10 tips of the month: January 2023

The Amnéville Zoo in France (about a 35-minute drive from Luxembourg) is running its Luminescences festival through 25 March. Photo: Delano

The Amnéville Zoo in France (about a 35-minute drive from Luxembourg) is running its Luminescences festival through 25 March. Photo: Delano

AI in art, the diversity of African nations and cultures, a light festival and charming detectives: Delano’s staff has taken note of a few activities and works they enjoyed over January 2023. Here are the ones they recommend. 

Current reads

Africa Is Not A Country by Dipo Faloyin tackles some of the stereotypes that plague the continent, from jungle warlords to loincloth-clad natives battling lions in the savannah. Faloyin traces the history of the continent, how it got to where it is and what it will take for the former colonisers to truly see the diversity of African nations, their cultures and realities. With wit and insight, the author tackles topics such as poverty porn and NGO work, the restitution of looted artifacts and the desecration of Jollof rice by Jamie Oliver. CS

We’ve all heard about the pay gap. The pension gap is perhaps less well mediatised. But there is more to women’s disadvantage over men when it comes to finance. In her book Why Women Are Poorer Than Men, journalist Annabelle Williams delves into austerity policies that have left women vulnerable, tackles stereotypes about risk-averse investors and looks at the lasting effects of women once being considered property on their likelihood of owning property today. Although it has a heavy UK focus, and some elements won’t apply to readers elsewhere, the book also offers useful information on how to take control of your personal finances. CS

Digital highlights

I was mesmerised this month by digital content creator Fabio Comparelli’s The Evolution of Visual Expression: A Tale of Art and Technology. He has stated: “Rather than viewing AI as a threat to traditional artists, we should embrace it as a new medium for creativity and self-expression. Just as the invention of the printing press did not replace the art of handwriting, the incorporation of AI into the art world does not diminish the value of more traditional forms of art.” Food for thought. Here’s the work, which had over 1m views at the time of writing. NG

The Chinese cultural chamber in Luxembourg on its website is giving access to a virtual tour of traditional woodblock prints. These prints are produced all over the country for the Lunar New Year. The chamber also hosts an exhibition featuring both traditional and more modern artworks. The virtual tour is available in French, Chinese and English and is fun to click through. I do recommend exploring it on a tablet or computer screen. TH 

Essential viewing

I might be late to the party (as this film is the third most-watched film on Netflix) but if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion. I watched Knives Out just before this sequel and had, for the first time in a long while, really enjoyed participating in the whodunnit. Daniel Craig’s performance as Benoît Blanc, a famous detective with a strong Southern accent, was a delight, as was the selection of the cast. So if you want to watch a film that acts as a brain tease but that also doubles as a critique of the ultra-rich and famous, I can only recommend this one. TH 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio just came out on Netflix after more or less ten years of work. Though it’s okay for older children to watch, the film might be a bit too dark for small ones. The film is loosely based on the original novel by Carlo Collodi but takes place during the interwar period and World War II in Fascist Italy. The stop motion animation is beautiful as is the voice acting by the star-studded cast. The message the film promotes about fatherhood, loss, grief and sacrifice is just as touching as the ending. TH

First presented with the title Everything Everywhere All At Once, most of us will probably take it figuratively (like someone trying to “have it all”)--but this 2022 movie is, in the most improbably literal terms possible, about everything, everywhere, all at once. That is to say, it invokes the infinite worlds theory, where every possible version of (every different) reality splits off repeatedly and constantly into new and disparate universes. By some anomalous interdimensional skullduggery, the daughter of two struggling laundromat-owners (well, in this reality she’s the daughter of etc.) has gained the unfortunate power of experiencing all of these realities simultaneously in what was clearly a nightmare-turned-boozy-dance-party for the storyboarders involved. Anyway, the movie starts off as one of the funniest and most promising films I’ve seen in forever before descending, most disappointingly, into a fairly hot mess: you can almost tell exactly when the writers confront the premise’s terminal case of bit-off-more-than-it-can-chew-ism, and see them panic and--so one could imagine--outsource the rest of the piece to a well-meaning but necessarily moronic teenager. Still, it’s a charmingly acted and paradoxically worthwhile highlight within the holy-shit-they-went-for-it! genre. JP

For foodies

This recommendation might be a bit different from the usual ones, but as someone who is always on the lookout for a better chocolate chip cookie recipe, I have been receiving great feedback after trying this one by Sweetest Menu--a blog run by Jess, an Australian writer turned baker. Of course, you can choose to read the story behind the recipe and the advice to make sure you ace it (yep, chilling the dough is essential) but you can also scroll to the bottom where you’ll find the recipe (both in EU and US metrics!). TH 

Little Saigon is an Asian restaurant located next to the Wallis bus stop (Gare/Bonnevoie) that serves excellent and reasonably priced Vietnamese and Cantonese specialties. Highly recommend the fresh spring rolls with shrimp, the bun bo (available with or without beef), the pho, the marmite of aubergines with pork served in a sizzling hot bowl--everything I’ve tasted has been delicious. They also have a lunch menu available on weekdays. LL

Further afield

Missing the holiday lights? The Amnéville Zoo in France (about a 35-minute drive from Luxembourg) is running its Luminescences festival through 25 March. You can get a free token for it if you visit the zoo or buy a separate ticket just to see the lights. The 1.4km walk takes visitors through six dreamlike landscapes--all with their own sounds--with illuminated gardens, underwater scenes and more. I took my daughter this month and she absolutely adored it--great for families! They’ll also be organising special events around St Valentine’s Day from 12-17 February. NG