15 Favourite Things I Listened to, Attended and Experienced in 2017

Whilst I am working on my list of favourite exhibitions and films this year, here's a list of random things and moments that mattered to me this year.

1. Best song - Shadows by Chromatics:

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that Twin Peaks: The Return is my favourite thing this year. Will be writing more about this in my end of year list of favourite things I watched.

But for now I will start by saying Shadows by Chromatics is my favourite song this year. This song has been on a loop on many days when I wanted to listen to music. I teared up the first time I listened to it on Twin Peaks: The Return at the end of hour two, and it still makes me tear up once in a while.   

2. The Lodgers - A Twin Peaks Podcast


During the summer of watching Twin Peaks: The Return, I religiously listened to every episode of The Lodgers podcast hosted by Kate Rennebohm and Simon Howell with a different guest(s) in each episode. It felt like sitting with friends and listening to smart and insightful discussions and can't thank them enough for all their efforts for making this THE best podcast about Twin Peaks.  

3. Twin Peaks Recap by Keith Uhlich on MUBI  

In addition to the podcast, the weekly Twin Peaks Recap by Keith Uhlich are also insightful and smartly written and I urge anyone who watched/is watching Twin Peaks: The Return to not miss reading it. 

4. Il Cinema Ritrovato 2017

I found out about Il Cinema Ritrovato a few years ago and was finally able to attend this year. The festival takes place in Bologna, Italy and is dedicated to the the rediscovery of old, rare and little-known films. I loved being there and look forward to attending next year. I wrote about my time there this summer here and talk about it on Tea with Culture podcast here.

5. Future Imperfect: Science - Fiction - Film at Berlinale 2017

Future Imperfect: Science - Fiction - Film was the title of this year's Retrospective section at Berlinale. It included a great selection of films, many I watched for the first time. I wrote a bit about it here

6. Lucrecia Martel at BFI London Film Festival 2017

A talk with Lucrecia Martel was added last minute at the BFI London Film Festival. Her film Zama was my favourite at the festival and was glad I had the opportunity to listen to her speak. She shared her (non)scientific views on immersive cinema, time as volume and the arbitrariness of linear storytelling. Someone needs to organise a talk with both her and David Lynch.  

 Here's a good recap of the talk written by Erika Balsom on Sight & Sound. An extract:

In a Screen Talk hosted at BFI Southbank the day after the premiere, Martel turned to a surprising analogy to describe this relationship between film and viewer, comparing the movie theatre to a swimming pool: the audience should be fully submerged, feeling the film as water on skin. Martel noted that we do not live in this submerged state on a day-to-day basis – as she acknowledged, it would be a “harrowing experience” – but for two hours, in the darkness of the cinema, we are captive in body and mind.  

7. Frederick Wiseman at BFI London Film Festival 2017  

Another favourite moment at the BFI London Fil Festival this year was seeing Frederick Wiseman after the screening of his wonderful film Ex Libris: The New York Public Library. In the film, Wiseman captures Khalil Gibran Muhammaed describing the New York Public Library as "mind building" and "soul affirming".

8. Film Comment Podcast

The Film Comment podcast is favourite in the world of film podcasts this year. Presented by Violet Lucca, who brings together a great selection of themes and guests in each episode. If you want to learn more about film and film criticism, this is the podcast to listen to.  

9. Still Processing Podcast

The Still Processing podcast is a 'culture conversation with Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham'. It is sharp, intelligent, funny and a great podcast discovery for me this year.  The Whitney Houston episode is a particular favourite.   

10. New Order in Dubai

New Order came to Dubai in April and glad I went as it has been a while since I attended a music concert. 

11. Video editing with Tulip Hazbar

Over three weeks between October and November, I spent many days and nights working on a video titled MUSIC TV that was played at Louvre Abu Dhabi during its opening week. It wouldn't have happened without Tulip Hazbar who helped me edit the video. The process and the journey of the video was incredibly fun and rewarding because we enjoyed experimenting and discovering new possibilities along the way. I hope we can work together again soon. 

12. Midnight screening of Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 3D at NOVO Cinemas

It isn't often when I have a cherished and memorable experience at a cinema in Dubai, but one night on 13th September I convinced two friends to join me at a midnight screening of Terminator 2: Judgement Day which I had not seen before. I do wish cinemas in the UAE look into screening more old/restored films here.   

13. In conversation with Dr Aisha Bilkhair

After several attempts at trying to host a talk with Ethnomusicologist and Research Advisor at the UAE National Archives Dr. Aisha Bilkhair this summer, we finally sat togeter at Art Jameel Project Space and talked about music in the UAE, its history, influences and changes. It was a small insight into the wealth of knowledge in her brains and I hope I get to sit with her for more discussions again.  

14. Zeina Hashem Beck ode to Tahia Carioca

I attended a poetry reading night with Zeina Hashem Beck, part of the launch of her book of poems Louder than Hearts. Her ode to Tahia Carioca and Egyptian cinema was delighful. 

15. Screening of Boy by Taika Waititi and getting the audience to sit through the end credits

In November I was asked by The Scene Club to select a film they had screened over the past 10 years to screen again as part of their 10 year anniversary. I selected Boy by Taika Waititi because that same week we had his film Thor released in our cinemas.

We had a great turn out, and in my intro I suggested everyone should staying for the end credits because of two additional scenes. The majority stayed back, a site I hardly see in Dubai cinemas, even for Marvel films. I had never felt so proud of myself and left with a happy grin from ear to ear.