Welcome to Downtime, a regular series in which we ask our favourite artists for their cultural recommendations
When Courtney Barnett made her entrance with the endearingly deadpan I’ve Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris in 2012, she was hailed as a refreshing new force in alt-rock. A stream of essential releases followed, including her much-loved debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – a record packed with the kind of wry humour and pithy observations fans have come to associate with the Australian singer-songwriter in the years since. In keeping with the curious and existential nature of her work, and in particular her lyrics, Barnett comes through with a list of suitably ruminative cultural picks.
Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and CompassionWritten by Pema Chödrön
This book has been comforting and enlightening to me in the past year. It includes 108 teachings, with my favourite chapter being: Start Where You Are (Again and Again). It’s about learning how to focus on the present moment instead of the unknown and uncontrollable future. I’m heavily paraphrasing here, but… “any gesture of kindness, gentleness or honesty, no matter how small, will transform how you experience the world. What you do for yourself, you’re doing for others. And what you do for others, you’re doing for yourself.” These words echo in my head. It’s also a daily reminder to look for the flowers within the weeds.
Sisters with TransistorsDirected by Lisa Rovner
An inspiring documentary about the unsung pioneers of electronic music, narrated by Laurie Anderson. In the last few years I’ve become more and more fascinated with experimental and ambient music, so this was really exciting to immerse myself in. It’s also a great list of new artists to explore and study. Thanks to Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) for screening this one.
Things Take Time, Take Time is out now via Marathon Artists