Tuesday, October 26

Nicholas Christakis: The Epidemiologist Who Knows the Value of a Good Knee Lift | Coronavirus

AAs a Christmas present for me, I had a long and luxurious listen to the wonderful podcast Transmissions: the definitive story of Joy Division and New Order. Win that “definitive” in the title.

Narrated by Maxine Peake, and featuring interviews with just about everyone you might want to hear from, plus a few surprises, it’s deep, caring, and frank. When the story comes to the chaotic opening of the infamous Manchester nightclub The Haçienda, with its awful sound, cavernous space, and organizational ‘problems’, I had terrible headaches from a proper night out, even in a newly opened club where the paint was still drying on the dance floor.

Hearing people talk about their hedonistic youth was much more moving than it could have been a year ago. Nightclubs are closed at all levels. Few could argue with that. But I loved reading what Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a social epidemiologist, had to say about the near future after the pandemic. (Among the many twists and turns 2020 has presented us with, the rise of the famous epidemiologist has been a real treat – I couldn’t have predicted that he’d remember how to spell epidemiologist earlier in the year, let alone express a preference for one, as if collecting Panini stickers.) In his book, Apollo’s Arrow: The Deep And Lasting Impact Of The Coronavirus On The Way We Live, Christakis explains how humans tend to respond to pandemics, such as the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak, and how we behave afterward.

Christakis has good news and bad news. The bad news is that he thinks it will take time to get over the potential aftermath, probably until 2024. The good news is that he thinks we’re on our way to another “crazy 20” over time. “People will tirelessly seek social interactions,” he told the guardian, and I really hope this relentlessness is a promise.

For many, this is a traditional time of year for the holidays, and as a very different New Year’s Eve approaches, the need not to party en masse, not to celebrate as usual, may become a little more acute. It’s no big deal, in the grand scheme of things, and the most sensible and responsible people know it by now. Still, for those of us who love and long for the nightlife, who miss the heat, the crowds, the clutter, the drama, the night, and the noise, it’s okay to have headaches and read the words of someone like Christakis, and give them some hope and reassurance that, one day, we will experience all of that again.

Margot Robbie, in

a barbie movie worth waiting for

Getting excited about this year’s new movies has felt a bit like investing in a long, complicated TV show that you know will have a disappointing ending. You dare to dream that he will do his best and reach his potential; you end up feeling like 12 hours in the pan.

The promise of a new movie is inevitably and reasonably a shaky proposition. Either its release date disappears into a perhaps stuffy and hazy future, or it flops on demand, proving to a disappointed audience that big screens, bombastic sound systems, and community viewing really do make a blockbuster sing.

However, I’m allowing myself to get excited after finding out that Margot Robbie stars in and produces a live-action Barbie movie. The news had been out since the summer of 2019, but Robbie has discussed it publicly for the first time with him Hollywood reporter.

He said the movie would confuse expectations. “Our goal is to be like, ‘Regardless of what you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different, what you didn’t know you wanted.’

Since Noah Baumbach (Marriage story) and Greta Gerwig (ladybug, Little woman) are attached to co-write, and Gerwig to direct, it sounds like it’s going to be totally different. It’s like hearing there will be a live Peppa Pig performance, directed by Lynne Ramsay, although I would see it too. I look forward to seeing any Barbie that comes out, and I hope it’s exciting, in 2027, or whenever that is.

Kim Cattrall: more sex, with or without her

In the world of television, the endless reboot / revival carousel continues. If you haven’t watched TV in a decade, don’t worry, it will be as if you never left, judging by what is likely to hit our screens in the next two years.

There is talk of new versions of Right handed, True Blood and In treatment, all of which feels like they just said goodbye. And now, according to Deadline, Sex and the city it may well be ready for a comeback.

This is the Smith television reunion, like seeing Morrissey and Marr together on stage again. However, it probably won’t be the complete package. Anyone who follows Samantha’s ongoing saga will know that Kim Cattrall, who plays her, is unlikely to return. She has been frank about this over the years. Will it work without it? Maybe. Sex and the city, the series, remains a far smarter and sharper show than its legacy, with its tours of Manhattan bakeries and “which character are you” contests and the tinkling of the cosmos.

While even fans must pray that the ill-advised film excursion to Abu Dhabi is erased from history, a return to its television origins could be promising.

• Rebecca Nicholson is a columnist for Observer


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