With New Zealand on Level 4 lockdown from Wednesday night for at least the next four weeks, the main question (apart from various forms of "can I do xxx on the condition of xxx?" or "what's for dinner?") is "what the hell am I going to get up to stuck inside for a months' worth of nights?" Well, every morning, Metro's rounding up some fun or interesting things for you to keep yourself busy. We'll get through this together, Auckland.
Things to do today: Day 3
Something to watch: Ok, if you’re in the mood to settle into something loooooong, I just found out Ken Burns’ 18-hour documentary The Vietnam War is now on Netflix and worth it. Look, it’s not without its flaws, but this film tells the story of the war from both sides as you are unlikely to have heard it before (unless you’re super into this stuff, in which case, you’re probably all over this). If you’re keen from a break from not just the news but also #calmcontent, this might be for you. If you’re not that interested in spending 18 hours thinking about a tragedy of human ignorance, incompetence, stubbornness and cruelty, I recommend just watching the first episode. If, like me, you’re no historian, the origins of the war will blow your mind in the saddest way. – Henry Oliver
Something (related) to read: “This Fucked Me Up: Ken Burns's The Vietnam War” by Kevin Nygen on GQ is a highly recommended quick read on the series which ends with a recounting of an interaction with one of the hosts of Chapo Trap House:
Not long after I’d finished the doc, I was at a party where I met one of the hosts of, what I was told, was a very popular podcast about “the Dirtbag Left.” It was loud and we were drinking. He complained about “the Regular Left” for about 20 minutes—I remember putting my palm over my plastic cup to make sure none of his spittle would land in my drink—before moving into a tangent about how no one should watch Ken Burns’s The Vietnam War, though it wasn’t clear why we shouldn’t. Something about American imperialism.
I said that I’d seen all 18 hours of the series, and that I thought it was well done. It turns out he hadn't actually seen it. As I explained how meaningful the doc was to me as a Vietnamese American to hear from Vietnamese people, the podcast guy pulled out his phone and began checking Instagram, which is basically how most white people react when we talk about our experiences.
So yeah, if you want an 18-hour Instagram break, this could be it. – HO
Something to do: Every morning I've been making sure to drink my morning coffee out on our apartment's little balcony, so I start my day as close to outdoors as possible. It's easy if you're working from home (when you don't have kids, that is) to plonk yourself down in front of the computer and basically stay there until, like, 7pm when you emerge in a haze with bloodshot eyes still somehow having achieved less than you usually would in the office. Making sure I get a little bit of sun on my face at the start of the day seems to be setting me in good stead so far to feel like there is at least an intention set to not become a completely indoor creature, plus the warm wee rays feel nice on my cheeks. –Tess Nichol
Something to listen to: While working from home I’ve been revisiting the Nightbus mixes. More of a mood than a genre it’s defined as ‘an electronic music soundtrack for a long journey on a night bus'. And it’s maybe raining? Originating on SoundCloud by the artist CFCF, there are four mixes total. Mix 2 is a great go to. There’s also a spotify playlist.
Remember the bus… remember outside… remember places? On a more positive note the new Dua Lipa album bangs! – Alessandra Banal
Something to read: Food writing has always been more than just restaurant reviews, and in a time when there are none (restaurant reviews, that is) it’s a good time to remind yourself of that. I’m working my way through Longread’s Best of 2019’s food category at the moment, and have just finished The Great Nostalgia, an interesting look at how Americans are rejecting the romantic food of the Nordics by opening restaurants which harken to a “time before tofu” – places aggressively coded male, conceived for the powerful. In other words, “if you feel the desire to play with nostalgia, you’d better be careful about how you use it.” Yes, we all know what kind of restaurants they’re talking about and which kind of people frequent them, but this idea of restaurants serving up “New Romanticism” being antithetic to that sort of rhetoric is not really true. They’re just exclusionary in their own way. I also read Janelle Bitker’s Death, Migration and the Loss of Culture, which is really beautiful but not something to read if you’re away from family. – Jean Teng