We continue this currently weekly glance at things appearing on the radar at the Watusi Country Club that have helped turn Winston's frown upside down while in lockdown. Each week expect a selection of movies, music, podcasts, streams, books and anything else currently popping his cork. If you have suggestions, then we suggest you suggest them in the comments section...
212) Music - Jon Cleary Quarantini Happy Hour. How do you fancy a private New Orleans piano concert in the comfort of your own lounge? John Cleary is about as good as it gets in the world of New Orleans piano and with his band, The Monster Gentlemen, is a mainstay at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He plays regularly at classic N.O. venues such as Tipitina's and the Maple Leaf Bar. Since lockdown he's been playing live solo concerts from his grand piano at home, taking requests, answering questions about musical history, music theory, piano playing and much else while sipping on a bespoke Quarantini. Brilliant!
John Cleary delivers a masterclass in New Orleans piano.
213) Music – Pangaea. Ever wondered what Western folk music would sound like played on classical Indian instruments? If you caught Pangaea at the Jam Factory in February you'd know the answer. Kiwi guitarist/composer/singer/songwriter Mike Hogan joined forces with tabla player Saptak Sharma, one of the top young musicians in India and a recent winner of the All India tabla competition, and flute and sitar player Mayank Raina. The results are stunning.
It really is hard to describe but the music seems the most natural thing in the world, adding texture and exotic colour to Mike's originals. There's even a Nick Drake cover! If you missed the show it's not to late to enjoy this unique, fascinating band.
214) Music – Hot Club Sandwich. The mainstays of swing trio Hot Club Sandwich are husband and wife Andrew and Kirsten London, currently in isolation down on the Kapiti Coast. But they've been busy as they usually are and have just sent out a 40 minute concert to their fans.
Live At The Londons Episode 1 is now on YouTube and they plan to follow with another 40 minute episode in a few days. They are now taking requests for Part 2 and Andrew has started a song called The Lockdown Isolation Blues. He is currently calling for help with the lyrics: you can see the lyrics so far on his website, so just use them as a template and send in your own versions.
215) Movie – Uncut Gems. Fancy an Adam Sandler movie to entertain you in isolation? Well this is Adam Sandler like you've never seen him before. He has been excellent in previous dramatic outings (Punchdrunk Love, Funny People) but the award nominations were all deserved for this tour-de-force as a hyperactive New York jeweller whose life is spiralling out of control in a cycle of debt, infidelity and lies.
The entire film runs on pure speed as the web of bad decisions slowly tightens around him. We've seen similar doomed characters that you can't help rooting for before but this brings a vital and exhausting new spin to the genre. Think very early Scorsese but with an extra shot of adrenalin.
216) Movie – Marriage Story. Want to catch up with those Oscar nominees? Check this out, a very human, very intimate portrait of a marriage in collapse. I realise that doesn't sound like a whole bunch of fun, and the rare moments where things explode are almost scarily honest, but the warmth and humanity with which the two protagonists are drawn makes for a lovely intimate drama.
Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver star and have never been better, and the superb support cast includes Laura Dern (who took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar), Alan Alda, Ray Liotta and Julie Hagerty.
2017) Movie – Okja. Enjoyed Oscar's Best Film winner Parasite? Or were those subtitles too much? How about checking out director Bong Joon-ho's previous film – it's in English. And what's not to love about the tale of a girl and her giant Superpig? Yep, that's the story. A young girl falls for the new experimental “superpig” she's been tasked with raising as part of a competition.
And, despite some lovely moments don't be fooled into thinking that this is all sweetness and light. Turns out the competition involves finding the most efficient and tastiest superpigs so, as you can imagine, a rescue mission is in order to save the titular porker. It's exciting, heart-warming, and surprisingly shocking towards the end as the industrial meat business comes under scrutiny.