Podcasts & Appetisers
Looking Back with Leonard Cohen
This week, amid the chaotic cocktail of politics and economics, we lost a great from the world of music and poetry – Leonard Cohen. Through his illustrious life and his profound meditations on life, religion, philosophy, even democracy, through performing, Cohen captured the imaginations of millions across the world and across generations.
In this episode of the The New Yorker Hour, host David Remnick travels with Cohen, one last time, on a journey down memory lane. This is both a treasure for the seasoned Cohen fan, as he speaks from the medical chair as well as a beautiful introduction to the uninitiated. Cohen speaks with thought provoking clarity, on his motivations, on how he has influenced many iconic songwriters, his process of songwriting, his spiritual journey(s) and much more. This is a great listen for the artist-in-residence within each one of us!
TV Shows & Main Course
Freaks and Geeks (1999)
Freaks and Geeks is the perfect show to binge watch over the weekend and relive that awkward moment of being a teenager and trying to fit in and not really having a well formed sense of oneself. Set in 1980, the series explores high school primarily through Lindsay and Sam Weir. While Lindsay tries to navigate and fit in with the ‘freaks’ (having erstwhile been a geek), Sam and his friends find themselves pigeonholed as ‘geeks’ in high school.
What I liked about the show is that it looks at the marginal groups in high school, rather than the usual focus of most high school dramas, with humour and depth. Only 18 episodes long, each one is well crafted, exploring these characters with empathy – even the bullies. The show which is produced by Judd Apatow, also has a stellar cast as an added bonus!
Books & Desserts
Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan (2015) [Peter Oborne]
Pakistan has received an incredible amount of negative press in the recent past, often being the butt of jokes and being derided as a complete basket case and the verge of collapse. What has been conveniently ignored is that this is a country of 200mn, with as much diversity in terms of sects, races & religions as any other and 99% of the people living in the land are kind and extremely hospitable.
Oborne attempts to view the tumultuous and seismic change in this region of the world through the lens of cricket and how cricket in the country was a manifestation of the upheaval borne in the aftermath of Partition, the single largest human migration event in history. This cataclysmic event was followed by the musical chairs policies pursued by successive governments. Note that the title of the book is ‘cricket in Pakistan,’ not ‘Pakistani cricket;’ cricket played in the streets by young children, by women, by warring factions in the ignored tribal areas all receive attention in this magnificent chronological portrayal by Oborne. It is heartwarming and genuinely moving to read about how this sport has united and given hope to a country seemingly always in the throes of despair and if nothing else, it will make you (re)discover your love for this game.