Unforgettable: #JFTFP24
BrewDogging #87: Exeter

Simian Substitute Site for March 2024: Monkey Man


Books: What with taking breaks over the Christmas holiday and so on, it's taken us the best part of two months to get through the audiobook of Wilding. So how about something a bit fluffier to follow up, I said? Maybe a stand-up comedian's autobiography? It turns out I'm a bad judge of fluffiness. Strong Female Character - which we're listening to on our Spotify account because the audiobook is hellaciously expensive - is Fern Brady's retelling of her life, from her unhappy childhood through her unhappy time at university to the point where she found out it was autism that was making her unhappy. It's an extraordinary first-person account of what autism is like, viewed from a detached perspective that she obviously didn't have at the time she was growing up - a constant feeling that everyone else is working from a rule book that you don't have access to. If you're expecting lots of big laughs, you're going to be disappointed: there's plenty of humour in the book, but it's there primarily to stop her story becoming relentlessly depressing. The audiobook gains quite a bit, I suspect, from Brady's own narration: if nothing else, it's the best way to experience her impersonation of a boyfriend who liked singing along to the film Koyaanisqatsi. But maybe something a bit fluffier next time?

Music: After complaining last month about the lack of new music to start off 2024, I'm happy to report that things got better in February. YouTube links below, Spotify playlist below that.

  1. Six years after we first encountered him on his home turf of Estonia, we finally got to see Noep live for a second time when he came to London for a one-off show. He’s a lot dancier these days, as this new single shows. Fun video, too.
  2. Ed Harcourt will always be greeted warmly around these parts, as regular readers will know.
  3. As will Ruth Theodore, who appears to be over her health scare from a couple of years ago and settling in nicely on Ani DiFranco's record label Righteous Babe.
  4. For some reason, I've never been that impressed by Super Furry Animals, but the solo work of their singer Gruff Rhys has always worked better for me.
  5. Conversely, I'm not entirely sure about The Smile, to be honest: the few things I’ve liked of theirs have been the ones that are basically Radiohead songs, like this version of Pyramid Song with a couple of the notes swapped around.
  6. Yes, of course the new Pet Shop Boys single is here.
  7. I lost track of Little Simz around the end of 2022, when she released an album in the last week of the year after I'd already made my choices for the Pick Of The Year CD. Yes, I'm afraid that my listening habits are that rigidly arranged around the calendar. Release something in February like she's done here, and you have my full attention.
  8. Still not quite worked out yet what Yard Act are up to in their current incarnation. The album's out today, so maybe I'll find out.
  9. Good to see Joe Gideon out and about again: the last time I saw him was in January 2020 at the launch gig for his Armagideon album, shortly after which the entire world was shut down. I’m sure it wasn’t his fault.
  10. The original version of the Ash album Race The Night had its most rifftastic track and that track’s instrumental coda separated by five other songs. It seems a bit cheeky that for the extended version of the album, they’ve just glued those two parts together and treated it as a bonus track. Rocks like a bastard, though.

Theatre: I saw Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker in Plaza Suite in the West End recently, and as a serious theatregoer I made sure to tut loudly when both stars got a round of applause for merely walking onto the stage. They may well do that sort of nonsense on Broadway, but we don't do it here, I thought. And then literally two nights later, I saw a new play that had been deliberately constructed so that all seven of its principal characters each got their own big entrance with blatant cues for applause. That play was Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening!, bringing the cast of the TV show back together again after a quarter of a century, so I guess we'll let them off this time. Original writers Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin are also on board, and they've brought the Globelink News crew up to date in an efficient manner, as they each discover that they've been hired to work on a new startup news service that's a little too careless with its use of algorithmically generated content. All the regular cast settle into their roles like they've never been away, and the result is so much more than a simple cash-in on a known telly show - it's a raucously funny night out in its own right. It's touring the UK for several months now, having started back in February at London's Richmond Theatre, and heading back there at the end of the tour in June.

In the meantime, your Simian Substitute Site for March 2024 is Monkey Man, the official site of Dev Patel's directorial debut, opening in cinemas on April 5th. Originally, that wasn't going to be the case - Patel made his thriller for Netflix, and the plan was for it to go straight to the small screen. The reason why Jordan Peele has his name all over the publicity is because he saw a preview and immediately bought the film from Netflix, just so that he could release it himself into cinemas. Have a look at the trailer on that site and tell him he's wrong, I dare you.

We have plans for March: reasonably sized plans, in fact. Unfortunately, you're probably not going to hear much about them till April, though hopefully there won't be complete radio silence till then. If you must complain, you know where the comment box is.


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