Lockdown highlights (so far)

It feels unreal to finally be reaching the end of the strict stay-at-home orders. Sure, we have a long way to go. Living in London means my life won’t be running as usual for a long time. But we can see glimpses of “normalcy” seem to be breaking through.

Exhibit A: My friend brought me flour over this morning. FLOUR! The first bag I’ve been in three months.

I’ve been at home for 10 weeks. I wish I could look back on these past few months and take pride in the things I accomplished. But like most of us, I haven’t done anything. Instead I lay around listening to audiobooks and watching videos with titles like “5 most shocking murders with household appliances!”

That’s not to say that there haven’t been good things. So as we begin to step back out into this world, I’d like to doff my cap to the things that got me through Rona Times (so far).

Do share what’s been entertaining you and make you happy!

Movies

I’ve had a shocking time with movies lately. Almost all of them have been forgettable.

In the early days of March, my husband and I paid to watch The Hunt, which was definitely a mess, but a fun mess. More than anything it was interesting to partake in this new VOD-style release of brand new films. Going to the cinema in London is incredibly pricey, so this was a great middle ground. It was a way of paying to see a movie I wouldn’t have otherwise paid to see in cinemas. So I get to be relevant and cheap!

One of my better viewing choices was Candyman. I haven’t seen it in aeons, and thought it would be worth revisiting in preparation for the new film. Well, that release for Nia DaCosta’s sequel has been pushed back to September, but hey – plenty of time to watch the rest of the series.

For something more mind-opening, I can’t recommend Netflix’s Crip Camp more highly. This documentary chronicles the lives of key players in the disabilities rights movement in the US. It begins with their summer together at Camp Jened, a space that allowed them to be inspired by others like themselves. It’s an eye-opening piece of work that is so moving and impactful. You’ve already watched Tiger King twice, so just watch this next.

Hands-down the best movie I’ve seen call lockdown has been The Muppet Movie. There isn’t even a close second. Give me puppets, puns and Paul Williams and I need nothing else. It’s wholesome, but not in any sort of sickening way. A bright spot in what was certainly a dark time.

“Turn left at the fork in the road.”

Books 

One of the saving graces of the lockdown has been discovering Valancourt Books. This indie publisher specialises in rare and out-of-print fiction. They publish a wide variety of genres, but I’m here for one thing: horror.

From icons like J.B. Priestly and Robert Marasco to the hidden gems in the Paperbacks from Hell series, there’s a lot to discover from their selection.

My audiobook library is currently heavy with their titles. So far, the highlight has been Elizabeth Engstrom’s When Darkness Loves Us. This book is made up of two quiet, haunting novellas. The audiobook narrator, Karly Hutchins, does an incredible job bringing the stories to life.

My copy of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires FINALLY arrived this morning. Over a month after I was supposed to meet Grady Hendrix in person for a signing. Just the delivery of the book itself has been a highlight.

Let me tell you, the publishing industry has been absolutely ravaged by the coronavirus. So please support local bookshops and authors as much as possible.

Music

I rarely write about music anymore. Frankly, I find it dull work. And even more honestly, my music tastes haven’t exactly extended beyond the familiar in the last few years.

Early in the days of lockdown, I decided to start a playlist of the songs that I’d been listening to the most. Some are songs that I’ve only just discovered by accident through shows (and TickTock videos stolen and uploaded onto Twitter). The tracks don’t necessarily sounds good together, but it is what it is. A reflection of the chaos that is Rona Times.

So I guess if you like Ghanaian disco and early Meixcan rock ‘n’ roll…this playlist is for you?

Quick-fire “Misc” round

The Meyer Dancers‘ for their 60s go-go dancing videos that make at-home workouts fun again.

Enchanted Living Magazine for filling my dull life with stories and images of fantasy, magic and beauty.

RuPaul’s Drag Race and Schitt’s Creek for making me laugh and cry and being the only TV shows I can stomach.

Top5s and Rachel Maksy for being my go-to YouTube channels despite having nothing in common.

Filmageddon for hosting the best-damn film quiz, making me feel like I’m at the Prince Charles Cinema again and for filling my Wednesday nights with cheer.

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