Submarine Channel

What are we reading/watching/playing/listening to this summer? 2020 Edition

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer, there was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air,” writes Francis Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.

Some 100 years after the publication of Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, summertime is still the perfect time to catch up on your reading list. However, in addition to books to read, today there are also tons of movies and TV series to watch, video games to play and podcasts to listen to.

Following an established Submarine Channel’s tradition, we asked around the office what everyone is planning to read/watch/play/listen to over the next 100 days of (hopefully) sunny weather and young, breath-giving air. Here’s the result.

The iconic swimming pool of Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby (Credit: Warner Bros)

Sacha Semeniouk – Production Coordinator Animation

I’m planning to (re)read some sci-fi books by Stanisław Lem, especially Solaris. It’s such a timeless masterpiece and it questions today’s human condition by dealing with the unerasable past. I like it also because it focuses on how we deal with the unknown and it made me think about consciousness, memories and the purpose of all this.

Various translations of Solaris (Credit: Wikipedia)

On a lighter note, I made a quarantine Spotify playlist with songs you can listen to when hoovering/cooking/crying/smoking cigarettes on the couch. It can work well as a summer soundtrack, too.

Jasper van Doeselaar – Office Assistant

First off, I want to watch Le Sémeur, a 2017 French-Belgian movie. It’s about a small rural village in France in 1851 where all men been have been rounded up because of a coup d’état. After months without men, the women of the village make a vow that if a man shows up, they will share him equally to have children.

As for books, I’m just starting to read Wolf Hall, a 2009 historical novel by Hilary Mantel. It’s set in England in the period between 1500 and 1535 and it’s about Cromwell’s rise to power. The reason I’m reading it is mainly that I want to learn more about the British monarchy and the origins of colonialism. I think Wolf Hall is historically accurate yet entertaining, so here you go.

Sophie Olga de Jong – Freelance Animator

I’m gonna be listening to Live Slow Ride Fast, a Dutch podcast about cycling. I think It’s the perfect companion for a cycling holiday.

In addition, I want to read Rutger Bregman’s latest book, Humankind: A Hopeful History. It’s a reinvigorating and optimistic account of human’s better nature. Basically, the author argues that, contrary to popular opinion, it’s realistic to assume that people are fundamentally good. A much-needed, cheer-me-up read for these somewhat bleak times! I’m also listening to De Rudi & Freddi Show, a podcast on politics and economics co-hosted by Bregman.

Enzo Soubra – Intern Submarine Channel

I’m really looking forward to Lovecraft Country, an HBO TV series which will be released in August. It tells the story of Atticus Black, an African-American man looking for his father in the 1950’s Jim Crow America.

Atticus Black is played by Jonathan Majors of which I loved the performance in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Moreover, Get Out‘s Jordan Peele is one of the executive producers. I love him not just as a thriller director but also as a comedy actor in the TV series Key & Peele.

Lovecraft Country’s stylish poster art

Over the past year, we’ve been teased so much material about Cyberpunk 2077, the upcoming open-world game by CD Projekt (the folks behind The Witcher). Alas, it has just been delayed until November. To quench my cyberpunk thirst, I’m planning to watch Cowboy Bebop, a Japanese anime about a cowboy bounty hunter in space. Oh, and I’m definitely gonna play Ghosts of Tsushima, a sort of Assassin’s Creed set in feudal Japan. It even features black and white coloring. Basically, I’m gonna play my own Kurosawa’s movie.

Finally, I’m gonna listen to Khruangbin, a musical trio mixing soul, psychedelic and global music. Their songs scream relaxation and beach chill bringing back vibes from the best surf rock.

Davide Banis – Editor and Curator Submarine Channel

I’m planning to watch Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, a Japanese TV series about a late-night diner in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The premise is very simple: the restaurant’s ownermysteriously known as “the Master”welcomes to his joint all sorts of night owls looking for a comforting dish, be it a bowl of ramen or a tonteki (a pork steak served with a citrusy sauce). Jokes, love stories and meditations on life ensue.

I already watched the first episode and it looks like a very cozy, heartfelt and relaxing (almost narcoleptic) show to savor before falling asleep. Yum!

Rem Berger – Office Assistant

In the past month-and-a-half, we’ve seen Black Lives Matter protests sweep the world in the wake of, among others, the murder of George Floyd by police in the United States. Although the news that sparked these protests was horrifying, it has been wonderful to see so many people across the world come together in solidarity and address issues of institutional racism within their own countries too. So I’m trying to find ways to keep myself engaged with these issues. And the films/media I consume will play a part in that.

With that in mind, it still feels like yesterday that everyone was talking about how good Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman was. And yet here he is with his new film Da 5 Bloods, this time a Netflix release, which is garnering equally favorable reviews. I also happen to be one of those people who thinks his 2015 musical Chi-Raq is underrated.

In short, I plan to spend the summer catching up on some of the essential Spike Lee’s joints that I have not seen yet, from Malcolm X and When the Levees Broke to his Netflix’s serial adaptation of She’s Gotta Have It. And, well, when is it not a good time to give Do The Right Thing another watch?

Pieter van Dijk – Head of Finance

I want to watch more of artist and maker Laura Kampf. Her videos bring heaps of admiration for her stunning craftwork. And they never fail to overcome me with waves of audiovisual relaxation thanks to her quality video making.

Music-wise, I’m gonna listen to Social Science, a band created by American jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Their songs deal with topics such as police brutality and mass incarceration through beautifully sung and rapped lyrics. I was simply blown away by their recent NPR Tiny Desk concert.

Credit header image: Eugenia Loli (CC BY-NC 2.0). Check out the artist’s portfolio here.