essential media

here are some short lists of my favourite albums, books, films, tv series, video games, and pieces of art. hope you find something you like and do let me know if you have any recommendations for me!


music that i think is pretty important to me, and that i really like

close calls: the black parade by my chemical romance; sunday best by westerlight; hey king by hey king; doopee time by doopees; time 'n' place by kero kero bonito; darling arithmetic by villagers; a curious thing by amy macdonald; persevere by the proclaimers; katamari fortissimo damacy

stay gold was pretty much the first album i bought for myself, and first aid kit were pretty much the first band i discovered and liked not through the pop machine. and their harmonies are stunning.

1000 gecs also marked a significant step in the music i listened to, departing from folk/rock adjacent stuff to... whatever this is. i don't think this is the best album ever, but equally i don't think it's at all bad. it's well produced and coherent, in some way. most of all it's exciting, and just a good time.

a kiss before you go is folk, but darker, more cabaret. lots of delicious minor keys and strong off-beats. i love to cook with this album on. this is the first katzenjammer album i listened to, but i actually love all their albums, and find it hard to pick.

everything goes numb is an absolute banging debut album, worth such a listen


The Servile by No Party for Cao Dong

electra heart, see https://notebook.wesleyac.com/bubblegum-bitch/


poet on a mountaintop

the fighting temeraire is one of the earliest paintings i can remember reading about and thinking about. i was very taken by the idea that turner had taken artistic license in interpreting a real scene to invoke stronger emotions in me. i talked about it to a lady who worked at the library.

sand dollar by jared tarbell. this piece combines procedural shapes with edward tufte's data visualisation concepts, which shows off the unique nature of each shape in a really attractive way.

while (fruit) by sailor mercury.

varvara by hundred rabbits is a computing platform built around uxn, a virtual machine designed for creating small visual programs

stuart temple's pinkest pink paint, part of a feud with arnish kapoor

teenage engineering op-1

stickmen graffiti by stik

jenny holzer's protect me from what i want

video games

there are some repeated themes through these games. mother 3, piku niku, else heart.break(), and stardew valley all deal with the scourge of capitalism. cave story, mother3, and undertale deal with themes of war and segregation. games that provide legitimate critique in a beautiful and compelling way can be very powerful.

stardew valley is the best harvest moon style farming simulator around. you've probably heard of it, there's not much more to say about it.

cave story was i think the first indie game that i ever played? and i'm lucky to have started on such a good note. the story is great, the music is gorgeous, the dialogue is pretty funny. it gets hard, but the ending is worth it.

else heart.break() is really clumsy in a lot of ways, but graphically it's stunning, musically it's electrifying, and conceptually i am so in love. also it gives me a very nicely sized town to wander around and explore, and hack which is very cool. it's stuck with me more than a lot of games, so i'm going to have to put it here.

undertale, i'm sure you know. undertale is basically mother 4.

pikuniku is a really short game, but it's also really attractive and really funny*. another one about taking down capitalism, it's a physics based platformer with cool hats and great dialogue.

spelunky is the most fun death machine

celeste (game)

the stanley parable

teleglitch is a top down post apocalyptic roguelite, whatever. but in presentation it is in a class of its own. everything about it captures the feel of psychological horror better than any other game, in my opinion.


the hebrew bible, or more accurately תָּנָ״ךְ, is great. (the new testament is also decent, but not as great). there's a lot of different type of literature here, and most of it is fascinating and beautiful. because i don't read biblical hebrew, i like robert alter's translation, which attempts as much as possible to keep the mouthfeel and wordplay of the original text. you don't have to believe every last part of it to love it as a work of art.

a clockwork orange is short and fun. it took me a couple of attempts to get into, due to the fact it's written in a made up dialect, but once i got past that i found the concept super interesting and it ultimately kickstarted my interest in linguistics. so thanks, anthony!

in the miso soup was a spur-of-the-moment purchase because of the cool cover. it was totally worth it though as this book has such an interesting voice, the voice of the narrator. it fits my idea of grey prose, poetry prose, pretty well i think, a very compelling deadpan blase sound. there is a very uncomfortable scene in it but as a whole has a dreamy feel.

the little schemer is the best computer science textbook ever written, and i would say one of the best educational textbooks of any field. it's got fun illustrations and jokes that almost make me laugh. it also makes use of the disappointingly under-utilised catechism format.

mortal questions by thomas nagel. really i think a lot of his work is brilliant. putting the philosphy aside, he is the best philosophical writer i have ever read. "what does it all mean?" and "what is it like to be a bat?" were some of the first explicitly philosophical things i read. and writing-wise, it was all downhill from there. his language is plain and clear. he treates the reader like an equal. nagel is the model of how philosophy should be written, and my main muse when writing.

films and shows

food wars is fairly trashy i guess? but it's compelling, got interesting Actual Facts about food, and a dramatic plot. would watch again.

avatar: the last airbender

lovesick is a disappointingly little known british sitcom which follows dylan, a disillusioned single guy in his late twenties slash early thirties who has just been diagnosed with an sti and must contact all of his previous sexual partners to let them know. it's funny, has some real poignant moments, and surprising plot depth.

山水情 (feeling from mountain and water) is a 1988 chinese animation in the ink wash style. it's so peaceful and beautiful.

wall·e is simply wonderful. i love the expressions that the robots use to communicate, i love the voices and comments that the robots say, i love the little references and appreciations, it makes me cry, it's beautiful, it's wall·e

princess mononoke