Cultural Life: Stephen Merchant, comedian
Friday 18 November 2011
Television: I've been enjoying Mark Cousins's 'The Story of An Odyssey' on More4. A lot of people seem to take great umbrage at his voice, but I have no problem with it. I think he's really great and informed and smart. I did film studies at university so maybe I'm slightly more tolerant of what some people probably see as pretentious over-analysis.
Films: I've been watching a lot of those existential American thrillers from the Seventies, like Robert Altman's 'The Long Goodbye', and another one called 'Night Moves' with Gene Hackman. They're very bleak and open-ended, really thoughtful and leisurely paced, and it's a great shame that they don't make that sort of thing anymore. George Clooney, with films like 'The Ides of March', is one of the only people who can still get these films made. I can't really get with a lot of mainstream cinema these days, it just feels a bit too juvenile for me. I think I'm beginning to feel old.
Music: I quite enjoyed the recent Ryan Adams and James Blake albums, but I tend to rely on the old standbys, like Tom Waits. I used to be really on-the-ball culturally; I knew what was happening in music and films, but nowadays I feel so left behind. The horrible truth is you find yourself saying, "Well, I've heard it all before."
Books: There's a book called 'Letters to a Young Poet' by Rainer Maria Rilke, where he's writing letters at the turn of the last century. They're just very elegant, beautiful and thoughtful letters about everything from sex to God. It makes you realise how, in an age of texting and Twitter, these profound philosophical letters that people used to write have evaporated.
Stephen Merchant's nationwide tour, 'Hello Ladies', runs to 12 December. 'Life's Too Short' is on BBC2 on Thursdays
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 3 Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 5 Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
Fight Club 2: Chuck Palahniuk sequel is a 'meta-fictional comment on the cultural response to the original'
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Panic! At The Disco donate $1000 to gay rights group after Westboro Baptist Church picket
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains