January is a good time to think about entertainment - there is nothing more satisfying than cosying up with a great book or film on these wild and dark nights (well it is wild and dark here anyway!). Regular readers to this blog may actually be able to guess in advance my answers to these, I am pretty consistent with what I like entertainment wise.
1.Books you have read multiple times
Did you have any books at school that you seemed to read for, well forever? Or a book that you still seem to know by heart, it was so imprinted upon you? Ask anyone from my alma mater and they will give you the same answer - Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. 'It is a truth universally acknowledged....' That and A Midsummer Night's Dream. We all chuckle about it now but both of those books shaped me.
These days, I only retain on my bookshelf the most beautiful books I know I will read and re-read again. My several thousand academic books, which I did once pour over multiple times, accrued over many years of over-education have all been given away. I didn't fancy lining my shelves with books about political violence, Russian politics, Latin American revolutions and so on.
Which brings me to these:
2. Favourite book / author of all time
Those above - Laurie Lee, Thomas Hardy, Flora Thompson, George Orwell. I love authors who wrote during times of upheaval and political change, particularly those that focused on rural life or travel. With Thomas Hardy I feel I can escape to a rural Dorset I can almost imagine, having lived there as a child, but with his descriptions of a Victorian rural idyll that make me float away somewhere. Flora Thompson the same - she captured village life in the late Victorian era before everything changed, and as it changed. You grow to love the characters. I love books about travels on foot or on horse - two books featured above are by Georgian and early Victorian writers William Cobbett and John Byng, who charted their travels by horse the length and breadth of the country - capturing what a historian never could. I love their descriptions of the inns and pubs they stayed in and reading about the vast amounts of bacon, beer and port they consumed and feeling quite jealous. I have said many times I am a soul trapped in the wrong era - perhaps I wish that I too were living in a Dorset village pre WWI or travelling the country on my horse or 'walking out one midsummer's day' as Laurie Lee did with a few bob in his pocket and his violin on his back, and walking to Spain.
3. Favourite TV Show to binge
Lark Rise to Candleford (TV series based on Flora Thompson's novels):
And of course, yes, you guessed it, Downton Abbey, which Caspar and I watch nearly every day. We have just watched all the series and are about to re-watch when the DVDs arise (those blighters at Amazon have made each episode £2.49):
I would like Lady Mary's tweed jacket and hat - yes please.
Plus of course Poirot - my favourite character being Hastings. I could listen to him speak all day and wish we all still spoke like that today:
Hastings - impeccable manners and wardrobe. They don't make them like that any more. I love him.
As well as Parks and VEEP (which tends to make you suck air through your clenched teeth a lot it is so cringey borderline offensive but I can't not watch):
4. Favourite newish TV show
Apart from Poldark:
Would you marry Ross? That is the question? Is he liveable with or would he drive you to drink? Or do you think you could tame him? (hahahah!)
Current favourite has to be Vikings (currently watching with jaw dropped most of the time). Are any of you watching this as well? Ivar has gone Anakin on us and definitely headed to the dark side. The characters are all off doing their own thing and I hope that Ube's venture colonising East Anglia goes well for him. Also hoping Hvisturk leaves Ivar and ventures off for new pastures. Magnus is just annoying and I want to slap him. I hope Lagartha is found, she has been through a lot and God knows how she never ages, or gets any battle scars. Thoughts on this season anyone?
I also think I will be hyperactively excited when the new and final GOT season arrives.
There is a tiny teaser for the new series on a HBO advert that shows this scene above, with Sansa handing Winterfell over to Daenerys. Who incidentally looks about 12.
5. Favourite film of all time?
Of course it is the adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd:
The gloriously heaving farmhouse table.
Farmer Oak: swoon.
I also love Mona Lisa Smile:
Gentle films. C and I watched Brideshead re-visited last night and he loved it but was a bit perturbed at the end that there wasn't a happy ending. I think it is good for him to watch films like this but I generally prefer a happy ending, do you?
We watched The Holiday this Christmas and loved it!
I related to Cameron Diaz' character hopping around a freezing cold stone floored cottage dressed like this :)
6. Film you are most looking forward to watching?
Guess? The Downton Abbey Movie of course! C and I will got to the midnight showing. I love the fact he loves it as much as me and actually talks about the characters a lot when he isn't watching it. He has started absent mindedly using some of the 1920s phraseology in regular conversation, it is very amusing.
An actual still from the upcoming film!
And Top Gun 2:
7. First concert you attended
London Symphony Orchestra and then when a little older (Americans, you may not have a clue who this band are) - Bros. Yes. At the Bournemouth International Centre. I was crazy excited and screamed a lot. After that it was Take That. They were beyond a phenomenon in this country for teenagers. I still have the programme.
8. Ultimate Concert
It is possibly not a concert but I would love to see the Opera in Verona - Verdi. A little different from my earlier musical tastes above hahah!
Shan has prompted me in her TBB link up post to P.S include this:
I would love one day to return here (I was last here in 1998 watching Lynard Skynard) - not specifically for them, as I didn't quite know who they were, but after a year in Texas I was a true Country convert. I love Chris Stapleton - Tennessee Whiskey is perhaps my fave Spotify play, love Luke Bryan as well.
I'd love to see Chris Stapleton in Tennessee!
I wish too that some of the old dance hall venues were still open in College Station Texas - Shadow Canyon, Texas hall of Fame - I had some of the BEST nights two stepping there.
9. Favourite music, band, artist
No idea now, but I've loved listening to vintage Americana Christmas music this passed month - Bing Crosby et al. I love some country artists, I love classical, opera, early Jazz (Billie Holiday). I dislike most modern music. I listen to radio 4 a lot. I am so middle aged.
10. How do you listen?
I got into Spotify last year but don't pay for membership. They have started to drive me crazy with adds and constant cajoling to try and make me upgrade it makes me what to delete the app. I am fancying buying a record player and getting into vinyl. My parents have a great system from the 80s we got in London. They also have various gramophones, which is a step too far, even for me! Do fancy going scratchy old school though. Maybe that will be a secret goal for 2019.
I would love to hear all of your answers to the questions above!
Also linking up with Narci et al: