sea change, until a friend pointed out that women have been saying this stuff for, like, ever but that it was only now being taken seriously because two men were saying it. Which leads me onto important words told in a female voice quite brilliantly - Sara Pascoe's Animal. Where to start with this incredible book? Again, aspects dip into Sara's own past experiences which gives the reader some real-world context, but she's also researched so thoroughly some of the most important social, biological and gender issues of our time. Rarely have I read a book that is written with such a distinctive voice as this... I wonder if it's a quality quite specific to stand ups perhaps? Writing eloquently in a funny and personal way. That seems so obvious now I've typed it.

I'm going to sign off now as although I've not fulfilled the brief in this post's title (I'm all about the watch and the read, and you know what to wear - elf costume, right?), it's blooming Christmas Eve and I want to go and hang with the fam.

Have a wonderful week or so and I'll see you on the other side!

Lottie x
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


© Oyster & Pearl | UK / Bristol lifestyle, travel, interiors, vegan food blog | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig