English National Ballet | Chortle Comedy Book Festival | Sex Education | Nerd Nite | You're Not Listening...
Staying in? Going out? We've got it all covered in our weekly guide. This week we check out a ballet bonanza, a book festival full of giggles, a nerdy night out, the second series of a hilarious Netflix favourite and some thoroughly thought provoking non-fiction.
SEE the English National Ballet 70th Anniversary Gala at the London Coliseum on Friday (17 January 2020), a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the company’s rich history and world-class talent. The show features a mix of iconic works and ground-breaking repertoires as well as extracts from great masterworks which have not been performed in recent years. There will be classics of the Ballets Russets and its transitions into modern productions, to provide a stunning look back into its history and forwards towards modern ballet. Joining the celebration as a guest artist is international dance star Sergio Bernal, performing Farruca.
VISIT Chortle Comedy Book Festival. Chase away the January blues with the funniest book festival in Britain – a chance to hear top comedians and writers such as Adam Kay, Jenny Eclair, Helen Lederer and Arthur Smith. Hosted at the British Library, topics will include national identity, what the medical profession doesn’t want you to know, trials of modern motherhood and the question; ‘Should jokes be woke?’. With a wide programme of talks throughout the afternoon plus a chance to have books signed by your favourite comedy king or queen, this witty, hilarious and thought-provoking event shows why laughter and reading are the perfect partners.
WATCH Sex Education, Series 2 on Netflix. A complete lack of sexual experience doesn’t have to stop you becoming a renowned sex expert, does it? Teenager Otis Milburn has difficulty feeling comfortable with his own sexual feelings but has accidentally set up a secret advice and counselling clinic offering sex advice to frustrated and confused teenagers at his school. His extraordinary talent for curing others of their sex issues owes something to his sex therapist mother (played brilliantly by Gillian Anderson) and also to his business partnership with Maeve Wiley, a cool, pink-haired, grungy intellectual who he is trying not to be in-love with. This utterly hilarious hit series, which first aired in January last year, is now back for a second season and it is a sheer joy to behold.
Sex Education Series 2 will be released on Netflix on 17 January.
LISTEN to three super-talented speakers nerding out for 20 minutes each at Nerd Nite London this Wednesday 15 January at the Backyard Comedy Club. The event that invites you to drink beer, laugh, learn and rub shoulders with top nerds is not afraid to tackle obscure subjects, from pigeon scientists and space junk to chemical ballet. Jenny Chapman, an amateur ornithologist takes off with her firequacking talk ‘Citizen Scientists of the Sky’ in which she asks whether pigeons could do a better job than scientists when it comes to research. Harriet Brettle, business analyst and founder of the London Space Network is concerned about what we’re going to do with all that space junk orbiting earth in her talk ‘Space Junk – The Threat Hanging Over Our Heads'.’Kay Scorah, a biochemist, blogger and founder of havemorefUnlimited will host ‘Dance like an Electron', using the electrons and energy levels in a selection of elements to choreograph a dance – sounds sodium funny but we just hope we get the pointe! If that’s not riveting enough for you, do it for the cause - all proceeds go to charity The Shine Trust, helping to foster a new generation of nerds.
For tickets and more information, follow @nerdnitelondon.
READ You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy. When was the last time you completely devoted yourself to listening to somebody, without shifting your attention, being dismissive, interjecting with an opinion or being distracted by your phone? The odds are this kind of important human interaction now features less and less in your daily life, according to New York Times contributor and author Kate Murphy. In her new book she explores why we’re no longer listening, how this is impacting us and what we can do to combat this worrying trend. Full of insightful cultural observations, psychological and scientific research and accessible practical advice, You’re Not Listening couldn’t be more timely. It hits the shelves at a time when society is increasingly polarised and we are struggling to understand one another, a time when people are progressively isolating themselves to the detriment of their mental health and monologuing on social media instead of conducting meaningful real world interactions. Being a better listener may not be an obvious choice for a New Year’s resolution, but we can all benefit in some way from becoming better at it, and this book is a great place to start that self-improvement journey.
You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why it Matters by Kate Murphy is out now, published by Harvill Secker. Follow the publisher on Twitter @HarvillSecker.
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