Week 18

Kicking us off (she’s so violent) for round 2 is Knibbs, and here she goes…
"Dear Polly,

I’m going to continue the theme of being the assertive (Enthusiastic? …Bossy?) one and give you your first “required reading” “for” (“new!” “improved!”) “Culture Coach” “.”

This time I even have the luxury of sitting right next to you and not letting you read over my shoulder! …I feel so naughty?

Seeings as how we are mid-way through the West End production of Matilda (!!!) for £5 (!!!) I thought it would be entirely appropriate to make you read the original: Roald Dahl’s Matilda. You uncultured swine.
And as that read, fun though it is, won’t really fill your two weeks unless you read at a rate of a dyslexic snail, I’m going to break all of your rules (hashtagPissingOffTheBritish) and give you Extra Reading. In the form of Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler. It will provoke more questions than it answers and make you think of museums in a new light. Wonderful.
Music is harder…. So I’m dipping into my serious love for Australian hip-hop to give you the Hilltop Hoods’ Drinking From the Sun. This album is wonderful because it features orchestral instruments in some tracks and is generally a great-sounding album.
Please enjoy.
Knibbs xxxxx”

And we’re back!

Hello all,

After a break of just over a year, I’m getting spectacularly into the spirit of Easter with a resurrection of my own.

I so loved doing Culture Coach, and thought it was about time I got my act together and brought it back. So welcome old, welcome new, my haven’t you grown since I last saw you, how’s grandpa, etc, it’s time to get royally cultured together.

What is Culture Coach?

So for those of you who have signed up since I last updated and don’t really know why you’re here, click this magical link to find out what it is all about.

For anyone who wants to know what’s been covered so far, click this super button for a run down.

(For those of you who played along before, this resurrection includes the slight edit that instead of one week per update, it will now be two.)

Lets go! 

(Future weeks upcoming)

Hi all from hot Phoenix. Sorry for lack of updates. Been doing that ol’ travellin thing with culture coach Knibbs. Which obviously leads to a day trip to Phoenix. Whether it’s the weather (I am a puddle of sweat), the cultural hotspots (very large Alzheimer’s centre) or kindness of strangers (a man laughed at Knibbs when she tripped over a pothole), I can’t recommend a holiday to Phoenix any more.

To keep you going in the meantime if you are beside yourselves with desperation for my input into your cultural lives:

I’m reading A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins. The great thing about the richness and vastness of English history is that this is an absolute page turner. Filled with explanations for questions you didn’t even realise you were asking, it provides a great commentary to link up all of English history.

Week 17

Thanks Neil


"Your film is either

ALL THAT JAZZ by Bob Fosse — a musical about making art and dying.
KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS - an Ealing Comedy. This one about murder, starring Sir Alex Guinness as more or less everybody.
(Depending on whether you have seen one of these or if your semi amnesiac cultcha tutor has put it on the list already. All That Jazz for preference.)
Your book is THE WASP FACTORY by Iain Banks. It’s short. It’s nasty. It’s brilliant. It’s funny. It’s not like anything else. It was where Iain started, more or less.
Your music is IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS by Frank Sinatra. Songs of heartbreak and despair, all to be sung in bars at 3 am when it’s closing up but if you don’t tell someone why your heart is breaking you might as well just head off into the mist of the night and never come back again.”

Week 16

G’day m’hearties. Already started on this week’s book and it’s a corker. 
"For this week:
Your book is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. One of the best college campus novels out there and fantastic suspense.
For music, you must listen to The Information by Beck. I promise you you will love it. Beck is continuing to do really interesting things in music, like releasing his latest album as sheet music only (called Song Reader) with accompanying art.
As for films, I can’t believe nobody has given you Hitchcock yet! I’m not sure if I’ve seen more Hitchcock or Burton films…. Watch any of these you haven’t already seen: PyschoRear WindowDial M for Murder. (For starters.)
Knibbs xx”

Week 15

FIFTEEN. Madness. Enjoy! (Sidebar: I’m on mobile at the moment. I’m going to come back later and add bolds and hyperlinks. This will only bother me. This note is entirely for me. Just so long as we’re all clear.)

