I’ve listened to U Kill Me , the title track from the new Flight Brigade EP, I-can’t-tell-you-how-many-times and I’m still no more able to describe it than I was at first listen. It’s got Flight Brigade’s folk-rock bones, their exquisite knack for melody and their trademark layer of strings. But in U Kill Me, the band reaches a whole new level entirely – it’s haunting, like Housefire, but it’s got swagger, and danger, and something unknowable that creeps under the skin and makes you want to listen again and again. And the chorus: “even though you kill me, I’ve gotta see you” – well, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?
I haven’t yet read the book, but I’m so enjoying Love, Nina (BBC1, Friday, 9.30pm). Set in the 80s, Leicester girl Nina moves to London to work as a nanny for the editor of the London Review of Books. It’s warm and funny with some killer lines (Nina notes that boy-next-door Nunney has “university hair”), and the always-magnificent Helena Bonham-Carter steals every scene she’s in. The last episode airs next week, so get your skates on.
There are two reasons a couple of five years will sit in silence when they’re out to dinner – one: they’re in the middle of a terrible argument, or two: the food is so good that talking simply interferes with it. Happily, our anniversary dinner at Bravas in Bristol fell into the latter category. Yes, I’ve mentioned Bravas before, but I’m doing it again because it really is that good. It’s within spitting distance of Clifton Down station, so if you find yourself in Bristol, I can’t urge you hard enough to go and have dinner there. DB and I learnt from our first visit that one plate of aubergine fries wasn’t going to be enough, so ordered a portion each this time (chip shops need to get on this, asap), and shared small dishes of chorizo cooked in cider, pork that was juicy and crisp in all the right places, and a refreshing salad of green lentils and asparagus. Dinner and drinks for two came to just shy of £40, so it’s a bit of a bargain, too.
“Do you want to see a film about female empowerment?” DB asked me as we sat in the sunshine in the centre of Bristol, trying to decide how to spend our afternoon. Reader, I nearly married him on the spot. But instead of hurtling off the the nearest registry office for a spot of hasty afternoon matrimony, we went to Bristol’s Watershed to see Mustang, a heartbreaking but also quite beautiful Turkish film about five sisters, their arranged marriages, and the horrors of trying to grow up in a society where women are still seen as the property of men. Phew, it was an emotional one. But not without its uplifting moments – largely thanks to youngest girl Lale, and the combination of sheer guts and girlishness that leads her to befriending a local delivery man, insisting he teach her to drive, so she can maybe, at long last, make her escape. Man, I bawled. It was a good job Watershed were hosting a free gin tasting straight afterwards, let me tell you. I’d still recommend seven bells out of the film, though; just take tissues.
I’d been properly excited about reading Not Working
– all the writers I love had been going on about it – and when I finally got hold of a copy, I stormed through it in a couple of 2-hour train journeys. Owens has an incredibly knack for witty observation and I’m quite worried that she may have based Claire on me, what with the procrastination and the wild, unspecific ambitions and the tendency to pick stupid fights with an endlessly-supportive boyfriend.
I mentioned All Day Long: A Portrait of Britain At Work in the last blog post (the reaction to which I’m still so surprised by, and grateful for, so thanks again to everyone who contributed their thoughts and recommended books to me) but have since read the whole thing – and it’s one of those books I wish I’d written. As well as simply being incredibly interesting and readable, it’s laced with real hints of anger at the way society treats the not-so-well-off of the working world: interns, low-paid workers, the unemployed. And it’s anger that’s both entirely justified and beautifully expressed.
Somewhere on my ludicrously long and ever-increading ‘books to be read’ list is Mad Girl, the new one from Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon. Mad Girl details Gordon’s battle with OCD – proper, horrible OCD, not just preferring to have the contents of your cupboards arranged in size order – and is her rallying cry to get us talking about mental health more openly and honestly. In this interview with The Pool’s Sam Baker, Bryony discusses the book and what made her write it (it’s quite an emotional one and I made the mistake of watching it while I was hungover. And I’m properly maudlin when I’m hungover).
Over and out.