Journalist Anna Carey writes for publications including The Irish Times and Irish Independent. She co-founded The Anti Room and her second book, Rebecca Rocks has just been published by O’Brien, while her first, The Real Rebecca, won Children’s Book of the Year (senior category) at the 2011 Irish Book Awards.
1.The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
Many, many years ago (1997 to be exact) I wrote my B. A. thesis on Brecht and Weill’s famous musical. In fact, I went to see Marianne Faithfull singing songs from it and ended up sitting next to my very nice, earnest, German thesis supervisor (“What is she drinking, Anna? Do you think she is drunk?”). But I haven’t seen an actual stage production of the full thing since about 1989.
So I am very excited about the new production which is opening in the Gate Theatre this autumn. Songs with titles like The Ballad of Sexual Dependency and Song of the Insufficiency of Human Endeavour (they’re catchy, honestly)! And Mack the Knife, of course. Who could ask for anything more?
2. Marvel’s Agents of S.H. I. E. L. D.
Like many old-school Buffy fans, I will always have a soft spot for Joss Whedon. Sure, his work isn’t perfect, but I will always love him for creating a programme that, with its combination of snappy dialogue, convincing characters, funniness, heartbreak, brilliant supernatural concepts and genuinely brilliant plotting (in Season two and three at least), felt like it had been designed for me. Hell, even Dollhouse got good towards the end.
So I was delighted for him when his big screen version of the Avengers was a hit, and I’m excited about his return to the small screen (as executive producer at least) with this spin-off series, which launches on Channel 4 in a few weeks. Plus, Gunn from Angel is in it!
3. Agnes Obel: Aventine
Agnes Obel’s debut album is one of my favourite releases of the last few years, so I can’t wait to get my paws on her new one, which is out at the end of September. The single ‘The Curse’ suggests that her ability to write beautifully melancholy songs has remained intact.
4. Love Nina, by Nina Stibbe
This isn’t out until November, but I’ve read a proof and it’s already one of my favourite books of the year. It’s the real letters sent back in the early ‘80s by Nina Stibbe, a young nanny to her sister in Leicestershire.
Nina just happened to be working at the house of the editor of the London Review of Books. The editor’s ex-husband just happened to be the director Stephen Frears, and neighbours included Alan Bennett (who popped over for dinner most evenings), Jonathan Miller and Claire Tomalin. Nina’s letters are incredibly funny and likeable, and you might find yourself wanting to move in with the young Frearses yourself (if you had a time machine).
5. A tweed suit
This is purely a dream, as an affordable perfectly cut 1940s style tweed suit is unlike to become available any time soon. But it’s exactly what I want to wear as autumn sets in – lovely soft tweed in autumnal colours, with a fitted bright red jumper. If anyone has (or had) a rich granny with fabulous taste who is/was about 5’2” and a size eight, do let me know so I can raid her wardrobe…