Some things I’ve been in to this week (after a bit of a gap, sorry!):
An article: Iraq has understandably been in the news a lot lately, and the BBC Magazine did an interesting article about who the Yazidis are, a group that probably most of us hadn’t heard of until the rise of ISIS and their persecution of this minority group within Iraq.
A TED talk: This is one of my favourite TED talks and one that I keep re-watching. It’s by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and it talks about the dangers of only hearing one story about a country or a culture, and the benefits of hearing different voices. It’s thought-provoking and challenging and yet also heart-warming. It prompted me to read her novel Half of a Yellow Sun, and also look out for other novels from writers whose perspective is different from my own:
A TV series (or four): I’d normally mention one or perhaps two TV series that are on that I love, but over the last few weeks there’s been several that I’ve loved so here’s the lot and they’re all very different: Railways of the Great War with Michael Portillo is a fascinating series about the way the railways were so crucial to the First World War in a way that they hadn’t been to any previous wars. The series is available on iPlayer for another four days (or 30 days if you download it). Suspects on Channel 5 is now in to its second series but both the current and first series are still on the Channel 5 website and I’ve been hooked thanks to its fly on the wall style of filming with only a detailed plot to guide the cast but no script. There’s been a lot of hype about The Honourable Woman on BBC Two and although I’d seen the adverts and liked the look of it I only started to watch it this last week, and it really is very good. Dramatic, topical and a programme that really makes you wonder what’s coming next. And fnally a series that was shown nearly a year ago but is being re-shown on Channel 5 is The Railway: First Great Western, which is another fly-on-the-wall series showing the day to day of working for a train company and the challenges faced. I suppose this had particular appeal to me as I once worked for a train company and so recognise a lot of it, but it gives a really good view of how interesting yet at times difficult the job is.
A photographer: I can’t remember how I discovered Lauren Marsolier but it was through reading a website fairly recently, and straight away the photos drew me in. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes but they’re very much reminiscent of the New Topographics and show the mundane in a dramatic fashion. I just love the drama and the way the ordinary is made both artistic and the centre of attention.