Podcasts & Appetisers
Revolutions (Mike Duncan)
I might be late to the party, but I am here to stay. I had heard of the History of Rome podcast, which shot Mike Duncan to fame, but it was Revolutions that got me interested.
I’m still on the first season, which takes us from Charles I’s ascendancy to the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and man am I hooked. Duncan goes into the details of the war, and while it can get dry at points, he is able to keep us interested through his wit. For history nerds, listening to this podcast while colouring is a good way to spend the day!
Poems & Main Courses
Boy in the Sand (Emtithal ‘Emi’ Mahmoud)
“Boy in the Sand” is a moving poem by Sudanese-American slam poet Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud. In the last two weeks, at least 96 children have died and over 220 children have been gravely injured in eastern Aleppo in the ongoing military onslaught. Global summits bringing leaders together to deliberate what can be done for refugees are being met with mixed reactions. Will political promises remain empty words or will things really change?
The poem is a tribute to children fleeing conflict, in remembrance of one particular boy – Aylan Kurdi, the sight of whom, washed ashore in Lesvos, having made a treacherous journey through the Mediterranean Sea, grabbed eyeballs and broke hearts the world over, last year. Emi Mahmoud’s words resonate with vulnerability, with helplessness, telling a story that somehow seems too nightmarish to be true.
Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMjIUneTF6M
Films & Desserts
There comes a time in everyone’s life when we leave our individual safe havens & venture out into a terrifying, brand-new world, with little to no support system and having to start from the bottom. This is, in essence, what Brooklyn is about.
A heart-rending tale of a young Irish woman, leaving economically-troubled Ireland for the promise of a future in the USA, Brooklyn encapsulates perfectly the emotions associated with such a period in someone’s life – the agony and reluctance to leave in the first place, the terrible homesickness initially, the awkwardness when interacting with strange people in an even stranger land and the feeling that you are alone amongst a multitude of people, all with their social circles. The girl, played heartbreakingly well by Saoirse Ronan, is a maelstrom of the aforementioned emotions.
What I loved about the film is that there is no attempt made to spin such an experience into something positive – it is painful, extremely difficult and it is inevitable that the first few weeks/months will be absolute hell. What the film does offer though is the gradual realisation that everything will be alright. You will adapt. You will make friends. You will meet someone. You will be happy once more. And our generation could do with that message more than ever in today’s world.