It feels as though it’s been a busy week with everything going on at work. It’s nothing too major but my boss isn’t making working from home any easier. Getting everyone to stop for updates every 5 minutes for updates really doesn’t help anything get done. But never mind. The positive thing about working from home is that as soon as the day is done, I’m done. No more commuting. I know that my journey home isn’t exactly long but it’s a lot longer than simply walking upstairs. It does make it a whole lot easier to signoff and destress at the end of the day.
It’s been a really long time since I last posted a Friday Favourites list. To be honest, the series was getting tough and I was bored with it. I couldn’t think of interesting ideas and it was taking me too long to write them. So, I decided to scrap it. I was intending to come up with something different to post but it never happened. In light of the recent protests surrounding race discrimination, I decided to bring it back to life once again. I know that I don’t have a particularly big platform or that I have the ability to influence someone’s decisions. However, I have been lucky enough to be born with a privilege that many people don’t have. I have a voice and I need to use it. Last week, I posted a few suggestions for ways people could learn more about the things that the Black Lives Matter movement is marching for. To learn more about the systemic racism that exists in our society. It should not be up to black people to tell us what to do or how to do it. They’ve been doing the work for us for too long. So, I did something. I wanted to know what I had missed and what I needed to know. And, to help people in the same boat, I thought I’d share it. Hopefully, it can give other people some ideas.
Over the last few days, we’ve seen a few films being made free to stream in the US. These included Selma and Just Mercy. Both films should help educate people about the role of race in their society. It’s a great thing to do because there will be plenty of people who won’t have previously had access to them. Of course, Hollywood films that depict the difficulties faced by black people in America are all well and good but it’s facts that are needed in this fight. Which is why Netflix’s decision to make Ava DuVarney’s documentary 13th free to non-subscribers is so important. There’s a reason that it has appeared on so many lists of ways you can educate yourself. It’s a great place to start if you’re the type who is unconvinced by the idea that society has been engineered to make black lives difficult. If you go in with an open mind, it’ll definitely have the power to shock you.
I, like so many people in the last few weeks, have added a lot of anti-racist books to my reading list. The majority of them were the sort of books that I should have read a long time ago but I’m really bad at reading non-fiction. Not just political or social non-fiction. There’s something about non-fiction that makes it seem so intense. It’s not the kind of reading that I think really works when you’re struggling to stay away. But, in the wake of yet another death at the hands of an American police officer, I knew that I had to do better. At the same time, I’d joined forces with some people I knew on Instagram to try and start a conversation about racism. We decided that we would all read this book and then talk about it as a group and with our followers. I know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a lot but it’s all about making positive steps right now. Ideally, I’d be out showing my support but I can’t. So, I’ll use what small platform that I have to help spread a positive message. To help share other people’s stories. Starting with Reni Eddo-Lodge.
Last week, I posted a short video to Instagram that featured a few ideas for films, documentaries, and television shows that people could watch to champion black voices. When it comes to the films that I review on this blog, I don’t tend to put too much thought into what I’m watching. It’s either whatever I fancy watching or whatever I can access at the time. I’ve never really looked at the diversity in my film choices in the same way that I do with my book choices. I make an effort to read a wider range of authors and stories every year, so why don’t I do the same with films? Why do I not do more to listen and pay attention to black voices and stories? Why do I not think more about who is directing and writing the films that I watch? All I care about is the story. It’s the very thing I get angry about whenever anyone speaks out against Oscars So White criticism. It’s something I need to work on and there’s no better time than now. Starting with one of the documentaries that I suggested on my Instagram post.
It feels like ages since I last posted something on here. Given how everything has gone in the last week or so, I’m glad that I made the decision to stop posting here. It would have felt weird trying to act as if everything is normal when so many people are fighting for their basic human rights. I’ve always considered myself to be anti-racist but I’ve realised that I’ve been doing the bare minimum. So, I’ve taken the last few days to think about who I am and what I can do to help. That includes reading and learning as much as I can. Meaning my June wrap-up may have a bit of a theme to it. For now, one week late, it’s time to look back on my last month.
Just a quick one this week. I’ve got a busy few days ahead. I’ve got a big work-related project on and it’s taking my time away from me. Which is why I’ve decided to take a week off blogging. I just need a break. But, don’t fear, there’s a big chance that I’m going to be furloughed as of next week. That means I’ll have more time to write nonsense for you to read. I might even get a few more things read. Won’t that be a novel experience. It’s not set in stone though. I find out on Tuesday. Still, I thought they were going to sack me so being furloughed is a welcome shock. I mean they might still fire me but at least not in the middle of a pandemic when I can’t leave the house to find a new job.
After watching the lovely but quite sad Ordinary Love for my Tuesday Review this week, I wanted to find something a bit sillier for my Throwback Thursday Review. After all, we’re living in quite a challenging time, so it’s important to find something to laugh about. I recently watched Horrible Histories: The Movie and it was pretty good. I know that I’m way too old for the television show at this point but I think it’s genius. I know that I read the books when I was younger but I’m not sure I ever truly appreciated them. If only the show had been around when I was a kid. I grew up loving history but I was always a little out of my depth academically. Although, if there’s one thing I do know, it’s literary history. So, of course, I appreciated the fact that the people behind Horrible Histories have also made a film about one of literature’s biggest figures. I never watched Bill when it came out. Maybe it was time?
I’ll be honest, I needed a quick read again this week. I wasted most of the bank holiday and only had one day to finish a whole book. So, I went to my bookshelves to find the shortest book possible. It’s not my favourite method for picking which book I read next but, sometimes, you have to just get something done. I bought this book back in March because it sounded really silly. We’ve had horror versions of classics in the past so why not drag queen versions? And a drag version of Dracula had the potential to be an amazing thing.
In December 2019, I listened to an episode of Mark Kermode’s podcast where he was talking to Lesley Manville and Edgar Wright. I’ll admit, I was mostly listening because of Edgar Wright but I’ll never be upset to hear from Lesley Manville. She’s an amazing actor and generally just seems wonderful. She was talking about the release of her new film and it sounded amazing. Terribly sad, obviously, but amazing. In her interview, Mandville told Mark Kermode that the film embraced the humour within the story and brought the humanity to the fore. I never got around to watching it when it came out but I was always interested in seeing it. It’s probably not the most uplifting thing to be watching during the Coronavirus pandemic but Lesley Manville promised that it wouldn’t be all doom and gloom. I feel like I can trust her.