Editor’s choice is a new column in which Jess and I as Arts Editors have both the platform and opportunity to share what we are engaging with from the world of the arts. We wanted to create this section so that we are not only being the Arts Editors this year but also have the chance to write as well. We hope you shall discover some up and coming events, ideas, artists, productions, musicians and texts which may pique your interest, as we share what has caught our eye as well as getting us thinking about the events, new releases and ongoings from within the arts. For our first article we wanted to share some of our all-time favourite texts; movies, books, podcasts, artists, albums, magazines, social media accounts and our cultural highlights, as a way to establish this new column and also share the types of artistic media we consume and enjoy. As well as sharing what kept us sane during the lockdown.
In terms of my personal favourite cultural texts and events, I have to confess that I am heavily influenced by my degree. I study American Studies and therefore a lot of the culture and media that I enjoy is based around that. My fascination for American culture appears in all its forms since I am attempting to keep up with the constantly evolving cultural scene which inhabits the country. Podcasts are an invaluable resource which I indulge in to further educate myself when attempting to get my head around my degree matter. Podcasts’ such as; the New York Times ‘The Daily’, Slow Burn, Ameri-Cast, 5-4, This American Life, Serial, Nice White Parents and the 1619 Project, all help me to enrich my degree. Other texts which continue to fuel my fascination for across the pond include that of leading publications such as the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Boston Globe, in particular their Spotlight series, The New Yorker, American Vogue, and Time Magazine. These allow me to hear from all different people, stories, ideals, experiences and identities which make up modern America.
Other than simply consuming culture for my degree, I was lucky enough to grow up in London and therefore have many places of artists importance upon my doorstep, some of my all-time favourite places have to be the V&A, Royal Academy of Art, KOKO, Brixton Academy, Royal Albert Hall, Alexandra Palace, the Roundhouse, Union Chapel, Design Museum and Jazz Cafe. I am also a hopeless romantic, so rom-coms, classic romantic literature fiction, love songs, poems and even Instagram accounts all follow that theme. My favourites for this category have to include Modern Love from the New York Times, Dolly Alderton’s podcast Love Stories, the Humans of NY Instagram page, any cliché rom-com film made by Richard Curtis or Nora Ephron or even the Guardians weekly ‘Blind Date’ column. I find exploring all the possibilities and interactions of love which we can encounter in our lives an endless source of fascination which I cannot seem to quit.
During lockdown I tried to fill this time of isolation and quiet with different voices, ideas, life experiences and adventures as I could. I found I needed to seek both relief and distraction during this time, whilst attempting to broaden my horizons whilst being confined to my home like everyone was. I got really into film analysis during this time, although I enjoy films, I decided to instead focus on the makings of them. From watching and listening to ‘Beyond the Screenplay’, I was able to examine classic texts to see why and how they were so relevant. By getting into the making of films it allowed me the ease of escapism not solely into the cinematic texts which were being examined but also the movie industry as a whole. I also fell back in love with BBC iplayer, from ‘Normal People’, ‘Mrs. America’ and ‘I May Destroy You’, each offering spectacular television which kept me sane and occupied by placing me into narratives which I was a world away from, sitting in my house alone during lockdown. Lockdown was a time where I was able to slip into as many different narratives and peoples shoes in order to distract myself from the ongoings around me. For me personally the pure escapism was necessary for that period of solitude.
Well welcome back readers! You left me a Theatre Editor and found me now one of the Art Editors in charge at The Badger. So much has happened since we last spoke; however, instead of chronicling my humorous anecdotal experiences I’m going to stick to the brief of ‘Editors choice’, indulge my narcissism and make you aware of my favorite art and artists.
Before I forget I have some information to share, don’t worry – I will get back to the ‘Artist Focus’ aspect of this paragraph very shortly. The big news is I now have a record player. I am the epitome of a 90s teenager with vinyl covers stuck on my walls and I love it! Granted, I have struggled to not spend all my money on my favourite all time albums; however, I have found joy in searching through antique stores and junk shops, stumbling across some brilliant finds (including a copy of ‘The Graduate’ score). I feel as though I have suddenly been granted a whole new lease of life – I listen to music both old and new, recordings of live concerts (historical events), a selection of monologues and even stand up comedy (thank you Richard Pryor). I wasn’t sure who I should pick for my ‘Artist Focus’ section of this article, so I will go with Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville who, according to Google, made the first version of a turntable in 1857. In turn, creating my lockdown obsession.r
As a bibliophile, books have always been an important part of my life. They came with me on car journeys, sat with me when I was waiting for my parents to pick me up from school and kept me company at school during lunch break. My all-time favourite book is The Princess Bride by William Goldman and I cannot recommend it more than enough. There is drama, romance, horror, action and magic. Words are unable to express my love for this text, so I will just tell you all to buy the book and be done with it.
Top 5 films:
- The Princess Bride
- What Men Want?
- Inglorious Basterds
- Forrest Gump
Top 5 series:
- Dear White People
- Peaky Blinders (not the last series)
- The Inbetweeners
- The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
- Sex Education
Oh theatre my love and joy…. Despite enjoying the live streaming that has occurred for the past few months from venues across the country, I am still longing to watch some in person stand-up comedy and take in a London musical. If any of you out there were trying to experience some theatre yourself, I would recommend purchasing a copy of ‘Fleabag’ the script. I have previously written an article raving about the BBC series, written and starred by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and in case you wanted a new way to experience media after a Netflix binge this lockdown – a theatrical read could be a welcomed change.
Music is quite possibly where I’ve seen the largest impact of lockdown. Moving back to live with my parents for so long was lovely but was very reminiscent of my adolescent and brought back a lot of memories surrounding teenage rebellion. The combination of my invigorated teenage angst and valid driving license led to car journeys involving the screaming of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since you’ve been gone’ in the queue for McDonalds drive-through, blasting Pink’s ‘So what?’ down rural roads at 1 am and last but not least, aggressively enjoying Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’ absolutely everywhere. Having just moved into my new student house I am trying to move away from the 2000s music that dominated the last few months of my life. However, I will always remember those power songs with joy, happiness and memories of McDonald’s veggie sticks. Good times.