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Feeling Sad? Ten Things To Avoid and Embrace

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures.

With Blue Monday not that long ago and the pressures of university grinding you down, we’ve compiled a list of (random) artsy things that you either shouldn’t touch with a barge pole or that you should get into your life right away to cheer you up. 

Firstly, things to avoid:

The Road by Cormac McCarthyThere is surely no post apocalyptic novel so grimly, unforgivingly realistic as Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’. McCarthy doesn’t give the reader the light relief of names for his characters, conventional narrative structure, or the expected mid apocalypse rays of hope. Instead, expect your soul to be scraped empty by a tale of bleak, pointless survival amongst the cannibalistic debris of humanity. In my opinion, there is no dystopian film or novel which rings more terrifyingly true, and this makes ‘The Road’ an unmissable read – but one for which it is maybe best to wait to be armed with a cold beer and a sunny beach. (Lu Nevin)

Hurt by Johnny CashAlthough originally a Nine Inch Nails song, Johnny Cash’s 2002 cover of ‘Hurt’ is perhaps more famous for its bleak poignance upon his death a mere seven months later. The song itself is harrowing enough, but if you really want to be possessed by a paralysing fear of surveying the wreckage of your wasted youth in the helplessness of your old age, make sure to watch the video. Just remember, there will be no Christmas cheer to save you. (LN)

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five ArmiesEven the first two films look good in comparison to Peter Jackson’s massive cock up of a swan song to what was one of the great franchises in film history. About as uplifting as a dog being forced to eat its own puppies. (Ben Sayer)

You have nothing to smile about, Peter. (Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore).
You have nothing to smile about, Peter. (Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)

The One Show: If anything gets me more depressed with the state of this country then it’s this middle of the road, subtly damaging, fake piece of crap that fugs up our television screens every night of the week every bloody night of the year. The One Show perpetuates a conservative agenda which is so scared of saying anything interesting that it literally depresses or brainwashes all who watch it. (BS)

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair: Set in the Chicago stockyards at the turn of the nineteenth century, this novel includes all the misery that faced the working classes: poverty, illness, prostitution, death, to name just a few. And if that’s not enough to get you down, its lengthy detailed passages of meat production will be sure to upset your stomach if not you. (Lilli Hender)

On a happier note, here are things to embrace:

Airplane: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It is a plane…and one filled with an insane amount of comedy gold. If you are ever down and disillusioned by the amount of terrible comedy spewing out of Hollywood, return to the Seventies and bask in the glow of one of America’s most influential and funny films. (BS)

Life is Sweet: This is for the more subtle of uplifting moments, because this film is actually at times pretty depressing. However it is filled with brilliant moments from the likes of Timothy Spall, Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner and last but certainly not least, Jane Horrocks. Its overall message of ‘no matter how bad things might seem, there is always a cup of tea and a good chat with the family’ is tear-jerkingly evoked and leaves you with a warm feeling inside. (BS)

Wadjda: A more uplifting film has not been made in the last 5 years. It is also the first film entirely shot in Saudi Arabia, especially impressive considering the director is a woman. This sensitive portrayal of womanhood and girlhood in Saudi features a stunning performance from its young star who is so awesome and driven that when the finale comes the heart sings. (BS)

Graceland by Paul Simon: The album itself was shrouded in controversy at the time of its release and to an extent still is. But Simon’s use of South African musicians and their music is inspired, and culminates in a set of songs so gloriously good that you barely have time to breath between the brilliant melodies and tongue-twistingly good lyrics. From ‘Graceland’ and ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes’ to ‘You can Call me Al’ and ‘Gumboots’, it is an album that will not fail to raise a smile. (BS)

Send me on my Way by Rusted Root: I really don’t know what he is saying and I really don’t care, the melody has so much vigour and movement that it rouses your most basic instincts. The theme of pathos overcome is something that will uplift you no matter how much anything gets to you. (BS)