Five things I’ve enjoyed this week…
TV: Quiz (ITV)
It’s not often I watch anything on ITV because, as a rule, it’s all shit. They have come up trumps with Quiz however, as a starry cast bring a quintessentially British story to life. Michael Sheen, Matthew Macfayden, Sian Clifford and Mark Bonnar is a cast that any network would be proud of, and based on the first episode they have not been wasted on this lighthearted but exhaustive portrayal of national scandal. Top class television.
Album: The Strokes – The New Abnormal
I’m not gonna lie, this wasn’t initially an album that I was too excited by given that The Strokes last two albums have been disappointing. The New Abnormal is different. A 45 minute reminder of why the New York band were once the most exciting in the world, this sixth album snaps and snarls across nine summer ready tracks. The band, particularly lead singer Julian Casablancas, sound more focused than they have in years, and crucially, it feels like they don’t hate each other. This is the sound of a band finally having fun again. An essential record.
Podcast: Malcolm Gladwell on The Adam Buxton Podcast
This podcast came at a good time for me having recently read Gladwell’s controversial bestseller The Tipping Point. This hour long ramble is both fascinating and welcome at a time when any distraction is welcome. Buxton cements his reputation as the king of the UK podcast scene with another insightful and gripping interview that covers all of Gladwell’s major works. The various Louis Theroux episodes are probably the best starting point for the uninitiated, but this latest addition to the Buxton oeuvre is a classy one.
Article: Bob Dylan’s 50 Greatest Songs (The Guardian)
Dylan was one of my first great musical loves but it’s been a while since I returned to his discography. This list of his 50 greatest songs from the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis is a loving and comprehensive reflection on a body of work that changed music forever. Scanning decades and various albums, Petridis rises to the challenge of what must have been a thankless task to narrow Dylan’s astonishing output down to a mere 50 songs. There are plenty on this list, particularly from Dylan’s later records, that were new to me, and listening to them all together on a Spotify playlist was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one that brought home just how much of a genius Dylan is.
Film: Ford vs Ferrari
Full review to follow on this one, but I can confirm that Ford vs Ferrari is to car racing what Rocky was to boxing. Finding Matt Damon and Christian Bale at the very top of their game, and featuring a starry supporting cast, James Mangold’s instant classic transcends its subject matter to become a film that can be enjoyed by anyone. 1917 was a fantastic work, but this would have been my choice for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. While not currently available on any streaming sites, James Mangold’s film is worth seeking out elsewhere.