So this week has been…a lot.
In case anyone’s stumbling across this and doesn’t know who the hell I am, I’m in the UK, where the advice about the pandemic is currently ???!!!
Coincidentally, I realised last weekend that I was definitely coming down with something, which has turned out (so far) to be a relatively mild head cold. It’s hard to know what to do about that when the advice is ???!!! but I reasoned that if I would stay away from my parents – who are both in treatment for cancer, so do not need to get any of my bugs, even if it’s ‘just’ a cold – then I should probably try to stay away from everyone right now. So I’ve been at home for most of this week.
And you’d think that would mean a week of catching up on boxsets, and reading, and snuggling up to watch films in the evenings. But mostly I have just…not been able to do anything. I dunno about the rest of you, but the Shakespeare-wrote-King-Lear-in-quarantine meme has been making me laugh the most, because it just seems ridiculous to expect anything coherent of ourselves when there is nothing coherent happening out there in the world.
So I have basically nothing to offer you this week except…
This review by Emily Holyoake was originally published by Exeunt Magazine on 7 March 2020.
what do kites symbolise?
‘The kite symbolizes the quest for freedom in you’ – okay, well, that can’t be it. It’s been a while since I did an essay on Macbeth but I’m reasonably sure that the quest for freedom isn’t one of the themes.
‘Traditionally, kites symbolize both prophecy and fate’ – okay yeah, that’s probably it. Huh. I didn’t know that about kites.
There’s a meat hook in this version of Macbeth.
There are also some of those translucent plastic curtains that hang down in strips, like you get in a butcher’s shop.
(“Like you get in Co-op,” says my partner, a former Co-op employee.)
The plastic curtains aren’t there all the time – sometimes a big rusty metal screen with a tiny door and tiny windows comes down in front of them. I don’t know what slaughterhouses look like. Maybe they have metal walls and tiny doors and tiny windows.
When Lady Macduff and her child get killed, they get taken behind the Co-op curtains and someone squeezes a bottle of fake blood at the plastic. It comes out in a thin, paint-y, ketchup-y squirt.
Phew. So the last few Sunday afternoons have been uncharacteristically busy. One of those Sunday afternoons was spent celebrating turning 29, which means I’m only one year away from finally getting out of my twenties, so hooray for that.
But yeah, I’m hopelessly behind on this weekly round-up. And because it’s me, the idea of being so behind and having an imperfect record makes me want to scrap the whole project. I think that’s one of the real reasons I’m ‘rubbish at Sunday afternoons’ – I’m rubbish at them because it’s the bit of the week when I realise how much I haven’t done, and that usually makes me want to ditch the whole concept of productivity and just wait it out until Monday morning. I like fresh starts. I like new days with no mistakes in them. I hate posting a blog that’s called ‘Review of the Week (8/9/10)’. I’d rather just burn the whole thing to the ground and start again.
But fuck it. I’m not going to.
This morning we were woken up by the sound of water dripping through the ceiling onto Ben’s pillow, so if you were wondering how we’re weathering the storm up here in the Midlands, the answer is that there are multiple holes in our roof.
But obviously we’re by no means the worst hit, and I really hope that wherever you are this week, you’re reading this from somewhere watertight.
The weather is so bad here that our windowsill blew off, which…I didn’t realise was a thing that could happen. Hope you’re all staying safe and warm.
One of my New Year resolutions was to write a novel (why), and after using January to plan the stupid thing, I’ve had to sit down and write some actual prose this week. It’s going well in the sense that I have, indeed, written some words. They are all awful words. But I’ve made a start. So here’s what else I’ve had time for this week.
I make no apologies for not posting last week – I did a late Burns Night celebration and was far too full of haggis and whisky to even remember my week, let alone write about it.
Now that my memory has sharpened again, here’s a brief summary of what I watched, read, and listened to over the past fortnight. I’ve tried to keep this one short because tbh I have a spag bol to make tonight.
We’re three weeks into 2020 already! It sort of feels like the year is hitting its stride but also we’re still eating the Christmas cake.
It’s frosty but sunny here. Is it too small-talk-y of me to let you know what the weather’s like? I find myself writing about the weather in my diary a lot; my study has a lovely view over our garden so about 50% of my ‘writing time’ is actually ‘staring out of the window time’. Frosty but sunny is one of my favourite kinds of weather, I think. I hope that, wherever you are this afternoon, the weather is your favourite kind of weather too.
Here’s what I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to this week.
Week 2! Welcome, friend. This is my round-up of the stuff I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to over the past week. I’m writing these less as an exercise in anything actually resembling cultural criticism, and more as a record of the things I put in front of my eyes and ears throughout 2020.
The accidental theme this week is FAILURE.
In 2019, I copied what my mum’s been doing for years and kept a list of all the books I’d finished. Even though I just wrote down titles and authors, when I looked back at it so I could input them all into this new website I just joined called Goodreads which I think is really going to take off, the list awoke a lot of memories and feelings. It became a reminder of my imaginative pathway through the year.
It’s felt difficult to make concrete resolutions this year, but one of the things I’d like to do is a weekly look back at what I’ve listened to, watched, and read – an imaginative pathway through 2020. I’m an introvert, I spend a lot of my free time indoors, and I’m very invested in the arts, culture, and media I consume, and I’d like to consider all of that in a meaningful framework rather than feeling guilty about never going outside.
Plus it gives me something to do with these fucking Sunday afternoons. I cannot get the hang of Sunday afternoons.
I’m sharing these Reviews of the Week publicly because every now and then I remember how much I pay for a website with my name on it just so I can be the Emily Holyoake on the first page of Google.