A personal selection of the cultural highlights of my week, including films, books, podcasts, radio shows and music.
|Micmacs. Dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet Starring Danny Boon.Jeunet lets his fertile imagination loose on this rip-roaring tale of revenge by a tragically unlucky orphan against France’s biggest weapons manufacturers. It’s hard not to marvel at the film’s inventiveness or be charmed by the oddball antics of the ensemble cast. If you liked Amelie, you’ll love this. Here’s a rare film that treats its subject seriously, without taking itself too seriously.||Winnie the Pooh. Written by A.A. Milne. Having grown up on the Disney version, I’ve been thrilled to discover A.A. Milne’s classic original from 1926. With wonderful illustrations by E.H. Shepard (so much better than the Pooh we now know from Huggies’ nappies), these stories are a joy to read out loud. I was particularly struck by their narrative ingenuity and complexity; and the fun they have with Pooh’s self-serving attempts at rational thought.|
|KCRW’s Bookworm. Interview with David Vann. Michael Silverblatt has certainly earned his reputation as the reader most respected by some of today’s best living writers. His searching conversations about books and the art of writing often provoke new insights by writers into their own work and lives. This unbelievably frank interview with debut novelist David Vann shines a light on the dark materials writers sometimes draw on for their work, but ultimately stands as testament to the transformative power of literature and conversation. http://bit.ly/gb0va4||The News Quiz. Hosted by Sandi Toksvig. My favourite moment on radio this week was when regular News Quiz panellist, Jeremy Hardy, described the ridiculous new confession app as the iPope. Inspired moments like this occur so frequently on the show you could almost take it for granted. It’s a wonder politicians and public figures survive this kind of onslaught week after week; but then, if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have shows like this and then where would we be? http://bbc.in/fEh0Fc|
|July Flame. By Laura Veirs. I can’t get enough of this album. Each song is exquisitely crafted, with beautiful pop melodies and evocative lyrics that stay with you for days on end. I first heard her perform these songs live on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic almost a year ago, and the memory of that first listen is still fresh in my mind. The song “Life is Good Blues” just about summed up my week. http://bit.ly/crdwti|