"Unorthodox" is a Netflix Original miniseries inspired by the memoir of Deborah Feldman
Photo: Netflix montage
Whether experimenting with barbeque or Bach, here’s what the Delano team has been inspired by this month.
Roger Robinson’s poetry collection, A Portable Paradise, has moved me this month. The poems examine the tragic Grenfell Tower fire incident through a range of lenses, including reflections on racism and the daily moments that make up a human life. You can read a sample here. NG
In an attempt to fill the void left after devouring the entire nine (check this) seasons of mockumentary The Office (the American version), last year, I downloaded the audio book of “The Bassoon King”, American actor Rainn Wilson’s memoir (he played office jobs worth Dwight Schrute). Although still fairly young his back story is fascinating, hilarious and deeply spiritual at the same time. The written contributions from his TV alter ego Dwight are the olive in the Martini of what was an entertaining and thought-provoking holiday listen. Why not just read the book? Besides being able to listen on planes, trains and on long car journeys, it’s worth it to hear Wilson read his own book to you. JB
Anyone using storytelling for work or pleasure should take a read of Will Storr’s “The Science of Storytelling”, in which he pieces together research and neuroscience to understanding why and how certain techniques work. It was a clear and engrossing read that I know I will return to again and again. JB
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Lately I’ve been fascinated with Dan Tepfer’s Bach inversions. Tepfer plays piano beautifully, loves coding and even has interesting 3D sculptures of sound to boot! In the past he has married music and coding in ways that are unique and visual. He began his mind-boggling #Bachupsidedown project in March during confinement in New York and plays Goldberg variations live which his programme then inverts and plays back. It’s almost hard to believe that Bach didn’t play the inversions himself. NG
I can’t believe I am writing this, but I do very much like Taylor Swift’s new album, “Folklore”. I mean, I recognise that she is a writer of the occasional great pop song, but so far my exposure has been limited to hearing her the more popular efforts from her canon on the radio and I would never have dreamed of listening to a whole album. “Folklore” was created with The National’s Aaron Dessner and features Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon among other “alt-folk” stalwarts. The sweepingly gorgeous ‘Exile’ would not have been out of place on “I am Easy to Find”, the brilliant last album by The National. The lyrics still often leave much to be desired, but this is a lovely album to listen to on a lazy weekend morning. DR
Hear “Exile” here.
Think that artificial intelligence has been overhyped? Probably. The Economist published an excellent special report (in June) on the technological limits of AI and how more scaled-back vision might actually deliver. AG
I’ve been following John Amaechi on Twitter for some time, but the past two months the former NBA star turned psychologist and business consultant has been a voice of reason and offered intelligent insight into the debate on racism that was ignited by the murder of George Floyd. And the video he made for BBC’s children’s channel CBeebies is brilliantly simply. Oh, and he has a great voice. And he went to the same school, Stockport Grammar, as me. DR
I recently finished watching “Bodyguard” (not to be confused with “The Bodyguard”) on Netflix. As a police-political thriller, “Bodyguard” has it all: complex characters, truly unexpected plot twists and the hunky Scottish lead actor Richard Madden. As usual, I’m behind the times: the 6-episode series aired in 2018. But the BBC has commissioned a second season, which will eventually air on BBC One and Netflix. AG
You know a series is good when it ends too soon. That was the case for me when watching Netflix Original “Unorthodox”, a four-parter about an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman who, after being married off at 17, flees the community in Williamsburg, New York, for a new life in Berlin. By turns gripping, visceral and fascinating, it is based on Deborah Feldman’s 2021 Memoir “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots”. I advise viewers not to stop once the credits roll and to learn more about this. There is a “Making Of” on Netflix but also a second memoir by Feldman “Exodus”.
Last month I mentioned a GQ article featuring “5 foods you didn’t know you could grill” (thumbs up for lettuce and watermelon, by the way). Now I have a burgeoning obsession for livening up the barbeque and stumbled upon some new recipe ideas. There is some overlap between these lists, but the more straightforward version can be found on RealSimple.com while the more ambitious iteration can be found on MarthaStewart.com. AG
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