CONSUMED - January ’22 Part Two
So, this is the second CONSUMED for the month. If you would like to read the first one, you can check it out here.
This issue of The Middle Part will talk through everything I watched, read, and listened to in the second half of January.
Collating everything that I have consumed in the last month, makes the themes of my tastes even more prevalent. I go through phases with media and that seems to be exacerbated by algorithms, the numerous lockdowns, and the fact I have been in isolation for part of this month. I am clearly in a romcom phase, and I liken this to when lipstick sales go up around recessions. I obviously just need a boost. I also spent a long time ignoring this genre so am relishing in it.
I finished Our Beloved Summer, and I am not going to say anything more on it except for the fact it is was wonderful. I miss the characters already. I also watched Hometown Cha Cha Cha and Oh My Venus again (all these shows are available on Netflix). I feel like a K-Drama tragic. Part of me is like if you love them, what’s does it matter but another part of me realises the need to broaden my horizons, because they are all blurring into one. My YouTube has also cottoned on and is presenting me with gorgeous montages of actor interviews, behind the scenes clips and general fuel for my obsession. Cut it out YouTube.
Taylor Swift’s Long Pond Studio Session was released on Disney + at some point in 2020. This feature length film documents acoustic performances of songs from Evermore, intercut with conversations between Swift, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dressner who both produced the album. Upon its release, I watched it all except for the final 35 minutes. I finally finished it. I am sure I watched it with a big soppy smile on my face because it’s beautiful and I bloody love hearing about people talk about making things they love making, especially when they’re really good at it.
Love, Rosie. Now. This has nothing to do with Love, Simon or Love, Victor (both films and a TV show in a similar vein on Disney +, I am getting distracted but Love, Simon is so, so good). Love, Rosie is the film adaptation of the Cecilia Ahern book Where Rainbows End (but more on that later). It was okay. I rented it from YouTube and it’s also available to buy or rent on Apple TV. Sam Clafin is gorgeous. Lily Collins is gorgeous. But I just found it all a bit bland. Plus, they age Lily Collins by giving her an angular bob. Boring.
Now usually at this time of year I would be watching the tennis NON-STOP, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I cannot stand Channel Nine’s broadcast of it. I think this is the third or fourth year since it was on Channel Seven and it does not seem to be improving. As a viewer I would appreciate names under presenters, reminders of who is commentating etc. I am a very casual Channel Nine viewer and I am forever confused about what’s going on and am certain I never want to watch Married at First Sight, and there is no number of promos that will change my mind.
Based on a recommendation from a friend, I watched CODA on Apple TV. Cue the sobbing. This story follows the tale of a high school student in a small fishing student whose parents and brother are deaf. She wants to sing and go onto bigger things. I’m pretty sure this is originally a French film that was adapted. Even my dad liked this film and I didn’t know my dad watched movies.
Apple TV also introduced me to Dickinson with Hailee Steinfeld. Quick side note, I LOVE Hailee Steinfeld. Her British Vogue In the Bag episode is a delight and in response to this video someone commented something like Hailee is like an old school Hollywood movie star. I am not sure if this means she is very classy or has closeted abuse problems but regardless I am all for her. Now I like the concept of Dickinson. As the name would suggest, it focuses on the life of Emily Dickinson. It’s kind of got Bridgerton vibes in the way it has a super cool soundtrack (mainly rap), and nobody speaks in the prose of the era but it just really lacks diversity in the cast. However, I am only a few episodes in of the first season which is a few years old, so I hope this improves. Each episode is centred around one of her poems and Wiz Khalifa plays the character of death in the first episode.
Eat Drink Man Woman. What a movie. I have watched this once before but hardly remembered it. I loved the look, the characters, the stories. Life is so messy, and nuts and the food is just insane. The film captures a relationship between three daughters and the father who all live in the same house really well. I say really well because you can sense how fragile everything is and how desperate they are for peace. The standing appointment of Sunday dinners is at once a burden but what keeps them together. You can watch it on Netflix of SBS OnDemand in Aus.
This month I have also taken up the challenge of doing a Yoga with Adrienne 30-day yoga journey. I can’t remember what it’s officially called but bless Adrienne and her multi-million-dollar YouTube empire. I am really enjoying the change in pace and having a 30-day goal to work towards. This, however, is taking me away from my other YouTube viewing because I mainly watch videos whilst I am on the treadmill, and even though I liked the idea of running and doing yoga every day I am only human and don’t want to spend that much time exercising. And now I am back at work, so the prospect of this happening is even less.
The Wombats released their new album Fix Yourself, Not the World. I really like it. Charting the trajectory of their music has been really interesting. I used to play their debut album, A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation all the time. It was so novel. The songs seemed like they dealt with big issues like crushes on girls, messy parties, jealousy like they were crayon drawings. As they have matured, I have to I guess so it’s always cool to grow up with things like that. Ready for the High is my favourite song so far.
