By Hugh Cadman, Specialist Content Creator
Our specialist Content Creators are quiet wordsmiths devoted to perfecting articles, blogs and marketing materials that hit the spot for clients. When Christmas comes they like to relax by reading about serial killers, global wars and the antics of millionaire footballers. Oh, they also like napping and watching old family favourites on the telly. This year is no exception, despite the strange circumstances of the pandemic.
Here is what they are up to:
This Christmas I plan to re-read ‘Kill Your Friends’ by John Niven. It’s similar to American Psycho but set against a ‘Cool Britannia’ backdrop with plenty of 90s pop culture references and a generous side trimming of acerbic wit. Having grown up in the 90s, I really enjoyed reading this the first time around, although my experience of the era didn’t involve nearly half as much depravity. It’s certainly not your ordinary Christmas read, but this isn’t going to be any ordinary Christmas.
I’m not too fussed about watching anything over the holidays – we’ve binged a lot of TV though the different lockdowns and tiers of 2020 and I’ll be grateful for a break from screen time. The other members of my household can fight over the TV remote while the dog and I scuffle over space to nap on the sofa.
I’m currently reading The Second World War, an epic history of the last global conflict by one of our best military historians, Antony Beevor. It is very well written throughout and pays equal attention to the stories of civilians in the conflict zones as to those of the combatants, which really helps to bring the whole narrative to life.
In terms of TV, one of the best series I’ve watched this year is ‘Dark’, a German science fiction thriller which follows the lives of different families in one small town in the present day and also at various points in the past as they travel back in time. It has quite a claustrophobic feel to it and is unsettling, tense and gripping all the way through.
This year, much of my TV watching has been driven by the launch of Disney+. For me, The Mandalorian successfully balanced new storytelling with lots of references to the original trilogy of films for longtime Star Wars fans. I also enjoyed watching The World According to Jeff Goldblum, where the actor best known for starring in Jurassic Park travels the world to learn the history around topics such as jeans, tattoos and ice cream.
For some light relief from a troubling year, I took the opportunity to delve into a humorous book by reading Peter Crouch – How to be a footballer, where the infamously tall former striker takes a self-deprecating look at his efforts to fit in with the “footballer’s lifestyle”. Well worth a read for anyone with an interest in the sport. For those who have already checked it out, he also has his own podcast!
For what threatens to be the least Christmassy-feeling Christmas in living memory I will be making a concerted effort to fill our house with as much of the usual ‘magical atmosphere’ as possible by playing an unrelenting line-up of classic Christmas films and music. It will start with what must rank as one of the most hilarious ‘Christmas flicks’ of all time – Home Alone (perhaps Joe Pesci’s career standout role). Then my long-suffering kids will yet again be subjected to watching some of my favourite childhood films, along with a few favourites of their own (if there’s enough time).
Of course, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without seeing A Charlie Brown Christmas at least once and listening to its incredibly evocative soundtrack by the Vince Garibaldi Trio (surely the best Christmas album ever) at least 10 times on its own. Once these have all been checked off, we will all get to enjoy Gremlins, Muppets Christmas Carol, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and A Nightmare Before Christmas. On the listening side, James Brown’s Funky Christmas will get lots of play, along with Snoop Dogg Presents Christmas in tha Dogg House and A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector.
It’s beginning to look a lot like… house arrest, so books are a welcome escape. I’ve decided to read previous Christmas gifts I never got round to, which includes “How not to be wrong. The hidden maths of everyday life.” This is a challenging subject matter for a functioning innumerate. So far I’ve enjoyed Zeno’s paradox and learning what “the math” told Americans about where to stick armour-plating on a fighter aircraft. I don’t, however, expect to be conversant with Python, R, random forests or indeed, any data science techniques by twelfth night. Yet although I rely on clients for specialist knowledge and insight, there’s no reason to struggle with Bayesian Inference or hyperbolic geometry (we’ll see if I get that far). I have no idea what I will watch to extract value from the TV licence. Too busy doing sums, I hope.