We can’t go to the cinema, restaurants, pubs or clubs, the theatre or the shops. What can we do? We can read, watch TV and listen to music, that’s what. But where to start? See recommendations from the Property Week team and our readers below:
Lockdown has given many people the time to appreciate old vinyl records. Mat Lown, partner and head of sustainability at TFT, shares four of his favourite vinyl records.
3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul: A pioneering and highly original LP when it was released in 1989. It still sounds fresh today and includes lots of catchy samples from Hall & Oates, James Brown and Cymande.
You Only Live Twice (soundtrack): I found this LP, which was released in 1967, and many others – including a couple of rare Gil Scott-Heron LPs – during one of my trips to the States. I love John Barry’s composition and Nancy Sinatra’s haunting vocals on the theme track.
‘Glory Box’ by Portishead: Taken from their debut LP Dummy, ‘Glory Box’ was released in 1995. I first heard this record at the restaurant Jimmy Beez, which was opposite one of my favourite record stores in London, Honest Jon’s, where James Lavelle worked before setting up Mo’ Wax.
‘Loveless (feat. Ursula Rucker)’ by 4hero: The lyrics to this song, released on Talkin’ Loud in 1997, are very relevant today as we focus on rectifying the damage done to our environment and try to build a better future for our world.
Last week, Derek Griffin, Whitbread’s head of acquisitions in London and the South, shares four vinyl lockdown purchases.
‘Let Your Yeah Be Yeah’ by The Pioneers: A joyous splash of horn-infused reggae written, produced and performed by Jimmy Cliff. Released on the famous Trojan label, it reached no. 5 on the UK singles chart in 1971 and still sounds fresh as a daisy! Lovely label art, too.
‘Dominoes’ by Donald Byrd: The amazing bassline on this track from Donald Byrd’s 1975 album Places and Spaces is almost identical to Steely Dan’s ‘Peg’. That’s because it’s by the same man – Chuck Rainey. Eighty years young and such a legacy. What a groove!
‘The Night’ by The Four Seasons: Quite simply one of the greatest records ever made. Originally released in 1972, it became a hit on its re-release three years later, following massive popularity on the Northern Soul scene. Much sought-after and therefore still quite pricey on vinyl!
‘Emotional Rescue’ by The Rolling Stones: This is the Stones at their funkiest. Released 40 years ago but still sounds fresh. A great single and also the title track to their 15th studio album.
Trashy reality TV is all the rage and 90 Day Fiancé is no different. The US series follows engaged couples who must get married within three months of the non-US citizen in the pair obtaining a visa. Long-distance relationships plus family disapproval equals messy drama and a must-watch. All seven series are available on TLC.
Anyone who hasn’t watched The Big Short is missing out. It shows the cut and thrust of business and finance without glamorising it, telling the true story of one of the most dramatic periods in the past decade. It has elements of comedy, incredulity and pathos. The cast is excellent and the story closely matches Michael Lewis’s brilliant book.
Comedy-drama Succession, about a dysfunctional family fighting for control of its global media empire, features many colourful characters driven by greed, power and revenge. Both seasons are available to watch on Sky TV.
Strike a pose and watch Ryan Murphy’s moving, exhilarating drama series Pose. Set in the underground drag ballroom world of 1980s New York City, the show is a must-watch for fans of voguing and the documentary Paris is Burning. Both series are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
If you are looking for an inspiring watch during lockdown then war film Darkest Hour about Winston Churchill’s time as prime minister during the Second World War should fit the bill. It demonstrates the merits of teamwork and sticking to one’s principles. It is available to watch on Netflix.
Looking for a TV show that combines period dramas, The Walking Dead and beautiful cinematography? Look no further than Kingdom. Set in the late-1500s, this South Korean political horror thriller follows the crown prince as he uncovers a devastating political conspiracy while investigating the spread of a mysterious plague. All 12 episodes are available to watch on Netflix.
Pixar’s latest offering, Onward, which bypassed cinemas due to lockdown, is a warm-hearted tale of magical quests, familial loss and sibling love – with enough knowing adult-appropriate side jokes to keep the parents entertained. And it makes a welcome change from Frozen.
The Last Dance, a documentary about American basketball player Michael Jordan, is fascinating. For all Jordan’s ubiquitousness in the 90s, this is a rarer insight behind the public persona – into what drove him, who he is and why he was so bankable. It is worth a watch for the 90s fashion and technology alone. You can find it on Netflix.
My Architect: A Son’s Journey is an extraordinarily moving documentary film by Nathaniel Kahn about his father, the legendary American architect Louis Kahn, who died in 1974. The film is available to watch online.
In The Kindness Diaries on Netflix, host Leon Logothetis travels the world relying on the kindness of strangers for bed and board and repaying them in kind. It shines a light on the best of human nature and helped inspire CBRE’S ‘kindness pledges’ idea. In times when we are separated from those we care about, we think this is more important than ever.
I’d recommend dipping into a sports radio channel when you can. Listening to any sport adds a touch of normality for me and it’s comforting to hear that some things are beginning to return to normal, whether it’s the horse racing at Ascot or the restarted Premier League.