I am also listening to whatever shlop Spotify plays me in my Daily Mix’s. I can see how you would just listen to the same songs all the time. If I play my On Repeat playlist it naturally just plays me the same songs, so we can see where this is going. It’s always the same.
The Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack was at the op shop for $2 and that’s been quite a comforting addition to blast through the house. I have previously mentioned how I find music a salve in my life, and listening to albums like this further cement that.
Triple J’s Hottest 100 took place this month. I haven’t listened to this for such a long time but, thanks to Spotify, I actually knew some of the songs. My favourite song from a Triple J Artist Bones by Telenova came in at number 91. I also love that song Edamame by bbno$ which was fairly high on the playlist. I have been reading a lot of people criticising the number 1 song (The Wiggles covering Elephant by Tame Impala) but we are nothing if not a novel nation and it feels as if the pandemic has made us extra nostalgic. The next day, Double J played the 2001 playlist. Now this was very nostalgic and I felt old because if you asked me when twenty years ago was I would say ’91 not ’01.
Lastly, I am so late to the bandwagon but I have been listening to Fancy Like by Walker Hayes more times than I care to admit. I think it’s become famous from TikTok but whatever. I also now know way too much about the man himself after stalking him online. He has a very nice beard and six children.
Okay, so back to this romcom phase of mine. In this second half of this month, I have read Where Rainbows End and The Year I Met You by Cecilia Ahern. They were nice and I felt quite emotional reading them. I don’t know if I will read them again. I’m also not against reading another Cecilia Ahern book but I don’t think I could read P.S I Love You (arguably her most popular?) because it looks way too emotional for me, and I don’t need Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank in my head. In the same vein of generally pleasant books I read Going Homeby Harriet Evans. Now, if you look at the cover of this book it looks like the title is Harriet Evans Going Home. It took me until page 310 to realise that there wasn’t a character in the book called Harriet Evans. So, I think that just goes to show how much attention I was paying.
In the first half of the month, I mentioned More than Maybe by Erin Hahn, and I read a second of hers You’d Be Mine. I ordered them both at the same time so probably wouldn’t have bought two if I read them one at a time. It was good, set in the country music scene and was just a bit twee. But it is a YA. That’s not a dismissal of YA. Now speaking of twee books, I read a book called Witch, Please by Ann Aguire. Now, this really wasn’t to my taste and when I mentioned this to my sister, she was all like ‘…it’s called Witch, Please’ but we don’t judge books by their covers, or titles etc. etc. My biggest gripe with this book was that one character was hexed (yes, hexed, it’s called Witch, Please remember?) to keep his virginity until he met his soul mate. I just don’t think this kind of shit if very helpful.
Two books in the contemporary romance genre I LOVED were The Unhoney Mooners by Christina Lauren and Wait for It by Jenn McKinlay. Now apparently ‘forced proximity’ is a trope of this genre. So, two people who don’t really like each other are forced to spend time together and BAM chemistry. These books were funny and nice. I’m looking forward to reading more from these authors.
We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba is a memoir written through the lens of finances. This book prompts reflection about not only where we spend our money but where we spend our time. Talking about money is uncomfortable for a lot of people, myself included but this book has really shifted my attitude. It also has one of the most beautiful definitions of nostalgia I’ve ever heard. One of my favourite chapters was about the idea of the beauty tax and how much more time and money women spend on their appearance. Uwagba is an excellent writer who, in this book, challenges our thoughts to do with work, money and success. I like people who present many facets of their personalities and Uwagba does this in her book.
I also read Out of Office by one of my favourite writers of all time, Anne Helen Petersen and her partner Charlie Warzel. A longer piece is coming out about this. This is one of those books I think everyone should read and it’s really changed my thinking. It’s not all rainbows and kittens and the authors make a point of saying there’s no checklist of things to do at the end of each chapter. It’s a sobering book about the world of work.
I am currently reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch which is forcing me to slow down. This is a positive side effect of reading this but I keep leaving it aside to read other things, but I will persist.
I signed up to a new newsletter this week, Spin to Win by Ben Madden. The premise is that it’s about Australian music and whatever else is ‘rattling around’ in his brain. There have been a couple of cricket references, a sport I really don’t like but I like Madden’s writing and a good writer can introduce you to a lot of new things.
I would love to hear what you’ve consumed this month, or if you try out anything on this list. As I mentioned earlier, I am now back at work so I feel like there will be one instalment in February because I won’t have as much time to consume things. It’s always a rough transition when it feels like work is getting in the way of my Netflix bingeing but that’s life for now.
As always, thank you for reading.
Quick side note: I don’t have any affiliate links. I simply link the books to Booktopia so you can see them for yourself.