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Cultural Update: April

So, April being the cruelest month and all, my cultural intake was somewhat diminished. Too much busy-ness in other directions.

Before we start, as usual, some link-tasticness. Here Literary Minded exhorts us to read more books by women. I know my own reading list tends to be male dominated, though I do have a number of women writers I will return to again and again. I have taken a conscious decision to try a couple of women sci fi writers who are new to me, and their books are in my reading-pile-of-doom. Updates in later months.

Books

Swallowdale Arthur Ransome This is the second in the series, and once again it was enjoyed read aloud to small boys. These books are joyous in their simplicity – the children do what children do and the small boys can imagine themselves in these positions. I love how they have become obsessed with the idea of learning to sail and how they delight in the detail of the camps and the food and the sailing ships. We are soon to have a feast of pemmican and ginger beer. I enjoy reading them for the sly humour they have and the clever turns of phrase which are used. All in all, an enjoyable bedtime reading experience.

Film

Paul I wanted to like this more than I did, and I wanted it to be funnier. For me, the most entertaining bits came with the cute nerdiness of the central protagnists which was not over done as it is in say The Big Bang Theory but which hit the right amusing tropes. The rest of the film was not offensive and it was pleasantly enjoyable in an almost instantly forgettable sort of way. Cute sci fi references towards the end also. It was all fairly well executed, but didn’t raise a belly laugh or really establish itself as cultural icon which will resonante for years in the way the shoot out scene in Spaced has turned into an instant cult classic.

Television

The Killing Speaking of instant cult classics, this Danish program has certainly been popular amongst a certain group of the Twitterati. It draws you into its complexity, with beautiful portraits of people in challenging situations. Its key protaganists are all highly flawed and there is no CSI style simple denouements at the end of 45 minutes. Compelling, beautifully filmed and acted, it is the kind of show that you get drawn to watching two or three episodes in one evening. Sarah Lund, the central character, is a wonderful invention – all baggy jumpers, jeans and pony-tails, struggling to cope with upheavals in her own life. I found really interesting the way that the show touched on racial and immigration politics in Denmark – how it underscores some of the action without being overtly preachy. It is a clever series, worth the investment of time and I can’t say too much more because I wouldn’t want to spoil it. You’ll forget about the subtitles (if they bother you) very quickly. It is going to be very interesting to see how a US version translates it all.

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