Liking and learning this week: Simon, Suez and Cynthia Lennon
So it's Grand National Day and although, sadly, I'm not at Aintree in a big hat (maybe next year) at least I've had a good week of it in books and telly (and it was actually sunny enough for a day in New Brighton on Monday, shock horror). Lately I've been reading bits and pieces of books, watching snippets of programmes I'm not all that interested in and generally have spent more of my downtime messing about on my laptop than actually sticking at anything. (Don't ask about the writing. Nothing's happening on that front either.) But this week I discovered that I might like biographies, I was gripped by a great, new (to me) drama and went to see a film that was a bit different and sort of groundbreaking. So I thought that was something to blog about.
John by Cynthia Lennon
I'm reading a biography about John Lennon that I picked up at work, written by his first wife, Cynthia. She's the one who was kept under wraps, for fear that having a wife and baby would damage John's image and career in the early days of the Beatles. I don't read a lot of biographies and the 'fab four' are so much a part of the backdrop of Merseyside that previously I tended to avoid them like the plague. However, since working in a Beatles themed cafe last year (which you'd think would put me off altogether) they've started to get to me. Anyway, it's a very readable book. If you put John Lennon on a pedestal you might not want to read it and be disillusioned, but I'd say the author goes very easy on him and she doesn't seem bitter. God knows I would be. It seems like an honest portrayal of the man, by a woman who loved him a lot. And it's really interesting.
I went to see Love, Simon with some people from work and I thought it was really great. It must be so nice for gay people to get a proper teen rom-com with a likeable, attractive, gay protagonist who isn't the butt of the joke and who doesn't have to be sassy or cutting or any other sort of stereotype (although there is side a character like that.) Anyway, I thought the cast were great, particularly Jennifer Garner as Simon's mum, and the 'who is Blue' story-line kept me guessing right up until the end - while the conclusion still felt right. It was fun and it made me a bit teary at one point too. Although, some of the second half was ruined by how angry Simon's friends made me at one stage. And Simon's attempt at a John Lennon/Scouse accent really was pitiful. Like Dick-van-Dyke level bad.
I'd heard good things about The Hour in the past and so picked it up from work last week on a whim. It's a BBC drama from a few years ago, written by Abi Morgan (Suffragette) and starring Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw and Dominic West (among a cast that is full of recognisable and starry faces) about a 1950's BBC newsroom. It's really good. It's had my whole family gripped and we've been watching an episode or two a night to savour it properly. The acting and writing is a really high standard (although sometimes the whole spy plot-line is a bit far-fetched) and the clothes are good too. I can just tell it's going to finish on a cliffhanger though - there's a second series but they never got a third. It's going to be so frustrating.
What have you been reading/watching lately?