My essentials: Patrick Fenech’s cultural picks

No 35 | Patrick Fenech, Visual artist, photographer and educator

1. Book

James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. I love books that elide short periods of time. It takes place in a single 24-hour period and depicts a day in the life of an ordinary man of Jewish origin in Dublin city. The book has reverberations to the sections of Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ but this time it concerns Dublin in detailed and intimate ways. His use of the ‘stream of consciousness’ in this literary work is perhaps what makes this book a great novel.

2. Film

I watched The Revenant, (2015) again recently on home movie screen and it really stands out as one of the best films ever produced. It’s exceptional use of tonal and intellectual montage and long sequence shots without breaks, shows the combined talent of director Inarritu and the capability of Lubezki’s cinematography that make it a masterpiece film. Dress in layers as the visual impact of the harsh reality of nature will chill you to the bone. Next on the list is Birdman.

3. Internet/TV

Two years of COVID anchored me to my screen more than ever before. I love TED Talks, BBC documentaries, David Attenborough Life on Earth series, the Waldemar Januszczak art documentaries and anything to do with astronomy.  I love the Rick Beato blog for guitar playing and his analysis of rock music.

As for TV, nothing beats the British sitcoms, especially the ones produced in the 70s and 80s: Only Fools and Horses, Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, etc… great laughs… even when you review them time and again.

4. Music

At the moment I’m into Trombone Shorty, an American musician from New Orleans, nice mix of R&B/Soul and psychedelic funk. Albums: definitely Sergeant Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles and Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix. The experimentation and innovation that was going on in pop music in the 60s and 70s is all there combined with the mastery of sound engineers like Eddie Kramer, Geoff Emerick etc. Then there is Mozart’s Requiem in D minor… makes my hairs stand on end.

5. Place

I think from all the places I’ve been to, and so far, I’ve touched all the continents, I still find the British countryside the idyllic place for my holidays. Perhaps it’s the lack of countryside in Malta. I find great solace and respite when I’m out in that rolling green landscape, especially in the long summer days and WH Davies’ poem ‘Leisure’ always comes to mind. Windermere in the Lake District is magical, so is my in-law’s extensive back garden in Kent.