It’s Friday. Looking for something to switch up your weekend, or to give you an excuse to relax a little? That’s what the Weekend Reset is for. Each week we’ll pull together five things to get your weekend started. Could be something to read or watch, something to eat or listen to, or even something to do. Enjoy the weekend fellas.
BAKE: Irish Sodabread
What better way to celebrate quarantine-era Saint Patty’s than to bake up a perfectly delicious warm loaf of Irish sodabread? There are many different ways to approach sodabread, and a lot of them include seeds or other mix-ins, but the beauty of Stella Parks’ recipe is in both its simplicity and its authenticity. All you need are flour, salt, baking soda, and buttermilk, and it bakes up golden brown in a cast iron skillet. Perfect by itself, but equally delicious toasted with a little butter and jam. Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash.
Another great way to celebrate the holiday is by reading James Joyce’s classic short story collection, Dubliners. Joyce is most famous for his dense, experimental, modernist epic Ulysses, a novel that is fascinating but incredibly difficult to read. Dubliners is something else entirely. His first major published work, this is a collection of interconnected stories about the everyday lives of middle-class Dublin residents, written in straightforward prose. Many of these stories are short and simple yet cut to the bone in terms of their emotional impact. The crown jewel is the collection’s final story, The Dead, an almost novella-length tale that’s one of the best things I’ve ever read in my life. The final sentences of The Dead send shivers down my spine every time I read them.
LISTEN: Loveless by My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless was an indie darling in the 90s, a record that sounded like nothing else that had come before it, and a record that sounds like nothing else made since. Founded in (where else!) Dublin in 1983, My Bloody Valentine created a wholly unique sound featuring layers upon layers of distorted guitar, walls of production sound, and androgynous vocals buried deep in the mix. Loveless is like a blanket of noise, an album that you sink into and wrap yourself in, and an all-time classic.
WATCH: In Bruges
Renowned Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s most recent movie, Three Billboards over Ebbing Missouri, was flat-out fantastic and gained major awards recognition. But his first film, In Bruges, is also excellent. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play two hitmen hiding out in Bruges after a job gone wrong, and bloody hijinks ensue; full of talky dialogue, weird digressions, and explosive violence, this is dark comedy at its finest. Streams on Peacock or for purchase on Amazon.
“PERFORM”: A Classic Irish Play
Reading a play with friends can be an absolute blast. Everyone buys their own copy, is assigned a role, and then you read through the play, out loud, together — as if you’re performing it. This works well over Zoom, but could also be great outdoors, masked-on, socially distant. John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World is a classic (though the language is somewhat hard); the aforementioned Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore is riotously funny and bloody; Conor McPherson’s The Weir, mentioned here before, is a gorgeous ghost story; or try Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot or Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel.