LIFESTYLE - CULTURE

Team choice

10 tips of the month December 2021



Kirsten Dunst gives one of several outstanding performances in Jane Campion’s The Power Of The Dog Netflix

Kirsten Dunst gives one of several outstanding performances in Jane Campion’s The Power Of The Dog Netflix

South Korean folktronica, a book about a piece of chewing gum, Netflix dramas and Brazilian cuisine are among the things that have been keeping the Delano team busy in December.

Current reads

My last read of the year is Wayfarers’ Hymns by South African novelist Zakes Mda. The story is set in Lesotho and South Africa and firmly anchored in the tradition of song and dance of mining communities but with a modern twist as rival bards don’t shy away from using guns to mark their territory. It’s a fascinating plunge into a different culture, full of rhythm and beautifully written. CS

I finally got a copy of Warren Ellis’s superb and quite unique memoir Nina Simone’s Gum at Shakespeare & Company during a trip to Paris. Ellis, best known as a collaborator and friend and violin player for Nick Cave, picked up a piece of gum that Nina Simone left on a piano during her final performance in the UK in 1999. He recalls how he treasured the totem and the process by which, 20 years later, he donated it to Cave’s Stranger Than Kindness exhibition. But the beautiful story delves into the strange coincidences about how Ellis became a musician, the importance of memories and the meaning we attach to seemingly insignificant objects. DR

Digital highlights

Sometimes, it’s good to see beyond the first impression, even if the first impression is cringing. Chillin Station, a Youtube channel which really is a radio station, puts together great hour-long compilations of classical music. Though the titles sometimes exude absolute teen angst– “A playlist for a 19th century villain rejoicing in his fallen enemies” being one example–, the pieces are edited together seamlessly, making for a pleasant listening experience. It’s really the perfect stuff to keep as background music when working on plans to dominate the world, or cleaning the flat. Whatever makes you feel more “like a villain”. TH 

Listen to this

Mid-Air Thief is a South Korean folktronica artist. Though his last album, Crumbling, came out in 2018, I find myself gravitating towards it again and again. The combination of soft lyrics and swirling instrumentals make it a dizzying sensorial experience. TH

Essential viewing

The Unforgivable is a drama featuring Sandra Bullock as Ruth who is released from prison after 20 years. The film begins with her release and follows her through her reinsertion–with all the difficulties that come with her “cop killer” reputation. Having had to leave behind her little sister twenty years prior, Bullock’s character tries to get in contact with her while society around her has all but forgiven her. Though the film starts a bit slowly, I thought it was really well-written and a good exercise in empathy. The complex relationship between a former criminal and a world that preaches forgiveness but can’t apply it was also interesting to observe. The Unforgivable is streaming on Netflix. TH 

How far would you go to cover up a crime? True Story is a seven episode crime thriller that would leave you wanting more after the end of each episode. It features renowned comedian Kevin Hart, and Westley Snipes, who plays his crooked brother and failed entrepreneur. Shocking events escalate at a rapid pace following a failed attempt to cover up an initial murder. Oftentimes, movies by superstars are overrated, but permit me to say Kevin Hart killed it with his performance! AO

We’ve all unknowingly stumbled on some cheesy Christmas movie that we just couldn’t bring ourselves to stop watching. Love Hard on Netflix was released in November this year and is centred on the typical millennial love story that blossoms over chat boxes, dating apps and video calls. However, the surprising turn of events for Natalie, an LA journalist, who goes after the love of her life and gets more than what she bargained for, would keep you glued to your screens to find out what happens next. AO

The Power of the Dog (available on Netflix) is a superb return to the director’s chair for Jane Campion and includes four standout performances. The simmering tale of fraternal jealousy in the wild frontier, pitting the fake machoism of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Phil against the genteel wannabe sophistication of Jesse Plemmons’ George, is disrupted by the arrival of the latter’s new wife Rose (Kirsten Dunst), and her shy and learned teenage son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). It is a film packed with classic scenes – Cumberbatch and Dunst duelling on piano and banjo stands out – and gorgeous imagery. It might be Brokeback Mountain meets Phantom Thread, but that is a fine enough compliment for any film. DR

For foodies

Picanha Plaza, the Brazilian restaurant located not too far away from the pedestrian bridge in Bonnevoie is a rare find for a delectable full food experience. For about €34 (and less), you will be treated to an elaborate Brazilian buffet menu that may cause you to skip dinner. A personal favourite was the grilled pineapples served with cinnamon and fed to you by one of the servers. Yum! AO

Shopping

Manzoku, of local Ramen fame, a few months ago opened its own wee shop in Bel-Air. The store of course sells its signature ramen packages but also all kinds of Japanese cooking ingredients (both fresh and dry), like rice, kombu, furikake or konjaku. Sake and wines are also available, in addition to lovely bowls and cutlery. Plus, the Happy Guts Company’s fermented kimchi and kombucha is available here. Managed by the owner, whose good mood always makes you feel welcome, it also offers Korean and Japanese beauty products. So treat yourself! TH