This past week I celebrated 10 years in my current job, which means that last month Tim and I completely missed celebrating 10 years of living in Bristol. 10 years! For Tim that’s the longest he’s spent living in one place (though not quite yet the longest in one house as we have moved around Bristol a little); I still have a ways to go on that front as I lived in the same house from age 0 to 20. But I’m happy enough in Bristol that I can well believe I’ll still be here in another 10 years.
I love Bristol. And not least because the music scene here is fantastic. This week I’d made a note that Amy Rigby was playing at a pub near our house, but then realised we wouldn’t be able to see her because we already had tickets to see Kate Tempest that night. Which I can’t complain about at all because the Kate Tempest gig was one of the best of my life. Absolutely incredible.
She performed her new album Let Them Eat Chaos in its entirety, which is the only way to do it as it’s a single story told in poetry, rap and song over the course of 50 minutes or so. It is smart, politically and socially motivated, beautiful, funny, angry and hopeful. As when we saw her perform this without musical backing at the Downs Concert, Kate put so much of herself into it that she was in tears at the end, and not just one or two stray tears either. I love Kate and truly think she is a force for good and positivity in this world that seems to be sorely lacking in those things far too often.
One of the things that made me reflect on the passing of 10 years in Bristol is that yesterday I started re-reading Sophie’s Choice by William Styron. This is the book that 10 and a half years ago, aged 25, I declared to be my favourite book on reading it for the first time. Since then I have many times thought that I can’t really call it my favourite if I’ve only read it once. Though if re-reads were the only measure then presumably my favourite would turn out to be The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allen Ahlberg or The Ghosts of Motley Hall by Richard Carpenter – which are both great books but I wouldn’t put them in my top 10 as a grown-up.
Anyway, 80 pages in and I still love Styron’s writing. Here’s hoping that remains true as I picked this as my “500 pages or longer” book towards the Books on the Nightstand Book Bingo. It’s going pretty well; just six books to go to complete it. That’s a squeeze but the month does end in a week’s holiday so I reckon I can manage it. I’m particularly proud that I not only filled in the “mentioned on Gilmore Girls square”, but I also used Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham for “an author’s debut” and “book by an author already used for this Bingo card”.
If I’m going to manage this I should get reading! How’s your weekend?