Catch up: June 2020

Welcome to the latest of GRIN’s monthly round ups. While COVID-19 is still keeping us all at home, despite lockdown being eased, this month we’ve asked our Strategy Director, Gareth, to share what’s currently on his radar.

As we enter the halfway stage of the year (how? where’s the time gone? etc.) we thought it might be nice to find out what one of our team has been recently enjoying. Across, TV, art, music, books, podcasts and films, we’ve asked Gareth to fill us in on what he’s getting into.

TV – High Fidelity

I know no one is short of telly recommendations, especially during lockdown, but it’s an easy one to start with. I’m late on this and first saw this mentioned by Phoebe Lovatt. This is the 2020 reboot of Nick Hornby’s novel (also notably made into a film with John Cussack) featuring Zoe Kravitz in the main role. I’ll be honest, I’ve never read the book, quite enjoyed the previous film but this series is brilliant. (There is also a lot less mansplaining than the film.) Kravitz is spot-on in the role of the over-opinionated record shop owner but, to be honest, is outshone by Da’Vine Joy Randolph playing one of her two employee/best friends. Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty good (understatement) curated by Questlove

Art – Pete Fowler x Hockney x Colston

In amongst the very serious and necessary Black Lives Matter protests and calls for white allies to “do the work”, this Pete Fowler reinterpretation of David Hockney’s famous “A Bigger Splash” is a perfect way to show that not all “the work” has to be the same and we can use our own medium to show allyship and support. Featuring a combination of the original painting, combined with the statue of slave trader Edward Colston being thrown in the sea, this nicely irreverent artwork is a clever take on a very serious issue.

Music – The Lesson: DJ Gilla & Mr Thing

On WorldwideFM, this seems to be becoming a regular show for these two heavy-hitters, demonstrating a simple format, perfectly executed: take a classic rap album, discuss it, play the best tracks and combine a mix of original samples cut into said album tracks. Following the first episode featuring Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, this episode highlights A Tribe Called Quest’s second LP, The Low End Theory. Not only do I love the featured LP, I love the behind the scenes anecdotes as well as the diverse selection of source material the two hosts pull from.

Book – Just My Type by Simon Garfield

This was a tough choice, between the typographic miscellany I’ve chosen and Ruben Pater’s exploration of the political context of design in his The Politics of Design. While I love Pater’s book and it keeps me dipping in and out due to its easily accessible nature and really engaging content. I’ve gone for Garfield’s compendium because I think for both designer, type nerds and the typical person looking for something interesting, this has it all. It’s not too nerdy that non-design people will be put off and it’s also not too basic for type nerds to turn their nose up at it. It had a lot I didn’t already know and I love the font specific chapters interspersed throughout the book.

Podcast – Creative Boom

I’ll be honest, I’m not a podcast person. I know everyone is very keen to recommended what they’re currently listening to but I don’t really get it. I can see the appeal between a book and a documentary, and I know it might be sacrilege to say it, but I’d rather watch a documentary or read a book. That being said I listened to all of this episode of the Creative Boom podcast because our very our Motion Director, Dan Silverstone, is the interviewee. Biased? Maybe. But is still definitely worth an hour and twenty-two minutes of your time.

Film – The Stuart Hall Project

I’ve become slightly obsessed with Cultural Theorist Stuart Hall, “who is regarded as one of the founding figures of the New Left and a key architect of Cultural Studies in Britain.” I think to call this film, (merely) a documentary is underselling the creativity behind it and it’s construction. Made up of a combination of Miles Davis jazz and only dialogue taken from (the many) television and radio interviews Hall gave during his lifetime. The combination is both interesting and engaging in a way that might not sound it given the subject matter. This film acts as both a biography of Hall as well as piece of great film design.

There you have it. We hope you enjoyed Gareth’s choices and there was something there for you to look up afterwards. You can expect more of these from the rest of the team in the future.