I spent a second day sitting very quietly and keeping warm, apart from when I nipped down to the village to post a couple of things in time for the morning collection, and stock up on cough sweets. I don't really believe in cough medicines, and anyway coughing will help clear the gunk out of my lungs, but I am going to a piano recital tomorrow afternoon and I absolutely mustn't cough during that, or at least only during the applause. I got a packet of thyme based lozenges for the concert, and a little bag of Fisherman's Friends which I've been necking down today. Original menthol and eucalyptus flavour, as featured in Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journey, made in Fleetwood in Lancashire. I'd forgotten how much I liked them, and wish I'd bought a bigger tube now.
My chest feels much better than it did a couple of days ago, which is good news except that I am forced to conclude that trying to resume the activities of normal life makes it worse. It's just as well I'm not currently employed by a plant nursery. How would you explain that yes, it is a full month since you were in bed with flu, but you still can't work outside for any length of time or stand all day or talk nicely to lots of people without feeling as though you are going down with full blown bronchitis and pneumonia? At the plant centre they did the stock take in January which meant days on end of sitting in a plastic chair in an unheated plastic tunnel leafing through an Excel printout with frozen fingers. I'd have had a major relapse.
We watched a sci-fi romance last night, the 2011 release The Adjustment Bureau starring Emily Blunt and Matt Damon. I caught up with a review last summer five years after the event when I was listening to podcasts of the Kermode and Mayo film review programme from before the time the Systems Administrator introduced me to it, and noted it down as something that was fun but not too deep or demanding. There are times, like when you have a foul bronchial cough, that you don't want to have to process anything too meaningful, and so we saved Brooklyn for another day. When I asked if we could have The Adjustment Bureau last night I was going on the note I'd made of the podcast which said it was light, snappy and funny, but forgotten the specific details. The romance turned out to be between a dancer and an up-and-coming American politician, which gave it an extra frisson on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration. The film was just what Mark Kermode said it would be and we both enjoyed it. Matt Damon is always likable and heroic, Emily Blunt was lively and funny, and there were mysterious agents wearing fedoras. It is based (probably rather loosely) on a story by Philip K Dick and so a first cousin to Blade Runner.
The only trouble with keeping a list of films to watch at some point based on reviews is maintaining a balance between genres. You trust the critics to weed out a lot of dross, though the odd good release may get overlooked in the process, but they are limited for space in their columns and do tend to go for the heavyweight films, dealing with serious issues and packing a big emotional punch. If you aren't careful you end up on a Friday evening with a choice between grim and grimmer. There have been a few times when we've looked hopefully through our little pile of LoveFilm envelopes and realised we had an unalloyed miseryfest. Nowadays we make sure we have a mixture, something thrillerish, something funny, some serious social commentary. The hardest category to keep topped up is comedy, because comedy is hard to do well.
I'm not sure we'll be bothering with LaLa Land, despite the near universal adulation. I love Singin' in the Rain, but neither of us are general fans of musicals, or jazz. A musical about a brattish jazz musician, with singing and dancing which even its admirers admit are not as good as the singing and dancing in Singin' in the Rain, doesn't sound as though it would be in either of our wheelhouses. It has got an awful lot of people going, though, including Bryony Gordon learning to dance in a yellow dress. As the owner of a yellow raincoat I can warn anybody thinking of buying a butter yellow sundress that pollen beetles find the colour irresistibly attractive.