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Things that brought me joy (3)

Kaleidoscope, a limited series on Netflix about a heist with a fun twist: you can watch the episodes in any order you like (the only recommendation is to watch “White”, the episode about the heist itself, last). Netflix will randomly assign an order to you out of the 40,320 (yes!) possible combinations but you could choose not to follow that. I did, and watched it in the order of Green, Yellow, Violet, Orange, Blue, Red, Pink, White, which it turns out was mostly chronological. The ensemble cast is led by the phenomenal Giancarlo Esposito (of Breaking Bad fame) as the criminal mastermind and Rufus Sewell (who you’ll recognise from The Man in the High Castle) as the vault owner.

Enola Holmes 2, also on Netflix and a worthy sequel again following the exploits of Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister (Millie Bobbie Brown, of Stranger Things). What I didn’t expect was for this one to be inspired by actual events (the Matchgirls’ strike of 1888). Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter return as Sherlock and matriarch Eudoria. Tons of fun. I recommend popcorn. Bonus: we finally get to meet Dr Watson.

Zoetrope, a 10-part audio drama starring Daisy Ridley as Tamsin, a banker who’s recently relocated from the UK to Singapore and after her welcome party at work ends up with her boss dead in her bathroom. Things escalate when a voice on her intercom starts blackmailing her. Everything else around her is also getting shady very quickly. I was hooked from the start and listened to it all in one day. It requires an Audible subscription but the actual show is free because it’s Audible’s weird definition of a podcast (so you could listen with a free trial).

Slushy, another 10-part Audible “podcast”. This one’s a work comedy set in Antarctica, told from the perspective of a new recruit who everyone thinks is a Penguin expert (though the truth – her complete lack of scientific knowledge – dawns on everyone quickly). It’s an ensemble of wacky but very lovable characters. It’s also written (and stars) Australians Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney, the comedic geniuses behind parodies The Katering Show and Get Krack!n. I listened to the whole thing in one hilarious afternoon.

Bring back Blogbuerg

The year begins in a frustratingly low-key way: I’ve been locked inside since Christmas (Santa brought me a positive covid test) and, while I have mostly been okay apart from a loss of appetite and exhaustion, all I have “achieved” is rapidly making my way through Frasier (the episode where Frasier inadvertently starts dating Patrick Stewart’s opera singing character was a particular, recent highlight).

The year also begins with a vague notion of resolutions, though I’ve not exactly had success in the past. The best I’ve ever managed was many years ago, when I decided to stay away from alcohol and lasted until September, when a bartender accidentally gave me a wine instead of a coke and I couldn’t even remember why I’d made the resolution.

But chief among them this year is that I’d like to blog more again. I haven’t had Facebook in so long, I don’t even remember when I got rid of it. I finally deleted Twitter a few months ago (and then man-child Elon got rid of my account) and although I joined Mastodon, I hardly ever check it and I post on it even less. Instagram stopped being fun a while ago and on TikTok I’m just a consumer of media (though I admit, the queer bubble I’m in is lovely).

I read some old posts on here today and it makes me sad that for so much of the last few years, I don’t have any memories written down. I lived in Austria for a while with my wife and this sentence right here is the only record of it on my blog, for heaven’s sake. I admire the stamina, and envy the archive, of friends like Joël who blog every single day.

My story should belong to me, not Elon or Mark. My story should belong on this blog.

I’d like to read more again. God knows that’s a resolution made by many who fail, and it’s definitely true of past me as well. So we’ll see. There’s certainly enough on my pile to keep me entertained without spending any money for a while.

And there’s a few projects I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while, but the pandemic destroyed my creative drive and mental health (and it turns out recovering from burnout takes a long time and, ironically, a lot of work). One project in particular will cost money and I’ve used that as an excuse not to start it, but I don’t want to let that hold me back anymore.

But above all, in 2023, I want to bring back blogging. Join me.

Crossroads

I could’ve gone the other way,
the one that didn’t lead to you
and all the tears that followed.
Could I?
I could’ve chosen another life,
where we never met
and all the pain didn’t come to be.
Could I?
I could’ve said no at any point,
at the beginning, but also the end,
and saved us both a lot of trouble.
Could I?
I could’ve vanished quietly,
or with a loud bang
and we could have been happy.
Could we?

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Mike Enerio.

Clock

With minute steps they slide into the room,
their hands slowly wrapping around my neck:
I had no chance to second-guess
which way to turn.
The nightmares course through my veins
like a needle scratching vinyl:
delicately, relentlessly until the end.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Jon Tyson.

In the distance, a small shape

I’ll have two scoops of night time
with a dash of midnight sun
in a cone made of the possibilities of dusk.
Let me blow soap bubbles filled with tomorrows,
bounce on a trampoline made of silly dreams
and lie in meadows formed of children’s laughter.
I may never make it
to the end of the rainbow
but I’ll make the journey worthwhile.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Cyrill Hänni.

Glitch

It was only a minor malfunction
in this universe
but it was enough
to wreak havoc
with planned events:
soulmates led astray,
connections missed,
treasures lost.
We will never know
the lives that didn’t come to be.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Mathew Schwartz.

Stranger than fiction

The keys move my hand,
draw in my fingertips,
guide me through the story,
introducing me to new friends
that will live
in my memory forevermore.
Like a sculptor freeing
statues from marble blocks,
like a painter uncovering
landscapes hidden in the canvas,
like a love joining
two souls together in the void.
This fiction is strange,
is indubitable, is intrinsic,
is no fiction at all.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Florian Krumm.

Mirror

I’ve been upside down for a while,
skewed like ripples in a pond,
haven’t known my left from right,
failed to recognise my own face.
But who’s to say this isn’t me
the way I was supposed to be?
I dread to think it was true
but the other version also
couldn’t be with you.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Kelly Sikkema.

Nightmare

This is not where we disembark,
it cannot be where we alight,
it must not be where we come ashore.
This chopping sea will not end
with an ebbing tide;
this vintage car will not go to pieces
wrapped around a tree.
This wraith will be vanquished
with all the might in my heart
and when I wake from this nightmare,
we will not be apart.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Kelly Sikkema.

Power

Life could be a force for good
but that is so hard in adulthood.
So instead we just pretend
and quietly lament our descent
into a betrayal of childhood.

Part of #escapril2021. Photo by Miguel Bruna.