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"The first time I was ever kissed was in a cemetery": nerd diaries, January 2021

I've been keeping a diary of everything I watch and read for about two years now, and I shared the 2020 one in one shot in December on the blog. I thought it might be more interesting to get the list in *marginally* more real time, making it a bit easier to recall what you were watching at that time, and draw parallels and find gaps. That's what I like about Steven Soderbergh's annual media diary anyway - seeing what he watched and read in December, and how that compared to what I was into at the time. It's probably a bit weird, but it also makes people seem more real to me, somehow, to think of them at home, in front of the box, whiling away the hours as best we can right now.

This first list is all telly and films. I only include stuff I've watched all the way through to the end - so telly only goes on there if I'm watching a series that I do 'in' (just realising that's actually quite a menacing way to think about how I watch telly), or I cite it as started if I know I am going to watch the whole thing, like all and any iterations of Ru Paul'sDrag Race, or The Masked Singer with the kids.

This means, catching 15 random minutes of Pointless while eating my tea off my knee doesn't count; I also refuse to count proximity if not watching - I might be in the same room as Paul watching Nazi War Bunkers and Abandoned Engineering, but I am focussed on crocheting and progressing my dreadful rainbow neon blanket and stroking cats instead.

The list demonstrates:

that I am continuing to work my way through my Sopranos DVD and my Hitchcock DVD collections (COMFORT)

that I always find January hard, never mind January 2021 which is a tad bit harder than usual, and when things are hard I need old films so there is a lot of 1940s stuff (best: Phantom Lady)

that I actually did my homework and rewatched The Lost Boys for my podcast with The Final Girls;

and... that The Apartment remains one of the best films of all time and I will be rewatching it forever (and Fran's line is the quote for this entry)


I finished Experimental Film on New Years Day suffocated by a wave of deep dread (the book did its job then) and with my mind on fire. No wonder it won so many awards...

But after Experimental Film left its mark I needed some easier fiction options but none of them were great - I needed at least one more banger, but was not granted. I also read a couple of books for work - Nobody's Girl Friday; Too Fat Too Slutty; Phantom Lady and Sleepless Nights. I hadn't thought to include "work books" (i.e. the things I am reading in order to write my current nonfiction book) before. But, cos I'm on research leave I do actually have enough time to read this kind of thing cover to cover, instead of SKIMMING THE FIRST AND LAST THIRD IN A TRAUMATIC SPEED READ INDUCED BY IMMINENT DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION THAT I'VE NOT HAD TO TIME TO DO COS OF TEACHING AND PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT AND MY BROKEN DOWN HOUSE AND MY LIFE. So reading real books - albeit not particularly 'academic' nonfiction books on the whole - has been very useful. Some I'm reading for history, for knowledge - like Nobody's Girl Friday, some I'm reading for form - like Sleepless Nights. Every book I read gives me something - a lead into a new woman to research, a way of approaching a subject, the courage to write with more subjectivity, or even, in some cases, just confirmation of how I don't want to write or position my research.

Nothing, is ever, wasted.


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