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  • Gemma Speakman

Whittle down of the week


Question of the week (aged 5)

Mum, why is bird poo white and not brown? Answer - No idea

surprised face*

Picture of the week

*note - one thing you will realise one day, little 5 year old, is that all the adults (who in your head know the answer to everything) are doing the above (maybe not the eyeliner bit).

Word of the week

Sonder - The realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own (easy way to remember this word in case you ever need it is that it’s wonder but with an S)

Woman of the week

Ok, so Reese Witherspoon in Big Little Lies (THE single best thing to be on TV in a very long time for a number of reasons). The drama and beauty of the natural landscape (the wayward waves as if to embody the searing undercurrent at the heart of the script). The location houses, the soundtrack, Zoe Kravitz’s hair in yoga class. And, all hail Reese Witherspoon’s knockout performance plus please know, she was also a producer of the show so was doing two major jobs (not hard to believe really, she is a woman). It came to light in the Emmy award winning sweep speech that she and best friend and co star Nicole Kidman that the series was borne from the frustration over the lack of good roles available for two Oscar winning actresses. Solution? They made roles for themselves. Sound familiar? Anyway you thought that Reese was good, her co-star in new release Home Again, Candice Bergen trumped (no pun intended) her this week doing the usual film promo rounds when she wore a wonderful sweater all day which simply read ‘Free Melania.’ It doesn’t need any more explanation other than where can you get your own? Right here https://rockatee.com/product/candice-bergen-free-melania-sweater/

Third woman of the week TM THE PM

Whatever you do if you’re a woman and a politician, DON’T COUGH IN PUBLIC. And definitely don’t have a coughing fit or have a scratchy, scraggly voice in front of mostly men, because look, there’s no sympathy whatsoever if you’re feeling like total death but you have a party conference speech to do and there’s not an understudy who knows the drill. Listen, she got up there. She did it and she said what she had to say, even dealing with an (unfunny) prankster in the midst of it all. Theresa, my hat is off to you for riding the continual backlash of critical waves (with no alternative solution offered, just criticism for you). Let’s stop pointing and laughing at her and let’s instead spend the energy listening to her policy plans and future vision or lack of them but let’s just cut her some slack and ok acknowledge that coughgate happened but then shall we all grow up and collectively ignore the very unremarkable human function that is coughing. Once we’ve re-calibrated the playground behaviour maybe let’s spend the energy we have to actually when we need to going out and doing the one thing that makes a difference - VOTING. Side note, even though she coughed a lot, her hair remained immaculate (that fact wasn’t reported).

Binge/life changing TV of the week

TV then Book, Book then TV - the clue’s in the title, Black Mirror.

Charlie’s Brooker’s outstanding television series Black Mirror, created in his words, not to ‘reassure people’ as most TV series set out to do (a bit like the fairytale) rather to ‘actively unsettle people’ (a bit like the film, Shutter Island). It might be a little OTT to call this netflix drama binge, more appropriate to call it bitesize because Black Mirror is powerful stuff and consuming more than one episode in one sitting could throw you off the scale of sanity. It made me sit bolt upright for the concepts it explored, the future gazing it lured me into and the brilliant writing. Uncomfortable viewing at times because it’s seriously palpable - magnifying how we are living our lives today and what our children’s reality might look like when they’re adults. If you want even more brain intensity hang out for the books. Due for release next May, Brooker will edit three-volume novella length stories written by various famous writers. Charlie added “they’re appearing in a high-tech new format known as a ‘book.’ Apparently, you just have to glance at some sort of ‘ink code’ printed on paper and images and sounds magically appear in your head, enacting the story. Sounds far-fetched to me, but we’ll see.” Mirrored genius.

Artist of the week

How fitting that Mike Skinner of The Streets fame was on my list for his week then I found out that the tickets for ‘The Streets’ revival tour go on sale this Friday at 9am for their gigs next April. Mike Skinner’s genius and his ability to make me lose myself in his words is never far away.I recall reading his autobiography when I was pregnant with my first child and I couldn’t put the book down (what a luxury eh? I had WAY more time then before little people arrived). But the writing, like his music is captivating. Such a humble guy who writes and sings so many truths about every day life. How unifying this piece of prose is. It’s only if you know there’s melody that’s attached that it becomes a song. Like many of his lyrics, they stand alone fine without music accompaniment - poetry in motion. Go see www.gigsandtours.com

Swim in the deep blue sea cornfields sway lazily

All smiles all easy where you from, what you on and what's your story

Mesmerizing tones, rising pianos, this is my zone so stop cloning

paper scissors or stone

[..] And it went on and on

We all smile we all sing

The weak become heroes then the stars align

We all sing, we all sing, all sing

Food of the week

Let’s do what Delia did back in the day with ‘How to Cook, Book One’ (look away if you feel old, publication date 1998!!!!) When as we all awaited with baited breath her new book it was like a goldfish was soaring atop a glorious mermaid when we realised the new tome centred around the most versatile ingredients ever formed, the egg. As she celebrated this humble facilitator (to a lot of sniggering), everyone eventually realised she had a point. This week I encourage you to go retro, back to basics with no jus, foam, puree or quinoa in sight. Egg and chips. With lashings of vinegar and salt it cuts the perfect brunch or supper - a lot like a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes late at night because it feels odd to eat a breakfast thing at dinner time but weirdly, because of the outer rebellion, tastes loads better. Egg and chips, let’s be ‘avin ya.

I kiss you on both cheeks 'til next week X


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