‘You know’, said Timothy this morning, as we were driving in a blizzard towards his cancelled half-marathon, ‘I wouldn’t mind living in a place where it snowed more’.
‘You know’, I said, ‘I flipping would’.
Now we’re at the end of March, I am totally, unbelievably, inexpressibly done with snow. I do not want to go sledging. I do not want to make a snowman. I do not want to be cold, at all, ever again. So we’ve given up on outdoor things, and we’re officially hibernating. You know what you need when you hibernate? A big blanket. A big wedge of chocolate brownie. And something to watch-listen-read.
As it happens, I’ve been totally blown away by the following this week.
watch: There Will Be Blood
We caught this a few evenings ago. We’re only six years late. It’s the story of an unscrupulous oil prospector (Daniel Day Lewis) at the turn of the century, his takeover of a small town and his feud with a frighteningly devout local preacher (Paul Dano). There’s greed, there’s madness, there’s fire, there’s a fortune to be made. The main players are excellent, the landscape is bleak, and it gripped us right to the end.
It’s also a bit depressing, so afterwards you need to watch (or rewatch) Mean Girls, like we did. DANNY DEVITO, I LOVE YOUR WORK.
Oh, but this is the best radio drama the BBC have done in years. Years. Neverwhere started as a 90’s TV series written by Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry, of all people – a riot of chewy overacting and fabulous wigs – and then Gaiman wrote it up as a novel. The radio adaptation is in six parts and lousy with famous people: James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Head, Sophie Okenedo. And the story is brilliant: Everyman Richard Mayhew helps a mysterious, injured girl on the streets on London and accidentally falls through to London Below: a seething, subterranean world populated with barons, beasts and cut-throats, where Earl’s Court is an actual medieval court presided over by Christopher Lee, and people get horribly abducted on Night’s Bridge. We were in and singing the theme tune from the first episode. You should be too.
All the episodes are on iPlayer, here. For heaven’s sake, grab ’em while you can. If you can’t access iPlayer, hopefully they’ll be releasing it digitally at some point; if not, the novel is my next stop.
read: Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
A friend recommended this to me ages ago, and it’s taken me this long to get hold of a copy (thanks, Mum!). It’s one of those novels where I had to stop after the first chapter just to bask in how wonderful it is. It follows a rookie young policeman who gets caught up in a bizarre murder and ends up being taken under the wing of Detective Inspector Nightingale, the Met’s sole remaining wizard-in-uniform. What I loved most about it was the absolute grimy reality of the London it depicts: this isn’t a fantasy novel, per se, more like a police drama where some of them happen to practice magic. And it’s funny. AND – oh, glory be – it’s the first in a series.
You can find it here – though I would heartily recommend getting it from a proper bookshop, of course. And the US edition is called Midnight Riot.
Who needs outside when you have stuff like this?