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While we’re all stuck at home, hankering for ideas to keep busy and occupied, there’s nothing like a good recommendation. Each week, we’ll be asking some of our Fed Square fam for their top picks for what their reading, listen to and watching to keep busy and stay sane. Enjoy!
September 21: The sartorial, the satirical and the power of words
Jessica Lehmann, NGV Conservation Project Officer
I have been reading books at an intense rate and immersing myself with colour and simple pleasures. I recently read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig which was a tap on the shoulder that expectations are a farce and I just started reading What Artists Wear by Charlie Porter, which is a reminder that the body is a human canvas – expressing who you are is fun and even when confined to home, it is good to experiment with creativity. I’ve been watching Search Party on Stan – a dark comedy that hits close to home on the satirical digs, but for a beautiful watch I would recommend the film Ammonite. Oh, how I long for being wrapped in a shawl, wistfully looking out to sea. For your ears, the album Collapsed in Sunbeams by Arlo Parks has lyrics that really speak to you.
This week we asked DJ (David Johnston), our Digital Marketing Specialist what he recommends:
Reading – “I’ve been reading a science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson called Seveneves. It’s about humanity trying to survive the destruction of the moon. It’s quite intense with some difficult aerospace engineering concepts to get your head around but it’s really engaging!”
Watching – “My wife and I have been watching lots of bits and pieces at the moment, but our main streaming shows right now are The Wire (which is an absolute classic and kicked off the golden age of TV), The White Lotus, Nine Perfect Strangers and Bob’s Burgers – which is my absolute favourite cartoon of all time.”
Listening – “Rather than looking at my phone and scrolling social media before I go to sleep, I have been trying to listen to an album each evening. Recently I listened to Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, Axis: Bold As Love by Jimi Hendrix, and Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish. Outside of listening to an album before bed I can’t get enough of Lorna Shore’s new EP, And I Return To Nothingness (To The Hellfire has some of the heaviest vocals I’ve ever heard in my life), and also Lamb of God are a constant go-to for me.”
For this week’s Top Recos, we reached out to Kim McGeachin, Fed Square’s Senior Events Coordinator, and asked her what she’s been watching/reading/listening to keep busy at home. Kim is also building a tiny house, so she’s busy! She says:
Reading – “I’ve dived deep into the magical yet strange world of Haruki Murakami’s Novels and am currently halfway through The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It’s a wonderful distraction from reality yet still tangible and believable enough to keep you wanting more. A great read!”
Listening – “Who doesn’t love a good podcast? I binge-listened The Witness: In His Own Words, a real-life recap of an Irish man named Joe who is in witness protection after witnessing a murder when he was younger. It is a fascinating glimpse into life in a crime-ravished Dublin and while it’s predominantly just Joe speaking, the intricate description of characters and events is mesmerising.”
Watching – “There’s nothing like a good crime series to keep you entertained in lockdown! I’ve revisited Broadchurch, a crime drama featuring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. Set in the wintery landscape of Scotland it’s keeping me hooked with each episode.”
Nick Umek, NGV Photographer says: “I have a big workshop at home, so I unwind and keep myself busy in lockdown working on mechanical projects with my dog Honey by my side. I’ve just finished restoring a motorcycle I’ll be racing in the Australian Vintage Motorcross Titles once restrictions ease. The bike is an original Spanish made Bultaco from 1974, the model is called a Pursang and it’s 360cc.”
Laura Knight, NGV Senior Events Coordinator, has these recommendations: “This lockdown, I am project baking my way through the Beatrix Bakes cookbook (can now make a vanilla slice from scratch, an important life skill). While also spending my time window shopping houses online to check out the owners’ interior decorating skills and regretting my choice of watching He’s All That on Netflix – don’t!”
From ACMI’s Film Curator Reece Goodwin: “I’d like to recommend Australia Daze. This new digital restoration actually premiered on the Fed Square digital facade in January of this year and is exclusive to Cinema 3. It’s funny, sad, shocking – and it got 5 stars from David AND Margaret. You can check it out on ACMI’s Cinema 3.”
Ela Rutherford, Fed Square’s Programming Coordinator says: “When I’m not reading The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood (a definite reco if you’re into Dolly Alderton), I’ve been jumping between Queen of The South and Grey’s Anatomy. Totally different vibes, but they all fit my different lockdown moods. Switching off on Sundays has also been my saviour.”
Fred, Fed Square’s seagull mascot has given us a few hot tips too: “I like to watch myself on the Fed Square Big Screen and scroll through Twitter to see if anyone’s posted a pic of me sending out important public health messages. It makes me feel validated and useful. Apart from that, I’ve discovered a spot on the top of Transport hotel where Fifi and I like to enjoy the sunsets together as we preen each other. It’s very romantic.”
Luke Matsopoulos, one of our Fed Square event coordinators, sent us this: “This is one of my go-to playlists. Old Mint Nuts has been handcrafted over a number of years. It’s ridiculously good and has been shaped for all occasions. Thank me later.”
Anaya Latter, ACMI’s Brand Manager, says: “I’ve been getting deep into escapism and couch-bound travels. Watching 70s Bollywood films on Prime, Korean Dramas like Crash Landing on You or Itaewon Class on Netflix. If you love a dose of reality TV I strongly recommend My Unorthodox Life – a fascinating story of a self-made fashion mogul Julia Haart who reinvented herself at age 43 after a life in Jewish Orthodoxy.”
Gemma Jones, Public Programs Coordinator from Koorie Heritage Trust says: “This lockdown I’ve been travelling very gently. I’m reading Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai by Nina Mingya Powles – which is utterly, tender and nostalgic and taps into my heritage and longing for travel and my grandparent’s cooking. I’ve been listening to Frank O’Hara poetry on You Tube and a wonderful You Tube playlist by Guy Blackman of 60’s covers of The Zombies. I also recently watched the Poly Styrene doco via MIFF Play – 100% punk but also so very tender.