Welcome to Down Time: a new fortnightly series in which we ask our favourite artists for their cultural recommendations. Anything – but music.
Québécois producer Marie Davidson is known for her razor-sharp wit and disarming honesty, both of which directly fed into her latest album, Working Class Woman. Skewering the notion that “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day” it’s a raw account of her career to date – factoring in frequent misogyny and stints of workaholism – undercut by a slicing irony that makes it clear that she’s not looking for anyone’s half-baked sympathy. Forget easy bops like 9 to 5, if anything were to soundtrack the alienating experience of working under late stage capitalism, it would be Davidson’s grinding beats, chimeric soundscapes and jarring cackle.
Given that she’s something of an authority on the topic, we’ve previously chatted to Davidson about the tracks that taught her to work it. But we’re curious, what does she get up to when she’s not labouring away for The Man? Well, given that social media has replaced “enjoyment” with mere representation, Davidson’s self-care picks are less face masks and more full-out resistance. Including a Japanese anime exploring virtual reality and a book exposing the hidden cost of stress, listen up to start gathering your tools for the next revolution.
SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAINDir. Ryūtarō Nakamura
Lately I watched a few movies and documentaries that have been entertaining but what have stood out the most has been a Japanese anime called Serial Experiments Lain. It was through my producer/designer friend Jesse Osborne-Lanthier that I got into the 13 episode series. The beautiful science fiction anime from 1998 relates the heartbreaking story of a shy 14-year-old girl who gets to grow bolder personalities while exploring both physical world and the Wired – an expanding virtual reality world which seems to be an allegory of the internet. As the story unfolds, Lain discovers that she might possibly be an autonomous, sentient computer program which deeply questions reality and her notion of self identity.
RAMBO: FIRST BLOODDir. Ted Kotcheff
Last night I did some catching up with my classics and watched Rambo: First Blood, which turned out to be quite good. The 1982 action thriller movie narrates the difficulties of a troubled and misunderstood Vietnam veteran after he gets confronted and arrested by a cocky miserable small town Sheriff, in Washington State. Abused and triggered by flashbacks of torture he suffered in Vietnam, Rambo turns into a hysteric force of nature, escapes from prison and ends up in an epic manhunt into the wild territory of the Pacific Northwest. The movie is entertaining from beginning to end but it’s the critical undertone towards Police, State and the Army that makes it stand out from other action features. The viewer psychologically identifies with isolated Rambo who is by all means left out of society and told he is unwanted since he has been back from the war. Through breathtaking entertainment, the movie illustrates well that society – especially the police, do not take into consideration trauma when it comes to judging its citizens.
WHEN THE BODY SAYS NO: THE COST OF HIDDEN STRESSBy Gabor Maté
Speaking of trauma, I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Dr Gabor Maté about the cost of hidden stress. When the Body Says No provides important answers to questions about the effect of the mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases. This book has been a great tool to acknowledge some of my personal tendencies that have been harmful to my health and could potentially lead to serious sickness. Dr Maté, who has 20 years of experience in family practice and palliative care combined and has worked 12 years with the addicts of Vancouver Downtown Eastside (an area known worldwide for its level of drug use, poverty, crime and mental illness) shows extraordinary humanity and compassion when it comes to health and science.