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w/e 2023-07-16

The past couple of weeks I’ve been enjoying the self-titled album by the lower-cased-named caroline:

§ My sister was visiting this week so we’d planned to have the week as a bit of a holiday, more so than usual. Which we did, but the daily rain put paid to most plans that involved outdoors and not being soggy.

We had a day trip to Abergavenny, which has a new small-but-perfectly-formed bookshop.

We also went to Hay-on-Wye, always a good place to potter around, although I didn’t come away with any books. I have several lists of books I’m interested in, noted down from reviews, mentions and recommendations over the years, which is what I look for when browsing second-hand bookshops. But even somewhere like Hay – packed with the places – the chance of me finding even one of those books among the millions seems too small to bother sometimes.

I could, of course, buy any book I want online, second-hand or new, but the browsing and hunting is the pleasure. At least, it often is. After hours of it with no success, I was less sure.

Another weird bit of book brain: in Bristol I was pleased to find The Parable of the Sower – several copies – in a remainder bookshop where everything was £4. But in Hay, in one shop that supplemented its second-hand science fiction selection with stacks of new books, there was no way I was going to buy one of the many copies of The Parable of the Talents for £4.95. I was there to buy second-hand books and plucking one from a row of identical new books made it too easy!

So I bought nothing.

§ We watched Bridge of Spies on telly this week, which I’d been meaning to watch since walking past that bridge in Berlin years ago. It was good (the movie, although the bridge is perfectly fine too). While watching I couldn’t remember if it was by Spielberg but had it confirmed in the closing seconds when he really hammered home the “We’re lucky to live in the USA” message. Ah yes, must be Spielberg, I thought correctly.

§ We also watched the first and currently only season of Shrinking. That was fun. It felt slightly aimless, and part-way through I was a bit, “this is nice enough but… what’s the point of it?” I wasn’t happier when the point seemed to be, “juice up the sentimentality with super sad music,” but I’m being much too critical and it was mostly very nice fun. Jason Siegel and Jessica Williams were especially good.

OK, one more little weird criticism – it seemed really odd that this small group of colleagues, neighbours, a patient, and an old friend only knew each other and almost no-one else. They never spent time with anyone else at all. What an odd, insular bunch. Then one of them would have a party and all these Supporting Artist Friends appeared from nowhere.

Anyway, no, it’s good, and I’ll pick holes in anything.

§ That’s all. Have a good week, critical critics.

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