I’ve just finished the last episode of Years & Years, the show which so traumatised me (but in a good way?) when I started it a month ago. As the series went on I adjusted to the terrible bleakness of this very-near-future Britain and focused on the momentum of a good old-fashioned story – which was good, because I couldn’t have coped with six episodes at the same intensity of the first – but I do highly recommend if you get the chance.
It was certainly more relaxing and joyful experience seeing Education, Education, Education with Tash on Wednesday night. This was her birthday gift to me and it couldn’t have been a more perfect choice: an education politics-themed play set in a secondary comprehensive with a great 1990s soundtrack and lots of undisguised nostalgia about going to school at that time even if everything was falling apart behind the scenes. (OK, sure, I was still in primary school but I had a Tamagotchi too! A fancy, later-generation 8-in-1 which included an alien and about which Olivia and I got into trouble for discussing during an assembly rehearsal… but I digress.) The German teaching assistant, narrator and breaker of the fourth wall was a particularly funny touch. But it was also heartfelt, with sympathetic characters and a thoughtfulness about education if not an incredibly precise point to make about the path from 1997 to today. I’d recommend this one too.
This weekend we headed up to Norwich for Biff and Christa’s wedding. Randi turned out to be very pro-Norwich, scolding me for not having enough faith in their bus network which, be fair, did deliver us to the right place at a fraction of the cost of Dover’s buses. We had a really good time at what was – for me at least! – largely an excuse for a mini Groupon UK reunion. The Star Wars philosophical poem during the service was also magnificent, while the food – as you might expect from the owners of Biff’s Jack Shack – was top notch. I particularly enjoyed sitting in a group on the grass outside after the sun went down and munching happily on a vegan jackfruit burger which somehow preserved all of the greasy fast-food deliciousness as anything you might hope for from a late-night food van. In truth, it was also a moment of great relief since I’d just managed – on my third attempt – to find a cab company with any cabs left to pick us up. Ah, Norfolk.
The next day I headed straight to Cambridge for PuntCon, Bill’s annual gathering on the River Cam which I attended for several years running before I left for Chicago and kept begging to be kept on the invite list each year so that I could eventually make it back some day. I finally did, and it was lovely to see Bill, Katie and Max again as well as enjoy the usual stimulating conversations over a picnic which makes the hayfever all worth while. (Although I was not at all pleased to learn that the UK is now home to some kind of evil spider whose bites can rot away your skin. This is not the kind of change we needed.)
Having watched both England and the US progress through the quarter finals at the Women’s World Cup last week, Randi and I now have a difficult week ahead. It’s pretty unfortunate that the one-in-a-million sporting event which I happened to watch has thrown up this collision… 😬