A very mixed bag of a fortnight. Week 1 was a real dud, other than popping back to my parents' and seeing Lola.
I started listening to the new Kermode and Mayo podcast because I needed to listen to something familiar, chill and comforting, and outside of the obscenity of hearing them do ad reads, it is extremely charming how it's exactly the same as it was back when I last listening regularly in uni. (One recent episode had them looking back at a newspaper clipping from when they did Star Wars Episode 1 premiere coverage in 1999, and it sounds like they were exactly the same then too.)
Week 2 has been a bit better, though! We're finally starting to transition into autumn proper—"sunny" no longer really means "warm", and we've had to get the winter duvets out of the cupboard. Much as I love summer and the long days, I'm really up for this. I'm way more comfortable at this temperature, and it better suits my preferred colour palette for clothing.
One good thing that's happened this fortnight is that CM's got into Community. I started watching Community in sixth form, around the time the second series was airing, but I most strongly associate it with university (even though the majority of the time it was actually airing while I was at university it was series 4 and on, and therefore not good). This was at least in part, I think, because I spent a good deal of (early) university introducing people to it, so much like Arrested Development I have almost perfect recall of the first 10 or so episodes. Coming back to it now, while I think it's attracted a mildly insufferable Firefly-esque fan following (I saw just yesterday that they're making a film now—come on guys, it's been over ten years) it's still a really solid, funny show.
Because of this, and out of a need for more audio comfort than Kermode and Mayo alone can provide, I've been going back through Study Group, a podcast by Kieron Gillen and friends which I listened to back on its original release in 2015, specifically about the second series of Community (the best series). I don't usually feel like I have this reaction to podcasts, but I did a little bit for this one. I think it just put me back in time a bit: so much of my time—and so many of my conversations with my friends—used to be the kind of ones which are had on the show, about the media we all consumed. (Community, in particular, is a show that is laser-targeted toward hyper-media-literate smart alecks who watch too much other TV.)
For quite a while, though, that's not really been true—partly due to shifting friendships, partly due to the onset of adulthood and what that does to your time, partly just due to changing preoccupations. It was starting to become untrue around the time that the podcast first released: I remember distinctly losing interest in Game of Thrones around that time, and it was also when, after years of struggling through, Doctor Who finally threw me off. I just wasn't really Watching Shows as much any more. Maybe some of it was that the prestige-y shows I liked weren't really around, or at least not in the same way? Was that when the Golden Age was on the way out; when streaming was fully on the rise? I'm not really sure.
Anyway, Study Group is a nice warm bath show; one of the hosts also did a video game radio show/podcast I used to listen to, One Life Left, which I checked and appears to be still going! I'm always impressed by things that somehow just keep going; podcasts which are 'the first x' or 'an early successful x' always seem to have an imperial phase where they do a lot of extra-podcast stuff, get a lot of attention, then fall off doing that and peter out as the shape of the hosts' lives change (the classic blogger's 'one post, two post, sorry-I'll-do-more final post' dance). If you're lucky, you get to go the Memetic Hazard route and go on, sporadically, forever.
Speaking of Community and podcasts: I forgot John Oliver is in it! For me at the time, of course, he was the guy who was on early series of Mock The Week, and responsible for The Bugle's increasing infrequency. Despite finding his latter-day regeneration into Jon Stewart heartily insufferable (which seems recent to me but has in fact been going since 2014; I have no sense of relative temporal positioning), the fact that he kept doing The Bugle even afterhe had his own big American TV show has always endeared him to me. The money can't have been any good; he just wanted to carry on having fun with his friend.
Last Community observation (maybe I should've done a separate post but hey-ho): a lot of the jokes about gender, sexuality, race etc relations feel edgier today than I think they did at the time. I also think if this show were being made today, Britta would be treated differently. Her job is to provide largely correct, if sometimes crowbarred-in structural political critiques (which she will often somewhat undermine by 'acting against the point' of them for comedic effect later on) and then getting treated as a killjoy by everyone else. I can't say this with any great certainty—as I've established, with a few exceptions, I don't really watch modern TV any more—but intuitively it feels like if you were doing it today she wouldn't be the butt of so many jokes?
To end, I have contracted a really wretched cold-in-reverse. Usually my colds start with the sneezing and proceed (if they're bad enough) to a sore throat; this one has decided to go backwards. Though I felt like absolute garbage all afternoon yesterday, I popped out to get some stuff for lunch and found myself wandering past the Enough Is Enough protest that had settled at the Level. It was very comforting to see so many familiar faces—and so many unfamiliar ones—out in support. Had to keep my distance so I didn't give them all a cold, though!