BrewDogging #87: Exeter
BrewDogging #88: Gatwick Airport

Simian Substitute Site for April 2024: Makake


Books: Back in the day I used to enjoy the Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley podcast Rule Of Three, in which they talked to guests about their favourite funny things and why they were funny. Morris’ new book, Be Funny Or Die: How Comedy Works And Why It Matters, scratches a similar itch – and doubly so if you listen to him reading the audiobook version. It’s a comprehensive study of the science, psychology and ethics of humour, and is smart enough to know how dangerous a task that is. In an early highlight, Morris takes Ken Dodd’s famous line about the futility of analysing comedy – the one about how Freud never had to play Glasgow Empire on a Friday night – and analyses how Dodd himself tweaked its wording over a couple of decades to suit his audience. I’m only a short way into the book so far, but enjoying it a lot.

Music: Max Richter’s managed to get a lot of mileage out of his eight hour composition Sleep. We’ve had an edited version that fits on a single CD, numerous remixes (both dancey and ambient), and an arrangement for solo piano. In March we also got 90 Minutes Of Sleep, the premiere of an audio-visual presentation designed for IMAX cinemas. The audio part is a 90 minute edit of the piece, lovingly remixed for a 12.2 IMAX sound system - the subtle subsonic pulse running throughout several sections is something I'd never really noticed before. As for the visuals, it's topped and tailed with fairly straightforward performance footage. But the bulk of the film is a lovely piece of large-scale animation, a series of night sky views that subtly change with the ebbs and flows of the music, making it a completely immersive experience. Curiously, the animator is only named in a throwaway credit right at the end, and I've not been able to find out their name from anywhere else, which is massively frustrating. Hopefully it'll get more screenings where credit will be given where it's due.

Telly: Continuing our project of investigating Taskmasters Of Many Lands, here’s one you can all play at home if you live in the UK. Channel 4’s streaming service, as well as the OG British version, can also give you access to Taskmaster New Zealand and Taskmaster Sweden – or Bäst i Test, to give the latter its proper title. And for someone who's comparing one version of the show with another, the Swedes appear to have gone completely off track. On the surface, there's the novelty value of our first female Taskmaster, Babben Larsson, assisted by David Sundin. But there's a completely different set! There are only four regular contestants, with a series of rotating guests in the fifth slot! The team tasks only use two teams of two! The prize task prizes are presented on video like it's Sale Of The Frickin' Century or something! It's not even apparent until the final episode of the series that there's going to be a big prize for the overall winner! Nevertheless, the basic structure is stlll there, and there's a fun mix of classic tasks and brand new ones. Series 1 is only four episodes long if you just want to dip your toe in - based on that, I'm happy to give series 2 a go.

In the meantime, your Simian Substitute Site for April 2024 is Makake, a fascinating sounding Japanese-Spanish tapas house in Reykjavik. It's only open two days a week, for some reason, but it looks pretty cool. The name Makake comes from the local spelling for macaque, so I haven't just pulled this out of my arse or anything.

Oh, you lot can read between the lines: you can probably work out why this page feels like it's been thrown together in the hour or two after a long flight. Just wait a bit and see where it's going.


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