“So yeah - this whole kultcha thing you got going on. Here’s another slice for ya!

BOOK: Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. I spent my high school years wanting to be Cayce Pollard.
MUSIC: Version 2.0 by Garbage. I spent most of 1998 and 1999 wanting to be Shirley Manson.
MOVIE: Tank Girl (1995). I still kinda want to be Tank Girl.

Enjoy those tasty morsels.

xxx J”

Week 14

Right.  Well, books…

You get to pick: Sweet or sour.  If you go Sweet: it’s THREE MEN IN A BOAT (not to mention the dog) by Jerome K Jerome. A Victorian story of three men who go off on a boating holiday on the Thames. It’s a travelogue, a collection of humorous anecdotes, and so many other things. From 1889

Sour: The Turn of the Screw. By Henry James. From 1898. A novella. It’s a ghost story, or it’s a story of madness: a governess becomes convinced that her charges are being haunted by the spirits of her predecessors. How you read this book changes the nature o fwhat you’re reading.

MUSIC: I’m glad you liked Patti Smith.

I’ve not suggested any Best of… Albums so far. But I think I will: TALES OF A LIBRARIAN, by Tori Amos. It’s a real solid Best Of of Tori’s first decade making music. You’ll hear her sing about me in Tear In Your Hand. She’s unique and smart and the songs on here are a good selection of what she does.

Something to watch: A Clockwork Orange. Kubrick’s dystopic take on Anthony Burgess’ novel: violence and free will and beethoven. A film that was unavailable in the UK for over 30 years because every time they showed it (anecdotally) violence went up. Huge philosophical questions about free will and evil and suchlike. Some of it is hard to watch, but in the cultural literacy stakes it’s this or Kubrick’s The Shining, and this is a more important film.”

From the oracle himself, Neil.

Edit: I noticed that Neil has actually suggested A Clockwork Orange before. Keep it to yourselves, but I failed to watch it last time… I’m not very good at films. So I’m leaving it there in the hope I might watch it this time. Perhaps. Maybe.

Mailing List

Should any of you culture MANIACS want to join my mailing list, there is a way! Send an email to culturecoachpolly AT gmail DOT com, or leave your email address in my ask box. I’ll email out the prescriptions at the beginning of each new week.

Warning! Side effects include never again missing a week, my complete inability to tell how long a week really is, and my shambolic attempts at occasional wit, right in your inbox.

Week 13

Unlucky for some… Enjoy! 
It’s Week Thirteen like Commander Keen. Kudos on your continuing commitment to Culcha!
For this week:
Tom Waits’ voice has been famously described as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.” I love the way Tom Waits experiments with different styles of music, but I’m mostly drawn to his industrial sounds. I had trouble choosing an album because my favourite songs are spread across all of them, but I think my all-time favourite may be Jockey Full of Bourbon.
EXTRA: Make sure you look up the spoken poem What’s He Building? from the album Mule Variations as well. So. Fucking. Good.
It’s Oscar Wilde. Does it really need an explanation? Much more Gothic than say, The Importance of Being Earnest, but has one of those way-out crazy-original premises that has you on the edge of your seat. I keep meaning to read more of Wilde’s stories.
Good, proper vintage Tim Burton before he got a bit boring and repetitive. Fantastic production design and whimsical story.


Week 12

G’day one and all. New week is upon us. I’ve completely lost track of what weeks are, but here is this week’s course, after a weekish sort of time gap from the last one. Enjoy! 

"Howdy sweet-pea. It’s to get kultcha-fied! 

BOOK: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I myself only read this for the first time last year, and was astounded by all the popculture references that suddenly made a whole lot of sense. You too should experience this burst of enlightenment!

MUSIC: Avalon by Roxy Music. Because screw you and shut up. 

FILM: In the Mood for Love (2000) directed by Wong Kar-wai. Because of brilliance, and of love and lighting and camera angles and hair and dresses and sheer perfection.

Get it up ya.” - Jordan