Friday, February 24, 2017

Little oases in this frenzied modern life

Quite often, it seems, I have enough excitement, activity, and worry during my daylight hours, so when I find a few minutes in the evening to sit down and watch TV, I increasingly find myself drawn to search for something calm and relaxing.

If this describes you as well, let me make three recommendations:

  1. The Detectorists

    The Detectorists is the story of Andy and Lans, two friends who live in a small rural English town, and who have a somewhat unusual hobby. They are members of a Detectorists's Club, a society of like-minded individuals who enjoy taking long walks in the meadows and pastures with their metal detectors, searching (ever searching) for a long-lost Roman tomb, a Viking settlement, or perhaps a World War site.

    But really, it is just about Andy and Lans, who prove to be incredibly likely bumblers.

    And, not to be undersold, the music is by Johnny Flynn, one of the best new musicians I know of.

  2. Mozart in the Jungle

    Adapted from a book which I haven't read, Mozart in the Jungle is all about a rather on-the-rocks symphony orchestra in New York City.

    Narrated by the young, aspiring backup oboe player, and featuring an absolutely mesmerizing performance by Gael Garcia Bernal as the orchestra's conductor, Mozart in the Jungle is really a "character actor" show, with literally dozens of delightful kooks who swim in and out of the life of the orchestra. Simultaneously heart-warming, philosophical, and hilarious, Mozart in the Jungle never lets you down.

    And, of course, it, too, has great music.

  3. Chef's Table

    Chef's Table is a documentary series, with a brilliant concept. Each episode is separate and stands alone, and each episode tells the story of one world-famous chef or another.

    Beautifully filmed, beautifully edited, beautifully paced, these shows take you deep inside the mind of what it means to be a top-level, world-class chef.

    I think that any creative activity is fascinating, each in its own way. Writing software is a deeply creative act, but so, too, is being a chef. Sitting and listening to each of these chefs talk about how they approach their art, what stumbles and failures they've had, how they dealt with them, who mentored them along the way, and what turned out to really matter to them in the end, is just unbelievably compelling. I could sit for hours (actually, I HAVE sat for hours) listening to these stories.

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