My essentials: Lisa Gwen’s cultural picks

89 | Lisa Gwen, 41, independent writer & curator, Maker & designer

1. Book

The book that resonated the most would be: The Cat and the City, which is a debut novel by Nick Bradley. I picked up this book during my last trip to London, from a tiny new bookshop just off Brick Lane. I’m a ‘cat lady’, so the title immediately appealed to me. Set in Tokyo, the book follows the viewpoint of a calico cat and the lives of various figures, seemingly disparate at first, which are slowly interwoven and reveal themselves to the reader.

2. TV

Generally, if I must think about something like this for too long, it means nothing has really struck a chord. I haven’t watched a (bloody) good film in ages! Even Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City fell short of expectations. Instead, I’ll mention a couple of TV shows – Russian Doll which I adored, although I might be biased because I’m a huge Natasha Lyonne fan; and The Serpent or even Pain Killer. I love short or limited series which are based on facts or true stories.

3. Internet

I don’t watch TV, at all. I don’t have cable; haven’t for years, actually. The internet, on the other hand is a bit of a monster. An endless pit of everything and nothing, all at once. But it is a tool that I use and navigate, considerably. Essentially, it provides me with: 1) platforms to publish photos in a quasi-visual diary format 2) copious visual stimuli 3) access to research (I will always prefer books) 4) a means to connect / engage / debate 5) access to news, opportunities (when you know where to look)

4. Music

Music transports me. It calms me. It often has a therapeutic effect. Different phases ‘dictate’ different genres, tracks, intensities. My go-tos are often movie scores or soundtracks. Perhaps because I always say that my life has an ongoing soundtrack in the background – one which changes daily. The Pulp Fiction soundtrack remains an all-time favourite. Then again, I listen to a lot of Chopin (I adore piano music; especially his Ballad No. 1 in G Minor), as well as Max Richter (November). Plus, I’m a big Kate Bush fan; this Woman’s Work really resonates with me.

5. Place

This is an impossible question to answer. ‘Favourites’ change according to one’s state of mind, emotion… today it could be Johnny’s Bar, in Hamrun. In Gozo, it’s Glen Eagles in Mgarr or Coney Island Bar in Victoria. In Valletta, it would have been Prego or City Lights Cinema – both places now a distant recollection. The sense of place, and the emotion attached to it, are intimately linked to memory, to shared experiences, to sound, smell… senses become alight when a place leaves its mark on you.