Welcome to our monthly series we are running on Flat Earth Magazine! Our weekly blogs only touch the surface of what we’ve been up to, so we’ve decided to dive in a little deeper every month so you can see what travelling and living abroad is really like.
Places Visited: London (UK), Birmingham (UK), Brighton (UK).
Reuniting with friends. Its been almost 2 years since we saw our friends from university who also happened to be in Melbourne with us. We even ended up buying their car, our trusty and much-missed steed Martin. Now all back in Blighty, we caught up over a beer and burger in Shoreditch, reminiscing about our Australian adventures and hearing about their new lives as city-slickers.
Being back in London. We’ve been making the most of having London on our doorstep and reacquainting ourselves with this ever-changing metropolis. One of our favourite places to visit is the Boiler House Espresso Bar on Level 3 of the Tate Modern. Despite serving up an average and irritatingly expensive flat white, the views across the river and over to St Paul’s are worth it. Paired with a wander around the gallery and the new, impressive Switch House wing, it makes for the perfect morning in the capital.
Watching the ice-hockey at Streatham. Keen to get into the swing of our future home’s national sport, we jumped at an invite to catch our first ever match at Streatham ice-rink. We didn’t expect much from the semi-final game but we were blown away by the packed stands and bar stocked with our favourite BrewDog ale. Whether is was the multiple pints of IPA, the electric atmosphere, the great company or the game itself – I’m guessing all four – the experience was great and one we are now desperate to recreate when we finally reach Canada.
Seeing Foxygen at Koko, Camden. We rounded off the month with a gig, something we haven’t done in way too long. It was our first visit to Koko and we weren’t sure what to expect from the venue. We definitely weren’t expecting the 5-tiered Victorian theatre which greeted us! As well as experiencing the fantastic venue, Foxygen were great and lived up to Ryan’s high praise as one of his favourite live bands.
Having an operation. Unfortunately, February was dotted with hospital appointments and a quick day trip to the operating ward. Luckily, it was nothing serious, but it still wasn’t fun. Big up to the NHS who were simply incredible through the whole ordeal.
The weather. Let’s just say we are more than ready for Spring… The weather here in South-East England has been miserable, grey and gloomy. Bring on the blossoms!
Most Popular Blog Post
As we only managed a measly 2 posts in February (it was a short month, ok!) there wasn’t much competition. Aside from our January Round-Up, Ryan’s Preconceptions and Post Impressions of Australia post came out on top.
Most Liked Instagram Photo
We really enjoyed getting back into Instagram this month. We took the time to scroll through our archives and find some of our favourite forgotten photos to post through February. This dreamy sunset snap of our beloved Brisbane won the Instagram-battle this month and I think it’s one of my most treasured photos to date!
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Best in Culture
TV Series of the Month – Roots
This adaptation of the incredibly popular book and 70s TV series dragged you through every emotion and plunged you into the horrors of slavery in America. The 4-part series is composed of feature-length episodes each following the next generation of the fabled Kunta Kinte’s family, from his capture in Africa to the eventual end of slavery after the American civil war.
Loosely based on author Alex Haley’s heritage, the series seems particularly prominent and necessary now when race relations in America seem to be sliding backwards.
Film of the Month – Moonlight
This film was unlike any I’ve ever seen and one of the most worthy Oscar winners in recent years. The subject matter, a struggle with masculinity, sexuality, identity and family, is unique and dealt with in the most beautiful and truthful manner. Each shot is perfectly captured and the three actors who play the main character from childhood to adulthood are completely in sync with one another despite the film’s over-arching struggle with identity. No simple review could do this complex film justice, so head out to the cinema if you haven’t already!
Book of the Month – Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
In light of recent events, it’s no surprise that dystopian literature and films are suddenly garnering a lot of attention. This was confounded a few months ago with Kellyanne Conway coining the term ‘alternative facts’ in the wake of Trump’s election and the banal bickering about the size of the crowd at his inauguration.
Whilst Orwell’s 1984 is undoubtedly the ‘go to’ dystopian novel, there are more prescient novels out there and this month I finally got around to reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Whilst the plot of the novel essentially follows the same structure as 1984 and Zamyatin’s We there are subtleties in the text which make Huxley’s novel all the more terrifying.
In Huxley’s dystopia the element of control is far more complex and the common people themselves become implicit in their own control. They are sedated by the technology they use, detached from any tangible sense of reality and consume material goods religiously. One of the many lines of propaganda that is repeated by the masses is “Ending is better than mending. The more stitches the less riches”. Practicality and frugality mean nothing, the aim is to consume more and think less.
Huxley wrote the book in horror at what he saw as the ensuing ‘American Century’. And as we now emerge out of the other end of the age of American consumerism it’s hard to see us, as a culture, as being in any better state than the populace of Huxley’s novel, sedated by a trivial culture and unwilling to sacrifice our comfortably, numb existence for a better future.
Coming up Next Month
With Spring blossoming and Lauren’s birthday in the middle of the month, March should hopefully be a busier month than laid-back Feb. With our paychecks rolling in, we are making the most of the weekends with plenty of day trips on the roster. We also have it on good authority that the first chunk of our Australian money should be landing in our bank accounts so Canada can start becoming a reality once again.
What have you been up to this month? Let us know via our social media pages or in the comments below!