Good things

Things I’ve enjoyed recently. You might not like them. Or you might.

Pigs Pigs Pigs – at Chalk, Brighton, Feb 2023

Tallulah – film about a young woman who steals a baby. Thoughtful, with a great script. Jan 2023

Tracey Emin/Edward Munch at the Royal Academy, London. A very moving set of pictures. Added June 2021

Tracey Emin

Residue – captivating, mesmerising film. I don’t know why or how it achieved this, but I was completely absorbed. And it was just the right length. It’s about a lot of things all at once – going away, coming back, friendship, changes in identity, family, gentrification, memory, and lots more. Added May 2021.

The way this farmer talks about his happiness – he’s had the same supper every day for 10 years. Article in the Guardian. Added April 2021.

This discussion between Kazuo Ishiguro and Adam Buxton on AI is thought-provoking. Podcast. Added March 2021.

What is Seized. A short story by Lorrie Moore in the Self-Help collection. It opens: ‘My mother married a cold man …’ Added February 2021.

Interview with film director Oliver Stone on Louis Theroux’s Grounded podcast. About writing, film-making and American foreign policy. Added Feb 2021.

King Rocker – joyful documentary about the career of Robert Lloyd and The Nightingales. Presented by Stuart Lee. A must if you liked indie bands in the 80s.

I May Destroy You – complex and wonderful drama series set in London. Written by Michaela Cole. Made my head buzz.

Dog of Man at the Trafalgar in Brighton. Cracking, high energy band.

Better Things on TV. I just love the characters in this.

Fontaines DC at the Haunt

Exhibition of works by Thomas Schutte. June 2019.

BlacKkKlansman – Spike Lee film loosely based on the true story of a black cop infiltrating the KKK. The link to Trump’s America at the end is terrifying.

Mad Men – I watched the first 5 series about three years ago. Now I’m watching 6 and 7 and am enjoying it just as much. The clothes, furniture, current events and the fabulous characters. It’s a masterclass in how to keep characters developing over series.

Stephen Carlin at the Secret Comedy Club, Hove. Very funny set.

The Happy Prince – about the time after Oscar Wilde was released from prison. Rupert Everett is fabulous. Wilde’s story is important in getting to grips with Victorian society. I’m reading about him for book 3.

The Cordovas at the Prince Albert, Brighton. Incredible arrangements and musicianship. Country heaven. The Band mixed with Traffic and the Louvin Brothers.

Declan Welsh and the Decadent West. Amazing gig at The Green Door Store. Terrific noise from Scotland.

Anne Enright. I’d resolved not to put any novelists on this list as there are too many I could have included. But I’ve just read Green Road and The Gathering.

Derelect London tours by Paul Talling. Long and good. Always sold out.

Girls – Lena Dunham. Brutally honest. Totally engrossing.

Big Little Lies – excellent music and visuals, and an incredible script that builds and builds to something very powerful.

Marcia Douglas reading from The Marvellous Equations of Dread at SpeakySpokey, Brighton.

Walking Tours with Old Maps (around London) – fascinating trails around London neighbourhoods where Ken shows you the hidden history. I recently did one around The Borough (Arrowood territory) – it was great.

Hunderby – snout muffins, bubbly milk, Oh Helene! Julia Davis is a wonderful comedy writer.

Where the Boys Are – Connie Francis

Hilary Mantel – BBC Reith Lectures – five interesting talks about writing historical fiction.

I’m not afraid of love – Sharon Clarke and the Product of Love

Wireless Nights by Jarvis Cocker on BBC Radio 4. I love this podcast – true stories and noises all about the night.

Short story podcasts from the New Yorker. Recently enjoyed Mavis Gallant’s From the Fifteenth District about dead people getting annoyed with the living.

For the Birds at Brighton Festival. A brilliant walk in the dark through the woods, with eerie little installations all over the place


James Bone’s Townies at Junkyard Dogs, Brighton Festival. Excellent character comedy.

Jealousy – Anne Peebles.

Once I Was – Tim Buckley

Louise Bristow pictures.

Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story. Fascinating documentary by Jon Brewer about Mick Ronson and his years with Bowie.

Helen Duff at The Warren, Brighton Fringe. Never seen anything like this before. She’s wild and funny.

I Can’t Go Back to Savoury Now – John Shuttleworth