I am so knackered that the final episode of The Great British Bake-Off made me cry with happiness. It wasn't about the beauty of the cakes, though the cakes were beautiful.
It was more seeing Ruth, who had at first appeared to be arrogant and a Scary Mother of Boys *, beam with pleasure when revealing how her confidence had soared as she discovered how good she was at baking, or the lovely coda where they revealed what happened to all the contestants. Some were using their baking to raise cash for charity, but others had started small businesses. And Edd, who was working as a bank drone, quit his job to work as a pastry chef. No one had emerged unchanged.
I loved it so much. I didn't even particularly want to eat the cakes, there's just something wonderful about watching a person do something really well, whether it's dancing or making bread. Please let them do another series.
One of the things that did bring much happiness at work, despite the gloom, was this video. It's a short, wordless animation, and all you have to do is name the 26 hidden movies:
The other thing I watched that made a real impression on me this week was this interview with Russell Brand, by Jeremy Paxman. It's not only funny, it's also notable how acute Brand is at pinpointing how his rudeness to Andrew Sachs has been used as a baseball bat to beat the BBC by those with political interests in seeing a public broadcaster brought down.
The benefits cuts that are being announced almost daily, leading up to the Comprehensive Spending Review on the 20th, are not just scary in their implications for the future running of Britain, they also have the awful whiff of having been scribbled down on the back of a fag packet when Osborne and his rich mates went down the Gentlemen's Club for a pint of Chartreuse and a packet of hedgehog crisps. I don't think they've thought it through, I don't think that the Lib Dems in the coalition have protected the constituency they traditionally protect, and I think it's going to come back and bite both parties. Lord, I hope so.
Finally, I thought I'd try something I've been thinking about for ages and try to write about a song a day.
Day 1 Devil's Spoke / Sneh Ko Marg by Laura Marling and the Dharohar Project
Devil's Spoke [original here] comes from Laura Marling's second, Mercury-nominated album, I Speak Because I Can, and I like it a lot for its dark atmospherics, even though I think the lyrics are mostly a series of startling images that clank against each other without much deeper meaning.
However, this version – created when Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling went on tour to India and then invited the Rajasthani Dharohar Project back to London to collaborate – is one of the best things I've heard in months, a genuine collaboration, rather than some western outfit coming back from India and lathering a sitar over the middle eight of their drippy folk song while talking bollocks about how deep their experience was, maaaaan.
Devil's Spoke/Sneh Ko Marg takes the urgent strumming of the original and gives it a pounding urgency, banjo, guitar and tabla layered thickly on top of each other, until the middle eight slows and quietens, then at the four-minute mark, it explodes again, faster and louder than ever.
I don't understand the words, I don't even know whether they're Hindi or Punjabi, but I don't know how anyone could resist the headlong, glorious rush of it.
• Devil's Spoke / Sneh Ko Marg by Laura Marling and the Dharohar Project [m4a]
If you can spare some cash, I urge you to get hold of the four-song EP. It's well worth your cash [link]
[* it's a thing that happens to women who only have sons, wherein they are so used to being the worshipped female figure in their house that it turns them a little peculiar]
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