Things That Bestow That Fuzzy Feeling
As part of our Christmas mission to spread The Fuzzy Feeling - the sense of coziness, sentimentality and warmth which defines the season - every Friday we're bringing you a weekly roundup of our Fuzzy Favourites.
We’ve handpicked a selection of our favourite ways to spend (or merely survive!) the festive season, drawing on our hometown of London as chief inspiration. Check in each week throughout December for our advent calendar of ‘fuzzy favourites’.
1. Film: Some Like It Hot (1959)
There’s something about watching a classic black-and-white film, with a glass of port and a wheel of stilton that makes Christmas Eve present wrapping a delightful ritual and less of a chore. And what better film to choose than this zinger with Marilyn Monroe, doing what she does best: shimmying, singing, sashaying and wearing diamonds on every spare inch of her body. A great example of why she was considered the ultimate bombshell, Monroe dominates every scene she’s in (and even plays the ukulele – or pretends to). Jack Lemmon and the dashing Tony Curtis also hold their own as hapless musicians on the run from the mob, in what’s considered to be one of the funniest films ever made.
2. Place: Sadler’s Wells, Islington
If you’re after some theatrical entertainment this festive season, this popular North London venue is home to some of the best alternative dance productions, notably Matthew Bourne’s all-male production of Swan Lake (famously featured at the end of ‘Billy Elliot’). And the good news is that it’s running once again from 4 December to 29 January. Bourne’s dazzling choreography and accessible storytelling will enchant dance-lovers and neophytes alike. The theatre has an interesting history too, taking its name from a medicinal well discovered on the site in the1680s, whose water was said to have health-giving properties. (You can still take a look down the well today.)
3. Film: Orlando (1992)
This is the type of spell-binding film that just makes sense to watch around Christmas time. The adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 novel (also a must-read) takes place across different time periods yet manages to retain a laissez-faire 90s feel throughout. Tilda Swinton is at her haughty, androgynous best playing the main character Orlando, who begins the novel as a man and whose journey of self-discovery crosses time periods and genders, while Sally Potter’s direction does justice to Woolf’s enigmatic prose. Quentin Crisp almost steals the whole film as the formidable Queen Elizabeth I, while the soundtrack is another memorable component, featuring vocals from Potter herself as well as the signature falsetto of Jimmy Somerville (who pops up throughout the film playing a court minstrel and an angel).
4. Book: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Christmas can be a time for reflection and there’s no better novel to do it with than this Booker Prize-winning elegy to a forgotten England, before WWII turned society upside down. Described as “a subtle masterpiece of quiet desperation” it focuses on the repressed emotional turmoil of an ageing butler Mr. Stevens in the employ of Nazi sympathiser Lord Darlington. Bound by duty at the expense of his own happiness, Stevens epitomises what is known as the English ‘stiff upper lip’ which has blighted our culture for all too long. Narrating the story, Stevens remains reserved and aloof, yet his quiet desperation is all too apparent, as are his feelings for housekeeper Miss Kenton. Eschewing grand emotional gestures, Ishiguro’s skill lies in the subtlety and restraint, which is what makes it such a moving tale.
5. Place: The Number 19 Bus
Sometimes the best seats in London aren’t the ones you have to book up months in advance, but those you encounter every day without even thinking about it. Sitting on the top deck at the front of the Number 19 will take you on delightful tour through London at its brightly lit, festive finest. Hop on at Finsbury Park and it will weave you through the bustling North African enclave of Blackstock Road followed by the well-heeled Islingtonites of Upper Street, through the historic districts of Bloomsbury and Clerkenwell, right down to the bright lights of China Town and Piccadilly. It then takes you on a trip along Knightsbridge and down The King’s Road where you can admire the glamorous Christmas shoppers, culminating in a picturesque trip over Battersea Bridge.