This is officially a new era. Libraries are closing. Universities are not safe either. And we are all glued on our screens reading up the latest travel ban. What a time to be alive.
As we—old souls who spend a lot of our time in libraries reading books—start spending more time at home, a few things would need to be tweaked. So here is what I am going to do:
Actually have some sort of a schedule. Or try one.
Have a reading list + reading schedule
On not panicking
This isn’t an easy one. I was just about to board a plane to India and now I have to plan my next month in Berlin because I will have to be quarantined once I reach Delhi and then I will have 9 days left for my vacation. Not happening, in short.
So I cancelled it. Well, technically I would like to postpone it but we have to wait out and see what the airline I was supposed to fly lets me do at this point. And yes, it is tedious but it is literally nothing compared to the people who have to deal with this virus in hospitals (shout-out to my brother who is a doctor in Delhi!) and the people who are vulnerable to it. So many people have perished to it already that the dystopian visions of 2020 seem about right. A postdoctoral fellow in the university where I work told me sometime in the beginning of January that this year would be momentous and, well, here we are.
Speaking of panic, this is an important thing to remember: wherever you are, international student who is facing issues in the US/UK because the people at helm of affairs do not understand that you cannot just leave and come back from some countries, or university worker who is on a contract and does not know what to do; stay strong. I sincerely hope that the universities have the foresight to have compensate people who are not vulnerable in the most visible of ways.
Have a schedule
Today was the first day of me being at home. I decided to have a more practical way of dealing with things. Understand what time of day works for you in terms of work. I am an afternoon-night worker (this is being written at 3:23 am) and find it extremely calming to work at night. Have a schedule, dear academic. Have a rough one, if any.
Mine looks something like this. Yes, it is a little crazy but it works for me.
Emails to write/reply to + plan tasks
Coffee + brunch
Break + Plan dinner
Emails to write/reply to
Review + reflect
And, of course, if nothing works, find time to read. What am I reading right now? I am in the middle of writing my expanded proposal for the March 31 deadline but here is what I hope to read for the month ahead:
No, really. It helps. I have been binging on Bon Iver’s i,i forever now and still find it the right soundtrack no matter what I am reading/writing. The Radiohead Public Library option also helps. But the one I am also loving at this moment is the last Slowdive record. I am, as my best friend tells me, the original hipster and am running a shoegaze revival club in my head even before it starts.
“The Assassination” podcast with BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones is nearing its season-finale. If I could recommend one podcast this January, it’d be this one. It is so well-researched and well-produced that it makes you feel the historicity of the moment with new-clips and interviews with people who were right there as Benazir Bhutto was murdered. This week caps off the series and I’d recommend a podcast-binge from the very first one.
The second podcast that I loved this last ten days was the one on Bijlmer by 99% Invisible. Again, Roman Mars and co. are superb and I’d highly recommend checking out their article along with the podcast episode itself.
One of favorite podcasters posted recently, which I am extremely happy about. The Kitchen Sisters are one of the most radically innovative producers and everything they tackle in their podcasts. If you have not listened to the one about the “Bone Records” in Russia, this would be the time to rectify that grave mistake in your life.
This week, though, they had a story about an exiled writer that because of my own research interests, was something that was moving, hilarious and at times, simply enchanting. The interplay of text and voices weave to create something more than an episode about Guillermo Cabrera Infante; it was simply excellent podcasting.
The last podcast from last week is by The Guardian’s Book podcast which is an excellent place to listen to and actually discover new podcasts. Last week, in a rather charming interview with a woman who has documented her loss of memory in a book, I was left wondering how I would respond if I had to choose between losing my sense of smell or taste or, say, the memory of my lovers and poems. This was one of the podcast episodes I know I will go back to over time simply because it asks questions that have many complicated entries into the theatre of the mind.
The great and wonderfully talented Jóhann Jóhannsson died last week in Berlin. It was absolutely heartbreaking to imagine someone so talented and wonderful dead at 48. This reminded me of great episode that Hrishikesh Hirway did with Jóhannsson; the way he spoke of the OST of Arrival makes it one of my favorite episodes. As a tribute, I’d really recommend listening to this episode this week.
My favorite episode that was released this week was the finale of Radiotopia’s Secrets. All the episodes till now had this catharsis where you could understand the secret… you could get it, as it were. The story with El Abed ended with that sense of closure but with the story of Annie and David which really left me astounded. There are such drastic consequences of our secrets that sometimes they do have this sense of complete and ubiquitous emptiness.
The Rolling Stone people had a good discussion on Justin Timberlake this week that I would highly recommend. It was funny and informative at the same time.
The last recommendation on Sound Candy takes us to the soothing voice of Nate DiMeo. I don’t want to spoil the story that he tells me but since reading this article by Alex Carp, the sense that this is a larger historical moment humanized by this story is something that dawned upon me.
This is not a Sound Candy post because I have been in love with The Chop for ages now. I wanted to write about things they do. I think this homegrown Berlin paper that writes about local gigs and then puts up the monthly Neglected Essentials is one of the best things about the music community in Berlin that is notoriously local.
This is their 2017 Retrospective Mixtape
I have been introduced to some absolute classics on that tape. Like Hush Moss, Gurr and Adventure Team. This October 2016 mixtape is still one of my very favorites.
The thing about them is that they are still about everything about Berlin. They have the Chop Chip to a. support them and b. to gain gin-drenched entrance to parties and other goodies.