Night Cafés

I listened to the Sam Jones Off Camera podcast with Patton Oswalt last week. Patton has talked in the past about Night Cafés; a room that you walk into, that you walk out of as a different person.

It intrigued me, so I thought about what mine would be, so in the order they came to me:

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, by Joseph Wright of Derby. This painting I first saw in the National Gallery when I was a teenager. It’s massive, the figures are almost life size, which until you see the painting you can’t get from any reproduction of it. The painting was also discussed in an Open University course, the one I met the first husband on. Hence the Night Café.

A Passage To India, this movie broke me open when I watched it. So much so, I’ve never been able to watch it again.

Pride & Prejudice, the book and the BBC adaptation with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. The book is glorious and I re-read it every year. The BBC version is the definitive version for me, I know that Keira Knightley was the same age as Elizabeth Bennett when that version was made, but trying to squeeze such a dense book into a movie is hard work.

Local Hero, I adore this movie. It’s part of my fabric of being. Quotes are part my lexicon and vernacular;

“You’ll never get two sheep in the back of a Maserati”

“I’ll make a good Gordon, Gordon”

“Did you cook my rabbit?”


Surrender The Pink, Carrie Fisher #OurPrincess. I love all her books, but this one in particular was the one that resonated loudest with me. I typed a whole lot of stuff here, but then deleted it – as it was way too personal… I will say though, I still have car-parking karma.

Graceland, Paul Simon’s album.

Tubular Bells II, Mike Oldfield. Although, if The Bell catches me in the wrong mood with Alan Rickman narrating, it can make me weep. I particularly like the track Tattoo, there’s a version shown on BBC2 (I think) from Edinburgh Castle, with John Gordon-Sinclair narrating, but all those bagpipes – oh my.

Lady Antebellum, particularly the song We Owned The Night. For a 3:16 minute song, it’s one I can listen to over and over.

Wall·e My favourite Pixar movie. Not recommended to watch while pregnant, you may be a blubbering mess for hours.

Likewise with The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. Both amazing movies, both based on novels / novellas by Stephen King, both featuring actors at the top of their game.

Possession, AS Byatt. I can’t tell you how much I love this book.

Mapp and Lucia, EF Benson. My comfort blanket, my constant.

That’ll do, but there will probably be more – what are your Night Cafés?

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