We three at Boshemia wanted to bring you something a little different today. We have each chosen two things to recommend to you, our dear readers. We decided that the recommendations could be anything at all - experiences, places, books, movies, food; anything at all.
Here are a few of our favourite things.
Book: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (2015).
I am recommending a novel that the three of us read this winter, Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff. Since reading this book, I have never really recovered, and the way that I interpret romantic relationships has changed forever. To say that it consumed me is an understatement.
A 2015 National Book Award Finalist in the US, Fates and Furies documents the frenzied, fervent relationship between Lotto and Mathilde, a pair who met at a college party, eloped, and endured. Fates and Furies details the romantic lives of two creatives, who make their art as deftly as they curate one another. Deeply committed to each other, but still fraught in the complexities of their own separate lives, I cannot emphasize enough how truly intimate is the nature of this novel: it explores, above all, the gulf between lovers.
Lotto, desperate to fulfill himself as the Great American Artist, and Mathilda, striving to shake off a tragic and disenfranchised youth, coalesce magnificently. A southern Florida aesthetic meets French countryside as their mutual histories unravel, meet, and disrupt each other.
In “Fates,” we explore the happiness of their youth, and the steady progression through their marriage, through the eyes of Lotto. Marked by elements of Greek tragedy, the great shift to “Furies” begins with Mathilde’s childhood in France through to college, and documents her sudden elopement to Lotto — including most boldly of all the secrets that lie under their marriage, the fury and chaos that Lotto refused to see, that Mathilde suffered to keep at bay.
Groff reveals the secret lives of lovers, and how you can never really know your lover, or can you?: “Paradox of marriage: you can never know someone entirely; you do know someone entirely.”
Experience: Social Media Blackout.
I recommend frequently deleting social media, or basking in the joy of cyber-hiatus. I fully believe that social media becomes something of a horcrux for your persona, and with each digital means of expression you maintain, you are a drained a little more. After all, there is only so much of yourself that you can give. Maintaining a fully ~lit~ online presence is exhausting. There is something to be said about living fully in analog for a while. Call it a cleanse, a vacation, whatever you must in order to justify it, but being “off-the-grid” and fully present is a necessary human experience.
Film: The Duchess (2008) starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.
This 2008 biopic is absolutely heartbreakingly amazing. It tells the story of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire to the fifth Duke of Devonshire, whose tragic story is one of women’s strength, patriarchal oppression, and societal double standards. Forced into a tactical and advantageous marriage to the much older Duke of Devonshire before she was eighteen, Georgiana swiftly learned to use her charisma and youthful energy to propel herself to the status of most fashionable woman in England. She traversed into the male-dominated sphere of politics and also made a name for herself as a prominent socialite, becoming one of the earliest ‘celebrities’ and living a highly visible, indulgent and opulent lifestyle. As the famous quote goes, “the Duke must be the only man in England who is not in love with his wife”.
The film does great justice to the historical Georgiana, whom I studied at length during my degree. Director Saul Dibb has done a remarkable job at capturing the heartache, anger and frustration at the injustice and unfairness in Georgiana’s life, orchestrated almost solely at the hands of her cold, distant husband, represented perfectly by Ralph Fiennes. Every time I watch this I find myself growing actively resentful and frustrated with the Duke, weeping at the way he treats Georgiana and the standards she is subject to. But aside from the subject being richly fascinating, the film itself is beautifully shot and aesthetically on point. So naturally, as a fan of both the historical Georgiana Cavendish and of eighteenth-century culture and aesthetics, I adore this film. Go and watch it RIGHT NOW and tell me truthfully if you didn’t want to reach through the screen and slap Ralph Fiennes as the Duke.
This is the food channel that really turned me on to eating vegan more often and made me realise just how easy and exciting it can be. I am a huge fan of their approach to veganism and their attitude to food, which is very realistic and unpolished. This makes SUCH a refreshing change from the ~health food all day every day~ vegan channels and blogs which make up a large portion of the meatless food community. There are no perfectly crafted rainbow smoothie bowls five times a day with seventeen different ingredients that you can’t pronounce; instead, expect to find impromptu tacos and lazy popcorn for dinner. HFF introduced me to reliable alternatives to “staple” dairy items and made me realise how easy veganism actually is. Their food is very accessible and very delicious; to be honest, most of it is just vegan (read: guilt-free) versions of non-vegan junk food.
I also am just a huge fan of the creator behind Hot For Food, Lauren Toyota. I discovered her through her food blog, but she has been a TV personality in Canada for the past decade. I find her approach to life, particularly in things such as spirituality and energy, absolutely fascinating and I am finding that I agree more and more with her outlooks on life the more I watch her videos. Not only that, she is very watchable and has the kind of voice you would love to hear on an audiobook. Her ‘What I Ate In A Day” videos showcase what I said before about having a very realistic and approach to food, and are a really valuable insight for anybody considering making changes towards veganism, whether it’s just a few swaps, substitutes and baby steps or a total swift 180.
Podcast: Comedy Bang! Bang! featuring Scott Aukerman
So, podcasts are pretty in vogue now right? Everyone and their mothers fell in love with Serial last year, but it turns out (brace yourself) that podcasts existed before that! In fact, some of them have lasted as long as seven years! Shocking, I know. My new podcast obsession is Comedy Bang! Bang! I realise I’m probably a bit late to the game (like I said, seven years), but I haven’t met a single real life person who’s even heard of it, so it’s making the list! Come on real life people, get with the programme. Comedy Bang! Bang! is an entirely improvised podcast hosted by Scott Aukerman (Mr Show, Between Two Ferns), featuring guests that’ll make you say “Oh it’s that guy!” This is a powerhouse of improvisation techniques, featuring established comedians slipping in and out of character seamlessly (or sometimes not so seamlessly to hilarious results), and doing some top notch Yes-Anding. The sheer absurdity of the characters and situations has made me look absolutely insane on public transport as I’m literally crying with laughter on the train. CBB will, without fail, brighten up your boring commutes while making it impossible to seriously use the phrase “it’s been.” Through sheer laughter, I’ve experienced ab work-outs what would rival any gym membership.
Seeing as it’s been a 7-year venture, there’s understandably a lot of episodes and of course running gags, so here are some recommendations to get you started (Recommendations within a recommendation article? Insert Inception joke here)
Farts and Procreation – arguably the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. This is a four episode series featuring Adam Scott, Chelsea Peretti and the late great Harris Wittels who tragically died last year following a heroin overdose. Any episode with Harris is sure to be gold, but the Farts and Procreation series is an outstanding showcase of anti-humour, absurdity and just great chemistry.
Time Bobby - Another series, this time with three episodes featuring what would be a lovely set of interviews with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber were it not for an unexpected guest. The less said about these episodes the better (I don’t want to spoil the surprises) but they’re hilarious. Paul F Tompkins’ Andrew Lloyd Webber is a treat, and Bobby Moynihan plays an outstanding intruder.
Other sure-fire hits include anything featuring Jason Mantzoukas, Andy Daly, Thomas Middleditch and Lauren Lapkus. Also, seeing as there’s a bit of backstory behind most of the eps, I’d recommend listening to the yearly best ofs to catch up. Seriously guys, download this podcast!
(There’s also a really funny TV show available on Netflix.)
My second recommendation. Of the Bo(she)mia team, I’m the only one still stuck in higher education and like many students, I’ve got exams coming up. Study you guys. Like, not just when you’ve got exams but study all year. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Pretty soon, finals are going to creep up and suddenly it’s May and you’re thinking I should have spent the last four years doing this instead of making websites and doing plays and how much sleep do I really need and oh god university is hard.
Just do your work kids. Do your work.