Cloister Commentary, Day 272: The Immediate Present

I awakened feeling a ton better physically, but still a bit stressed mentally and emotionally. I mean, December usually weighs heavy at the same time that one is about exhausted from the (albeit arbitrary) year, but this one has been a doozy. I was worried about a claim that had hit a snag, about my mom’s arthritis, about my decision to kick a clinic visit can down the road…Nicole could see it on my face, hugged me around the neck, messed up my perfect part, and told me she understood. My favorite moment of the day, and it moved me into the immediate present. I knocked out another 20 holiday cards, mailed ’em, and read four CDs’ worth of sleeve notes that I’d been putting off.

Thursday is Movie Night here, of course. We ate Bangkok Garden leftovers (does anyone else send holiday cards to your favorite eateries?), popped some poopity-popcorn, poured a couple ginger beers with bourbon and lime, and watched episodes 3 and 4 of the amazing, hard-hitting, and seriously educational Steve McQueen series Small Axe. I cannot recommend it enough. I told Nicole that we are sure to look back on this series of films as major cultural landmarks; I hope we will have another Zoom discussion about them with Rebecca and Frank!

Streaming for Strivers:

Relative to Episode 4 of Small Axe. I was wondering when LKJ would make it onto the series’ stimulatin’ soundtrack–it was inevitable–and last night was the night. Final track from this record (I may have posted it previously, but it’s worth it–it isn’t streaming on Apple Music and I wonder why)…

…and I’m not forgetting your full album stream!

(6) Linton Kwesi Johnson : Reggae Greats (Full Album) – YouTube

Cloister Commentary, Day 253: Fabulous Finds

Nicole and I made some fabulous finds yesterday. In the world of pages, Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds is a quirky and surprisingly enlightening delight; she writes like she seems to be, and so far she earns George Saunders’ blurb. She is a fine humorist, but more is going on than that in her work.

We had been eagerly waiting for an opening to begin Steve McQueen’s perfectly-titled limited series Small Axe, and yesterday one presented itself. If the remaining episodes are as great as “Mangrove,” it will be a landmark that stands the test of time. Stories of black resistance to systematic British racism have been rarely told on the screen, and in this case one is told with pure fire. Can’t wait for “Lover’s Rock.”

Nicole tried her hand at vegetarian moussaka out of the Moosewood Cookbook, which has been a culinary presence during our entire time together. She’d made it before, but this time she nailed it. I had thirds if you count me scraping sauce and mushrooms out of the pan before she put it up.

We are happy to report that our Russian blue feline Smoky, who is a bit of a basement recluse, has been gingerly extending her perimeter into the upstairs. She is fearful for no reason, but she’s struck up a sunbathing friendship with her elder, Miss Cleo.

Cleo can’t wait.

Streaming for Strivers:

One of the great strivers in political music, whose work I fully expect to appear in Small Axe.