Consume what I consume
The Guardian’s Daily Quick crossword: I’m shit at crosswords, but it’s fun to load up a wee crossword at work to help distract and focus your mind. It’s got a handy check feature, so you can find out if your guessed answers are even kind of close to the actual answer. If you get stuck, you can reveal individual answers or whatever remains blank on the board. Just remember that any words you reveal will help build a better foundation for the next day. Also, the comments below are quite cute.
It’s free to play and works in your browser, but you know that The Guardian is going to want you to start sending them your hard-earned ££
QAnon Anonymous: A look at the far-right QAnon conspiracy and how it links to other bizarre conspiracies and events, such as Pizzagate, UFOs and flat-earth. If you can distract yourself from the fact that some people believe that someone can make sense of Donald Trump’s tweets and interpret them as attacks on the US deep state (can you tell I’ve listened to a lot of episodes in a short period of time), it’s a funny and informative show.
Clear + Vivid with Alan Alda: The actor and student of communication speaks to guests about their experiences involving communication and how they use their skills in everyday life. Guests range from Judge Judy (who is an absolute boss), evil head of the First Order Adam Driver and Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor from the excellent Ear Hustle podcast. The conversations are illuminating and often I’ve come away from an episode with a few good points to think about. The adverts are humming, however.
Darknet Diaries: I’m not a very technical person, but the stories told in Darknet Diaries are fascinating! Recent episodes include interviews with the group behind the Xbox 360 hack, the use and impact of ransomware and how physical penetration testers go into offices and see what they can get away with.
Some of the episodes are more exciting than others, but it’s an interesting flip from podcasts like Reply All (also very good) by focusing on some of the more hidden aspects of the web.
Berlin by Antony Beevor: I feel like I’ve been reading Berlin for about two months now, and that’s not because it’s an unpleasant read but because it’s so packed with information and vignettes and I want them to properly sink in before I move on. At times, in fact throughout the whole book, the story of the fall of Berlin is a harrowing tale, with many despicable actions on all sides. Essentially, war is shite. I’ve not read any of his books before, but I’ll definitely pick up Stalingrad once my backlog is in order.
Stath Lets Flats: Very funny, very silly and series two has only just started. The show is available to catch up on All4 (unless you have a Huawei phone like me) and it’s on Mondays at 10pm.
Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing: Honestly, one of the best shows on the BBC right now. Two old comedians head out into the British countryside to try to catch some fish and educate their audience about heart disease.
But wait; it’s also funny! In fact, it’s hilarious; the gentle premise and pleasant surroundings are the perfect place for Bob and Paul’s light bickering and reminisces. It’s very close to perfect TV. Available on iPlayer and regular telly on a Thursday night.
To Each His Own, E.B. The Younger: Ali and I saw E.B. earlier this year and his debut album has been on regular repeat since. Standout tracks include Used to Be, Don’t Forget Me and Out of the Woods. He used to be (maybe still is?) in Midlake and while some of the music is a little reminiscent of their style, it’s got plenty of unique charm to make it distinct.
i,i, Bon Iver: The last Bon Iver album really wasn’t my cup of tea, but the new one is pretty cracking. Hard to recommend tracks as the album is very much a sum of its parts, but it’s less than 40 minutes, so just stick it on and make up your own mind.
Diviner, Hayden Thorpe: What an album! Pulls together what made Wild Beasts (Thorpe’s last band) brilliant and adds an ethereal, almost mystical, element to the tracks that just pushes it beyond many other solo debut albums. Every track is magic, but Diviner, Stop Motion, In My Name and Impossible Object will give you a good taste. A melodious mouthful.