Strap yourself in for NO FUN AT ALL in this edition of The Mispronounced Item where we talk about male violence, male violence, and fire. We've watched claustrophobic Oscar contender Room (spoilers ahoy), Sarah reminisces about the horrible time she tried to read all the Red Riding books in one go, and Nathan's been playing new PS4 game Firewatch. Plus, we answer your questions in that feature at the end which we always forget to do!
This is a farrago. We try to have a serious chat about Netflix series Making a Murderer and the rise and rise of the true crime genre (mentions to this excellent critical response from the New Yorker, this NYT portrait of a special victims unit, and Leslie Jamison's essay on the West Memphis Three compiled in The Empathy Exams). But it starts to go off the rails when Nathan turns out to have really no opinions at all about The Revenant; and somehow, terribly, the section where we meant to pay tribute to David Bowie turns into a chat about the awful awful Krays film Legend, which turns into something basically unforgivable. Sorry!
Join us this week as Nathan talks seemingly endlessly about Star Wars - no, not even the new one, but about the prequel trilogy, digital effects, and the curse of the 1990s. Sarah has been reading Jonathan Bate's biography of Ted Hughes, a very sharp look at a titanic talent and an utter bastard, and Sarah has also reviewed Samantha Hunt's new novel Mr Splitfoot and did not like it, which leads to a discussion about how critics feel when they need to be mean about things (poor us!) and, inexplicably, a blow-by-blow summary of several episodes of Adam Buxton's new podcast. Sorry.
Let's just pick up where we left off and pretend we haven't ghosted you for months, yeah? We've assidiously rated THE WHOLE OF 2015 so we can talk at you about the actual best bits. We've got the best games, the best books, and the best films. (Not to give anything away on that last one, but there are a lot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers from 00:51:40 to 01:18:12. Like, we-will-ruin-your-viewing-pleasure spoilers. Consider yourself warned.) And remember: we're not content creators, we're entertainers!
OH MY GOD WHERE HAVE WE BEEN? HOW HAVE YOU COPED WITHOUT US? Top domestic chat this week about Nathan's sunglasses, which he has lost. While we've been away, Nath's been writing about YouTuber KSI: is he the worst thing that has ever happened or quite good? Sarah has been writing about new novella Grief is the Thing with Feathers, inspired by Ted Hughes: is he the worst thing that has ever happened, or quite good? And finally, Nath read a boring book about a leper and wants to tell you all about it even though Sarah does her best to distract him with a fascinating story about dead crows. Enjoy!
What did we do on our holiday? Well we went all gooey about Henry Cavill in The Man from Uncle, we thrilled to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and we didn't do any writing (because we were on holiday, duh) but Sarah's review of new Bond novel Trigger Mortis has just been published and she wrote about Anthony Horowitz's much-criticised comments on whether Idris Elba should play 007 – so you get some talk about all that. And at the 39 minute mark, genuinely the worst conversation we've ever had.
This week: Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy pushes humanity off a cliff (and frankly we deserve it), Justified lays down the law, and why people who say your A-levels don't matter are big smug liars. No pod next week as we're on holiday, but to be honest once you've heard Sarah's weird Gael García Bernal fantasy, you'll have had enough of us for a while.
Sorry we're late, Nath had to drive to Paignton and Paignton waits for no pod. Up this week: Sarah has watched brilliant coming of age drama The Diary of a Teenage Girl; Nath boldly decides to be the only human alive with a good thing to say about Vince Vaughn in True Detective season 2; some talk on art, appreciation and rap-rock as Sarah has reviewed Leon Neyfakh's The Next Next Level, about being the number one fan of Juiceboxxx; and of course, THE AGE OF ANSWERS. Till next time!
There was a moment when this podcast was going to be called Oryx and Lakes, because Sarah and Nath have been on holiday to Cumbria and Nath read Margaret Atwood while they were there. But then Sarah pointed out that, as she's read all the Oryx and Crake books, she would probably spoil them by accident if we talked about them. So instead you get a whole lot of talk about the National Trust properties of the Windermere region, a scamper through the unconscious with new Pixar movie Inside Out, a discussion of Matt Dillon's face and its work in Wayward Pines, and a bit at the end where we both start singing the word "MONEY" at each other because Sarah has listened to Dark Side of the Moon for the estimable RAM Album Club.
This week: Nath's been watching the FX series of Fargo, which stars Martin Freeman and is available on Netflix, and mostly enjoying its fine performances and refractions of Coen-brother themes and imagery. Watching Fargo was, for the most part, an attempt not to think too hard about James Meek's Private Island, an excellent book about the sell-off of Britain's state-owned enterprises and essentials over the last 35 years, which Sarah avoided by getting into Bond - she talks about Casino Royale, Moonraker, and the word "bitch". Offline Dating comes up for discussion in what we've written this week, and finally we answer your questions - and forget to be annoyed that the BBC American film poll doesn't include a single Coen brothers entry. Rubbish.
