Reading, watching, listening

Easter 5 – Tuesday


GQ’s May 2010 issue is hilarious. The article on p.60 re: the “man-date” (i.e. two guys who are good friends meeting up for a beer, meal and to chat) is getting to be true for me. Despite me not being attached to anyone. Is it just a little bit gay? Not really. If you say that, I will punch you out. In the face. Y’hear fool? And the story on hi-fi components (pages 122-127) is drool-worthy for me.

Monocle May 2010: The Hong Kong survey looks like top reading (like the previous Rio De Janeiro, Spain, Liguria and Seoul surveys). The men’s and women’s fashion spreads are simply gorgeous. Beautifully shot. The story on Eritrea, Africa’s slightly more 0pen version of North Korea is compelling enough for a political and cultural news junkie like me. And the Design Directory 2010/11 is thirty-two pages of design porn. Really. *almost has an orgasm* (Bet y’all weren’t expecting me to use those two words on here)

Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World: I am a bit of a philosophy nut and this novel is a mixture of two of my favorite things – philosophy and literature. Gaarder has a way with making the philosophical idealogies of the past vivid and relevant to today’s world and the translation by Paulette Møller into English from the original Norwegian is wonderfully done. Recommended.

Anthony Storr’s Solitude: A Return to the Self: Is the need for personal relationships being the only key to happiness a recent invention? Or have we all forgotten what being alone is all about? Anthony Storr, the eminent British psychiatrist (d. 2001), argues that relationships have their place but that solitude has a necessary, and even a central, place in our lives that modern thinking has displaced it from. For introverts like myself, reading this should be a mandatory part in coming to grips with our ineptitude in large crowds/groups. As Keith Brace from the Birmingham Post puts it on the blurb at the back of the book:

This is an important, even revolutionary book. If it saves naturally non-sociable people from anxiety about “not belonging” and enables them to comes to terms with their solitude it will have done a notable human service.

Abraham Cohen’s Everyman’s Talmud: The Major Teachings of the Rabbinic Sages: The Talmud is something that every Christian should know about given Christianity’s Jewish roots. At the time of Christ, rabbinic teaching hadn’t been codified in writing fully however, the Talmud is something that should be consulted when trying to understand how our Jewish brethren interpreted the Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. the Old Testament). I’ve read everywhere that this is one of the best introductions to the Talmud that a layperson can get stuck into so this should be interesting to chew on mentally. Along with George Robinson’s Essential Judaism (which looks at Judaism from a Reform Jewish perspective).

Routledge’s Colloquial Swedish self-study kit along with Transparent Language’s Swedish software. It’s been tough going so far, but I’m getting through it slowly. Am finding learning Swedish easier than learning Chinese. Must be all the latin characters rather than ideograms that are partially facilitating this. I’m such a banana.

And lastly, the final report for the Henry Tax Review. Interesting read from what I have seen so far. I can’t see many of the recommendations being implemented though in the near future. Might be political seppuku to do so.


Lonely Planet/Globe Trekker/Pilot Guides episodes. The next best thing to getting onto a plane and going overseas. Or just watching Discovery Travel + Living.

Episodes of Stargate Universe (SGU). The first half of season 1 was fairly limpid in pace, but the second half is picking up very nicely indeed. Besides Alaina Huffman (who plays Tamara Johansen, or “T.J.”) is hot. She’s the new Amanda Tapping for SGU.

Johan Brisinger’s Suddenly (Underbara älskade): The story looks dark. But there’s redemption and hope at the end of it. The blurb on the back of the DVD case looks interesting. And this will be different seeing Mikael Nyqvist in this (and the next film below) given that my only real glimpse of his acting has been in the Swedish-language film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy.

Kay Pollak’s As It Is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen): This is another touching story. It involves music, a church choir, broken screwed-up people who find redemption of sorts in the end.


I never thought that I would take to podcasts much when I first got the 120GB iPod classic last year. Now one cannot stop me. I have three main ones on my listening list:

  • GodPod: From St. Paul’s Theological Centre in London. You can guess what this one is all about. Theology and how it fits into the world around us.
  • Swedish Radio International – Radio Sweden: Some news from Sweden along with commentary from the state broadcaster about my favorite Scandinavian country.
  • The Monocle Weekly: My favorite periodical has its weekly podcast hosted by its Editor-in-Chief (Tyler Brule), Editor (Andrew Tuck) and Culture Editor (Rob Bound) along with varied guest speakers dealing with primarily European and North American issues. The Culture section is always fun to listen to and I can’t wait for a new version of the Summer Series and Winter Series for 2010/2011. Their films (look for “Monocle” as a video podcast in the iTunes podcast library) are also well worth watching. Who says that I need to go to Milan for the Furniture Fair or Geneva for the Car Show or Basel for the Watch Fair when they do all the hard work for me.

Garrison Keillor’s “The News From Lake Wobegon” (one the American Public Media podcasts) is also something I listen to every now and again. There’s something about his humor that I find strangely appealing and quite funny.

Salem Al Fakir – This Is Who I Am: Salem’s first album is the most soulful out of the three albums he has released so far. Such a shame that “Keep On Walking” didn’t come first at Melodifestivalen 2010 so that it could be the Swedish entry for Eurovision 2010 in Oslo, but it’s ok. Anna Bergendahl’s “This Is My Life” is just as good. But why oh why can’t I find any of Salem’s work with his Arabic music trio nor his jazz work as part of the Fakir Karlsson Trio anywhere? Damn you iTunes!!!!!

(500) Days of Summer OST: I still love this album. I can’t get enough of it. Perfect music selection. Whoever picked the soundtrack deserves an award. Seriously.

Jónsi – Go: The Sigur Rós front-man goes solo. Pumpy baroque pop. I still have to go and download my digital copy of the acoustic set on video (Go Quiet) that is the bonus from my purchase of the digital edition from his website. Well worth it if you are into indie pop and all things Sigur Rós.

Diane Birch – Bible Belt: This was a find. A little bit bluesy, a little bit soul-ish and a little bit of pop and rock to make it accessible to the world. Her voice is beautiful, the backing music is sublime and she is gorgeous. I would not mind her serenading me to sleep at all.


I’m fat after coming back from Malaysia. Must go back onto my diet again. These grey business slacks are fitting a little bit tighter on me now. Damn food. Must wake up earlier to do some exercise before heading off to work in the morning.

Now time for a shower and then some sleep.

+ 2121hrs


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