I’ve caught up on Star Trek: Discovery. I’ve spoken about the pacing, and this doesn’t seem to have improved a great deal. In the most recent episode, there’s an urgent decision that must be made. It should feel like watching Kenneth Branagh’s Iago swoop in to deliver a devious blow with a knife. Instead, a full minute and a half passes, including a long speech about game theory, before an inciting incident takes place. It’s telegraphed from a mile off and truly does the actors a disservice. DISCO is at its best when it’s a small number of actors on a set left to do their thing.
I’ve been consuming quite a bit more fiction this week (maybe to distract myself from the awfulness of the news.) I finished Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis, a book I enjoyed, but I shall save writing about it until I’ve completed the sequel. Centaurworld season 2’s episode where the herd encounters its own fandom just serves to remind me why I don’t interact with fandoms, ever. We just started watching This Is Going To Hurt, based on the book by Adam Kay (of Amateur Transplants fame) and starring Ben Wishaw as a spectacularly prickly but ultimately sympathetic version of Kay. Three episodes in and I’m convinced it’s quite possibly the best thing on TV at the moment. (I was amused to find on Twitter searching for the show that some deeply transphobic media voices have declared the show and Kay’s book ‘misogynist’ because he reduces women to their body parts—and never mind that these people’s entire schtick is based on ‘womanhood’ being inexorably and immutably tied to how a doctor classifies someone’s external sexual organs at birth. Irony is truly dead.)
I also started listening to The Trojan Horse Affair, from the podcast producers of Serial. I was willing to give this a miss (having not thought much of previous spin-off S-Town) but Trojan Horse is an entirely different beast that is frequently, and unsurprisingly, enraging. I was only vaguely aware of the furore. The naked Islamophobia on display is galling, as is the sheer nerve of those who freely admitted that, while it’s likely the inciting letter was faked, it might be someone concocting a fictionalised account of something they’re legitimately concerned about, as if that justifies anything—good grief!
After coming home from Canterbury, we brought the olive tree inside in preparation for Storm Eunice. It’s the only large plant on our balcony that seemed especially vulnerable, since the tree’s foliage and its ‘head’ is all above the parapet. The olive tree didn’t seem to care. The crocuses underplanted in the pot took being brought into a warm flat as an invitation to open—this then set free a bee that had been hiding inside one of them. At least this means we’ve attracted wildlife to the balcony! (For reference: Alice Vincent’s suggestions on how to deal with a balcony garden in a storm were super helpful.)
I was thinking our corner of Stratford had avoided the worst of the storm, but I took a few walks today and found a few uprooted trees:
This leads us neatly into Bulb Watch: the Narcissus ‘Grand Soleil d'Or’ are now comfortably putting on a delightful show, with coronas that seem too small and intricate to be real. I got a whiff of them when bringing the olive tree in and was genuinely taken aback. This week I’m hoping for more muscari action, and for the weather to brighten up (once Storm Franklin has gone away) so the crocuses can open for a bit again before they go over.