Highlights from the last month, as chosen by the entertainment enthusiasts at Red Bee.
BEST ALBUM: LOCK-IN
Kiwi band Fat Freddy's Drop present the LOCK-IN album, a collection of uplifting melodies of freedom to inspire hope for a generation. The studio session was captured at the iconic Michael Fowler Centre in the band’s hometown of Wellington, New Zealand during the pandemic lockdown. Devoid of audience, it’s a reflection of the surreal times that have halted the band’s tour in 2020. The album is a brilliant piece of modern dub from an incredible 21st century cult band. A wonderful listen that will take you out of this scary time and into a fun bouncy dream world.
BEST RADIO: CILLIAN MURPHY's LIMITED EDITION
For those who like working late into the night, Cillian Murphy's Limited Edition on BBC Radio 6 Music offers a comforting nocturnal soundtrack. With an intimate homemade feel somewhat similar to that of John Peel's classic late-night show, the star of Peaky Blinders shares his love of music by taking us into the depths of his eclectic record collection, with lesser-known tracks from well-known artists, plus some obscure low-fi gems befitting the twilight hours. Broadcasting out of his basement at home (he even makes his own jingles), the show is replete with anecdotes from his youth as well as insights into what he's been doing during lockdown. On air every Monday from 12am to 2am, or available to stream on BBC Sounds.
BEST FESTIVAL: UNLOCK VIRTUAL FESTIVAL
The Unlock Festival, running every Saturday and Sunday through October until mid-November, is a hugely-ambitious and richly-rewarding online festival curated to raise money for The Prince’s Trust. Hundreds of musicians, comedians, vloggers and more have already contributed. Highlights so far include comedy from Tim Key and music from Bloxx, Jack Savoretti, Nadine Coyle and KT Tunstall. But the real joy is to be found (in the spirit of The Prince’s Trust) on stumbling upon young, emerging artists. With country music hours, songs from stars of West End musicals and cookery talks, this is the closest thing you will get to a trip to a festival from your sitting room. Follow them on Instagram for line-ups, and the content is staying on YouTube till January so loads of time to catch up and donate!
BEST AUDIOBOOK: LOVE BY RODDY DOYLE
Love is a booze and banter-fuelled account of two old friends reconnecting, reminiscing and exchanging anecdotes while on a pub crawl around Dublin. It’s pure brilliance. Not just because of the narrative, and the twist in the tale, but the amazing soothing voice of the narrator, Brendan Gleeson. We say read the book, or better still listen to the audiobook via Radio 4 or BBC Sounds.
BEST COMEDY: HOW TO LIVE A JELLICLE LIFE
In a normal year, the autumn is a time when those of us who didn’t make it up to Edinburgh for the Fringe can get a little taster of some of the best/freshest/funniest/weirdest comedy and live performances of the year. Local theatres put on short runs and we can remind ourselves of what makes live theatre so great. This year is obviously very different and that is maybe why it was extra-special to go to an actual theatre to see an actual comedy show that should have actually premiered at the Fringe this year. How to Live a Jellicle Life is a one-man parody, written and performed by Linus Karp, that celebrates one of the biggest cinematic flops of recent years: the 2019 film adaptation of Cats. Linus, who is genuinely very passionate about the film, about Judi Dench, and about all things ‘jellicle’, is aware that not everyone in the audience may share his unbridled enthusiasm and sets out to analyse the highs and (many) lows of the film in what one reviewer called “a cross between an academic analysis of b-movie flop and a giggle-inducing camp stand up show.” He sold out the run but it’s coming back in December so it’s not too late to get jellicle.
Stay tuned for more next month