I wasn’t going to do one of these this week, but I have things to recommend! They are brilliant! Come and see.
It’s almost impossible for us to realise, now, what an earth-shattering, morally tortuous moment it was when Charles Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species’. Everything by which society ran, its reason for being, was called into question. This interesting film attempts to show Darwin’s agonies and the repercussions that affected his family as he wrote the book. Paul Bettany is the sideburned, white-faced naturalist, with Jennifer Connolly his devoutly Christian wife. I thought the film sidestepped the most interesting and thorny scenes of Darwin in society, in favour of a smaller look at his home life (and there are some hammy ghost story elements that should’ve been left out). But there are some lovely nature sequences, and frankly I would watch Paul Bettany painting a wall and watching it dry: he adds dignity to anything he’s in. Except, perhaps, The Da Vinci Code. Nothing could save that.
listen: The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions featuring Seu Jorge
You know that late-evening space when the kids have gone to bed and the washing up is done and you’re too tired even to think? Put this on. It’s a collection of Portuguese-language David Bowie covers, and is the soundtrack to the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Slowed down, to the accompaniment of a guitar, they are soothing and beautiful. ‘Life on Mars’ is my absolute favourite. Perfect backdrop for your late-night slump.
read: Watching the English, Kate Fox
This is my favourite kind of anthropology: observations about, not a distant Amazonian tribe in decorative codpieces, but your own people. Reading Kate Fox helped me understand why we spend forever saying goodbye, why queue-jumping is the biggest taboo there is, what the differences are between the lower-middle and middle-middle classes, and why our self-deflating sense of humour is essential to the way we view ourselves. Entertaining, absorbing and highly embarrassing if you’re English, instructive and enlightening if you’re not.
Right, on with Saturday. It is a day of fiddly things, but we’re going to try and get out somewhere nice for a picnic later. September sun is not to be sniffed at.