Five to Inspire
Written by Melanie Battolla
WATCH: Dark Matter: The History of the Afrofuture is definitely one to catch on iPlayer. It’s an exploration including a range of personalities from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Grace Jones and how they and other black artists used the sci-fi genre to examine black history and imagine new, alternative futures. Especially interesting, for the Detroit Techno fans out there, is the mythology created by techno duo Drexciya, pioneers of a mythos that imagines an alternative universe in which individuals caught in the African slave trade thrive and build an underwater society.
READ: The Syllabus is a platform curating all the most interesting content from the digital sphere. Here you’ll find the best podcasts, essays, academic articles and more, covering everything from the politics of climate to the history of economic thought, from AI & automation to film & theatre. The curators who pick the content (which you can hone in by signing up and choosing your preferred subjects), wade through hundreds of interesting new items that would instead be lost in our overly saturated socials and media. Curators include the likes of Brian Eno and Holly Herndon, all following the same credo: “The good content is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed”.
LISTEN: It’s the most popular music podcast out there, but if you haven’t listened to it yet, Cocaine & Rhinestones: The History of Country is a must. The long-awaited second season is on a roll, covering stories and figures from the 20th century Country scene. Even if you’re not a Country fan yourself, you’ll be drawn in by the in-depth knowledge showcased by the host, Tyler Mayhan Coe, and the often crazy shenanigans he narrates. It’s going to be a wild ride, so buckle up (Yee-hawww).
LEARN: Grace Beverley’s #1 Sunday Times bestselling book Working Hard, Hardly Working is the life guide we need right now. Filled with endless tips and tricks on how to be more productive, achieve more, find your purpose, avoid burnout and practice self-care, it’s got it all. She delves into the how and why of time blocking, tips on organising your day and advice on how to find your micro-passions – all very interesting stuff. Though it has to be said, it’s a slightly painful process understanding how a 23 year-old has all this knowledge already, but nonetheless her noggin has advice that’s worth taking on board.
ENJOY: In the need of a mood-boosting, comforting but funny series to watch? Add the BBC’s new romance drama The Pursuit of Love to your ‘to-watch’ list. Based on a Nancy Mitford novel, the three-part series follows two teenage cousins from an eccentric aristocratic English family on their quest for love, passion and life and adventure. It’s funny with sad undertones, and arty and nuts at the same time. To top it off the series has a stellar cast of Lily James, Dominic Cooper (scandalous I know), and Andrew Scott. Give it a watch, it will worth your while.