March…my month to be the sweet birthday baby.
Some unsolicited life advice: I have tried therapy and find watching cooking shows a far more preferable - not to mention affordable - means of catharsis. To this end, I watched Samin Nosrat’s SALT FAT ACID HEAT this month and really responded to her unconventional approach to thematising each episode according to her four elements of cooking. Using a different location to epitomise each elemental approach, the show is beautifully shot and truly mouth-watering viewing from the Chez Panisse alumna. I was also besotted with the functional style of Nosrat’s kitchen.
I managed to fit in one more performance at the Perth Festival before it ended for another year. Dada Masilo’s Giselle was an inventive reworking of the traditional ballet, inflected with South African folklore and feminist resolve. The choreography, costumes (the blood red dresses worn by the Wilis!) and music completely transformed the ballet’s original narrative. It is also the first time I have seen someone give the middle finger as part of a balletic performance. Trés punk.
I tend to get overly excited whenever March rolls around because I (always mistakenly) believe that the cooler weather of autumn has arrived. And with autumn comes my favourite thing to make: soup, which I will always start making in March irrespective of whether the temperature has dropped. I received Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Ostro for my birthday and it has an excellent chapter of soup recipes among other delights. A special mention goes to Busuttil Nishimura’s Barley, Cavolo Nero and Beef Broth, which was the perfect comfort dish to soothe my end of the weekend malaise on a Sunday evening.
I changed up my podcast listening this month and stopped using my morning and afternoon commutes to listen to international news. Let’s be real, catching a crowded bus can be punishing enough without listening to the continual demise of modern politics. My new bus companion is David Tennant’s David Tennant Does a Podcast With… His sexy Scottish accent and the intimate banter of the interviews make this an absolute delight.
After so many good reviews I picked up a copy of Otessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation and devoured it. The premise of the book - a female protagonist who attempts to spend one year in a narcotic-induced sleep - is completely disturbing, but is recouped by Moshfegh’s absurd wit.
This month saw the sad passing of one of my favourite filmmakers, Agnès Varda. She continually infused the magic of the everyday into her cinema and pushed the boundaries of the genre with great affection and intelligence. For anyone looking for a quick crash course in Varda, I recommend her shorts L’Opera Mouffe (1958) and Les 3 Boutons (2015), which were filmed over fifty years apart but equally encapsulate Varda’s filmic sensibility.