Don't stop, don't sleep, don't let your guard for one second: we've been watching It Follows and it is pretty bloody scary. Horror stories of another kind as Nath explores the raw brilliance and tabloid tragedy of Paul Gascoigne as revealed in a new documentary, which is strangely coy about the man's violence against his wife. And Sarah chats about her review of Scarlett Thomas's funny, ambitious and ecstatically rude new novel, The Seed Collectors. Plus! Our advice on mystery staircases, and the last word anyone will ever need on Byron (twat).
We went to see Mark Thomas do his new show about trespassing! That was good, so there's some chat about that and how it reminds Nath of his own experiences re-walking London. Then Sarah has read techno-conspiracy thrill-ride Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer and Nath has read Climbers by M John Harrison, so there's some chat about that. And then there's some more chat about things that we have been writing this week (Sarah: drinking in pregnancy and how it's weird that everyone is always telling women what to do; Nath: FIFA as an exemplar structural sexism), and also what Steve Hogarty has written, which is a brilliant piece about going to St Petersberg to play a game and having a terrible time. Then we answer some of your questions, and then there is NO MORE CHAT UNTIL NEXT TIME BYE.
Musical goings on this week, as Sarah heads off on a pilgrimage to Hyde Park to kneel at the altar of Taylor Swift, while Nath whispers the Warrior's Prayer and talks about Mogwai's excellent 20th Anniversary show. Metal remains a theme for our movies this week - the exquisitely odd and probably awful Excalibur and Hawk The Slayer - before Sarah gives the Pope a good shafting, and we try to answer your questions.
If you want to get in touch to comment on anything in the podcast or to ask questions for next week, you can leave a comment below or find us on twitter @SarahDitum and @NathanDitum. Go ahead and ignore Sarah's pinned tweet.
After a week away the podcast returns only HUGE, with two weeks' worth of thoughts and talk making this the longest and quite possibly least disciplined episode ever. Under discussion this week is HBO's dark documentary of privilege and injustice, The Jinx, as well as the Wachowskis' new Netflix show, Sense8. We discuss the conferences that stopped us recording last week - Nath went to E3 in LA, Sarah to the British Humanist Association in Bristol - and what we've written this week, including work on the return of Doom, the strangeness of LA, and Irish abortion. Then, in a new regular, we answer your questions - you here mostly meaning 'Caroline' - and for no reason at the end there's talk about Marc Maron's interview with Barack Obama.
Drugs, murder and collapsing identities: we follow the Silk Road to ruin with Wired's astonishing two-part feature. Then you can hark at Nathan's untrammelled enthusiasm for E3, listen to Sarah rave about Ali Smith winning the Baileys Prize, become marginally bilious with us as we grapple with dirty old man poetry, and get a bit giddy as we swoon over the lovely Nolan North.
If I told you this episode was about consciousness, empathy and growing up in Ex Machina, Leslie Jamison's essay The Empathy Exams and Judy Blume's new novel In the Unlikely Event, you might be like, "Hmm, interesting, I'll bookmark that for later." But! If I told you it's also about Sarah squawking "FOKKEN YOU IN DA FACE" and Nath doing impressions of a sad South African robot, you would probably press play instantly. All these things and more in the podcast people are calling "Front Row with swearing" or "Cunt Row". (Thank you Tom Doran!)
Mad Max: Fury Road is the week's big talking point, and some questions need to be answered: How on earth did it get made? Why is it so brilliant? And can Sarah pull off the "oil crown" Furiosa look in the office? Then, because in the distant future there is only phwaor, we take a look at Polly Vernon's Hot Feminist, before rounding on Game Of Thrones with a look that says "Stop bloody raping people, Game Of Thrones."
Not sure we actually get to the point at all this week, but ostensibly you will hear about: Taylor Swift's video and why it is brilliant (yes it is brilliant), practical magic in A Wizard of Earthsea, and Sarah has reviewed Kirsty Logan's novel The Gracekeepers. Hurrah!
A postmortem of Politics Christmas, which seems to have birthed a new era of intolerance and awfulness ALREADY, and can only be made better through the masochistic review of hopeful pre-election left-wing headlines. The Witcher 3 provides some respite from reality - "It's like real life, in a game" - but then Sarah brings the election back up by having written about it, and everyone waltzes offstage crying and reciting favourite passages from Flann O'Brien. Kafka's The Castle is somehow involved.
Sarah has read some BOOKS this week - namely Ali Smith's How To Be Both and Do It Like A Woman by Caroline Criado-Perez. Politics Christmas Eve is celebrated with Politics Quizmas, in which Sarah is challenged to identify local parliamentary candidates using snippets of their CVs and hompages ("I'd love to give up work, politics and city life and spend my time caring for large, wild cats") and Nathan has written something about Star Wars, motion and memory.