LIFESTYLE - CULTURE

Top Picks

10 tips of the month: September 2021



Screenshot from Untold: Crime and Penalties (2021) Credits: Production Companies: Players' Tribune, Propagate, Stardust Films

Screenshot from Untold: Crime and Penalties (2021) Credits: Production Companies: Players' Tribune, Propagate, Stardust Films

The Delano team proposes a blend of top reads, essential videos, podcasts and many others you shouldn’t miss out on. Here are Delano's 10 tips for the month of September.

Current reads

Something, something weird, has infected an area of coastal wilderness in the southern United States. That’s the premise of Jeff VanderMeer’s seminal Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance, 2014), often considered part of the New Weird literary movement. In the books, this infected coastal area is devoid of pollutants but nevertheless has an altogether corrupting effect on the psyche of any visitor, and tends to kill them too, facts all too clear to a clandestine government organisation that has sprung up on the border of this area—“Area X”—and which has spent the better part of its own lifespan desperately sending mission after hopeless mission of researchers into it. A wilderness that resists understanding, with ultimate dominion over the humans within it? Sounds like required reading in the age of real-life eco-horror. Creepy, intelligent, an absolute must. JP

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson at first glance is a will-they-won’t-they love story. The unnamed protagonist falls in love with his friend’s girlfriend. They try to resist the attraction but grow ever closer. But “Open Water” is also an examination of what it means to be Black on the streets of London, how the psyche of generations is harmed by being vilified and subjected to police violence. Nelson’s prose is elegant, full of rhythm, recurring refrains and motifs. A playlist of songs complements the book. CS

I am generally skeptical of the memoir-essay-self-help genre (Dolly Alderton, Lena Dunham et al.) but Conversations on Love by Nathasha Lunn surprised me and I devoured it, leaving plenty of post-its and notes in the margins. The book benefits from Lunn wrapping her own story in conversations with authors and experts who look at love from different angles. What is love--a feeling or an action? How do we find it, sustain it, get over it? And what types of love in our lives are we overlooking in search of romance? A thoughtful invitation to readers to examine their own hearts. CS

Armchair Expert went under my radar for too long and if this has been the case for you then here is some encouragement to change that. The weekly podcast hosted by American actors Dax Shepard and Monica Padman has quite a strong following and easily attracts listeners who have just tuned in. Most episodes are interviews with insightful and famous people which range from Seth Rogen to Prince Harry and including Barack Obama, Quentin Tarantino and my personal favorite - famed biographer Walter Isaacson. Shepard’s access to Hollywood celebrities acted as a springboard to the podcast’s early success. But since then it has grown to much more while following its distinct character of diving into the guest’s personal life and humanising them rather than putting them on a pedestal. More recently Shepard and Padman have launched a series of episodes such as Armchaired & Dangerous in which they speak to journalist David Farrier who specialises in conspiracy theories. The QAnon episode is a particularly good one. We are supported by… is another series of episodes within the podcast which looks at women who, as the description says, have “put a crack in the glass ceiling”. TG

It’s been 20 years since HBO released Band of Brothers, the landmark series about the 101st Airborne division’s Easy company and its fight in WW2. To mark the anniversary, HBO is releasing a 12-episode podcast, delving into the series and the real events behind it. Somewhat lengthy, the format targets bona-fide fans rather than novices, but it’s an opportunity to revisit the show. For the full experience, head to Bastogne for a Battle of the Bulge day trip from Luxembourg or visit the graves of Easy company men at the Hamm military cemetery? CS

Listen to this

The legendary Don Letts has lent his exquisite taste to the latest compilation release under the highly acclaimed Late Night Tales moniker. His Version Excursion selection of dub covers includes real treasures and unusual delights like a special version of Ghetto Priest’s take on Aaron Neville’s iconic 1973 rare groove classic Hercules and Cornell Campbell’s Ital City Dub cover of Marvin Gaye classic Inner City Blues. Then there’s Texas groove trio Khruangbin’s dub version of their own song Dern Kala and even UK band Black Box Recorder doing Althea & Donna’s fabulous Uptown Top Ranking. Great stuff for a Indian summer barbeque. DR

How can hawks, doves, owls, swans, bulls and bears, ostriches and pigeons teach us some new facts about central banking and monetary policies? This is explained in the ECB podcast with communications advisor Gabriel Glöckler, who explains the relationship between the history and use of animal metaphor in financial language and other contexts. As he puts it: applying animal metaphors helps the audience go beyond limitations of human reasoning. Take a walk through the central banking wildlife park here and get to understand certain financial terminologies with a strong link to wildlife. AO 

Shopping

If you're looking for some vintage second hand fun head down to the AA Warehouse, just outside out Luxembourg city, at rue de Bettembourg in Fentange. Open only on Sundays between 10am and 1pm the store is carefully curated with various articles of clothing harking back to the 80s flashy fashion that has seen some resurgence recently as well as more more contemporary ones. Selection style changes depends on the week. TG

Essential viewing

Need to feel like you are on a getaway in Japan but can’t hop over right now? We’ve got you covered. Abroad in Japan is also a great way of learning about life in Japan and as Youtube channels go is regularly updated by its creator Chris Broad. He moved to the Eastern Asian country and worked as an English teacher. Now, his YouTube channel is his main occupation as he documents his experiences in Japan such as visiting an Onsen, a Japanese inn set adjacent to a hot spring and including bathing facilities. Other videos are more centered on entertainment, “I tried every Japanese Fried chicken” or “When English in Japan goes horribly wrong” definitely guarantee a laugh or two. TG

The Netflix documentary series, Untold: Crime & Penalties, will keep you both entertained and informed. As part of the first volume and based on a true story, the series includes the story of the Danbury trashers, also known as the bad boys of hockey, who were a famous ice hockey team in Danbury Connecticut with AJ Galante--the 17-year old son of trash business mogul James Galante--who served as both the general manager and president of the team. The Netflix series explores the controversies that followed the team until it was disbanded, and the charges of fraud and conspiracy that landed the mogul in jail. AO