onsdag 14 januari 2015

New Year's resolutions

I don't hold with New Year's resolutions generally. Isn't life difficult enough sometimes without adding unnecessary pressure? Still, when I look back on 2014, I admit it was a year where I played it incredibly safe where books, TV and films (were there any cinema outings at all? I think Frozen was it) were concerned. This had some effect on my blogging as well. True, most weeks when I didn't blog it was because I was too busy/tired from work/lazy (2014 was a tough working year), but I used the excuse "I've got nothing to write about this week, anyway" fairly frequently. So maybe it will help if I set myself some culture-consumption goals which can later be converted into blog posts. If I write them down, they'll be less easy to escape.

This year, I will try to do the following:

Test-watch at least one of the following series: The Wire or Mad Men. "I'm not sure it's the sort of thing you'll like", a friend informed me kindly when I proudly proclaimed that I'd bought the first series of The Wire. Even she, a much more ambitious TV viewer than myself, found it a little on the dark side. But it has been described as "Dickensian", and anyway, what's the alternative? I have to watch at least one of the series that everyone is praising, and the others - well - they sound awful. And the worst thing is, you've a feeling that they're meant to sound awful. Their pitch is a feel-bad one, and I'm not interested in that kind of pitch, thank you. I don't watch TV in order to be able to brag about how depressed but aware of this world's miseries I felt afterwards. The Wire's got cops, it's got robbers, and besides I've bought it now. It will have to do.

As for Mad Men, it's got mixed reviews from my closest circle, but once again I did buy the first series for testing. It can't stand gathering dust forever. Actually I did watch the first episode once on TV ages ago and wasn't that impressed - it seemed like one of those dramas which point a finger at the Fifties or Sixties and shudder "weren't they horrible? And it wasn't that long ago!" Nowadays, the Fifties and Sixties are almost depicted as more strange from our modern perspective than Victorian times or the Roaring Twenties. However, Mad Men is a costume drama of sorts, and I should give it another chance: few series are at their best in the first episode. I hope I don't fall for Don Draper, though - that would be too mainstream.

Read or try to read at least one of the following books: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt or White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I do own all three of them. Alias Grace is a historical novel, plus I would then have read something by Margaret Atwood; The Goldfinch features a cameo from Foxy Francis, apparently, and I did like The Secret History although I thought it terribly sad; and White Teeth, well... I've read some articles by Zadie Smith, and they were well-written enough to make me curious. With hindsight, On Beauty would probably have been the place to start in my case, but there's something to be said about starting from the beginning, and the book was a bargain.

N.B. If I start reading one of these books and find I don't like it at all, I'm allowed not to finish it.

Finish watching The White Queen: Honestly, I can't give up after nine episodes. Besides, there can't be much more to go now. But I do wish it could be a little less solemn.

Go to the cinema at least once, perhaps to watch Cinderella with Lily James, Sophie McShera and some others. Well, I have to have one resolution I'll definitely be able to hold to, don't I?