Rugby is one of my passions. I was fortunate enough to make the trip to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and will be heading on the Lions tour to South Africa next year. I love the camaraderie, mutual respect and passion of the sport. Rugby podcasts such as The Rugby Pod and The Ruck share many great insights from the players. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
A brutal murder, police corruption, tabloid newspaper hacking – the still-unsolved killing of private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987 has all the elements of a Hollywood thriller. In podcast series Untold: The Daniel Morgan Murder, investigative journalist Peter Jukes takes an exhaustive in-depth look at this intriguing story. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
Eight tracks, a book and a luxury: BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs needs no introduction. A recent episode with Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, featured some great music and the fascinating story of her career achievements to date as well as the challenges she has faced and overcome. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
What if one of the biggest rock singles of all time was actually written by – wait for it – the CIA? In podcast Wind Of Change, American journalist Patrick Radden Keefe investigates the claim that the Scorpions’ 1990 hit – the soundtrack to the collapse of the Soviet Union – was a piece of propaganda constructed by US intelligence. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
The podcast Dolly Parton’s America is an exploration of the American singer’s music, life and real estate projects. It is ideal for anyone interested in country music, how to build an empire, philanthropism or a good old rags-to-riches tale, and features interviews with the woman herself. It also offers a great antidote to what celebrity has come to mean recently. Download from iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
The second series of BBC podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon uses historical interviews with flight controllers and astronauts to tell the story of the nearly disastrous Apollo 13 mission in April 1970. I remember as a schoolboy sitting mesmerised in front of my family’s black-and-white TV, watching the drama unfold non-stop for five days. The entire series can be streamed on BBC Sounds.
The soothing tones of This Is Love presenter Phoebe Judge are an antidote to any cabin fever you might be feeling. Her podcast investigates stories of love in the loosest sense. Season 4 focuses on nature, animals and the wild.
In Bryony Gordon’s Mad World podcast, the Telegraph journalist and mental health ambassador interviews guests about their mental health journey and always starts with the question: “So how are you really?” Bryony founded the Mental Health Mates network, which inspired CBRE’s Mental Health Buddies programme.
At only 10 minutes an episode, the podcast This Day in Esoteric Political History is more digestible than its name might suggest. Each episode looks at one moment in US political history from that day in the past and analyses what lessons can be drawn from it. It is a great way to gain a bit of historical perspective. Download from iTunes or anywhere you get your podcasts.
If you want a laugh: Fortunately by Fi and Jane is a podcast from Jane Garvey and Fi Glover. The two BBC Radio 4 broadcasters (you may recognise Jane as a presenter on Women’s Hour) spend the hour chatting to themselves, speaking over a range of guests, and sometimes bring some radio clips to play. Mostly though, they’re very rude and extremely funny, and we would recommend them heartily if you need a lift.
If you want a deep dive into human nature: The Ted Radio Hour by NPR. This is a genius concept, with each podcast focusing on one topic such as “anger”, “failure”, “the source of creativity” and “risk”. A number of Ted Talkers are interviewed on their talks, weaving together a fascinating exploration of important topics.
If you want to keep up to date with current affairs: The Daily from the New York Times and Beyond Today from the BBC both follow similar formats, covering one newsworthy topic each day of the week. They’re short, very well researched, and cover a range of topics from the success of South Korean oscar-winning Parasite, to the American women who joined ISIS.
If you want something silly: No Such Thing As A Fish comes from the QI elves (who write the questions from the panel show). They take us through all the strange facts they learnt that week. Prepare to be impressed, horrified and to have more than one laugh out loud.
If you want something gripping: The Dropout or Broken: Jefferey Epstein. The former follows Elizabeth Holmes, who is currently standing trial for massive fraud, after her blood-testing firm Thernos unrivalled. The latter takes us through the life of Jefferey Epstein, uncovering previously unknown actions and experiences. It also delves into Ghislaine Maxwell, his longtime alleged facilitator, and the prison in which he spent his last weeks.
If you want something akin to therapy: How Did We Get Here is a podcast from Dr Tanya Bryon, a psychologist, and her longtime friend Claudia Winkleman. In each episode, Claudia interviews a member of the public who has a problem they wish to fix. We then listen in as Tanya talks that person through the issue, with incredible results. It feels like a free therapy session, and our only tip is to make sure you’re not wearing makeup as it’ll smudge.
Screaming Toenail describe themselves as an “anti-colonial militant queer punk band”. In new lockdown release Growth, the band touches on personal and political topics. It is worth a listen, especially if you are angry at the system. Listen via Bandcamp.
Canadian singer-songwriter Ruth B. has a beautiful voice that stirs the emotions, which is shown to great effect on the song ‘Lost Boy’. The track is available on Spotify and other music-streaming platforms.
After a 10-year hiatus, Damon Gough – AKA Badly Drawn Boy – makes a welcome return with new album Banana Skin Shoes. The singer-songwriter’s latest offering is packed with upbeat, life-affirming songs such as ‘Is This a Dream?’ The album is available to download or, alternatively, the physical CD can be purchased from all good music retailers.
It is always interesting to reconnect with the music of one’s youth. Lately, I have been listening to the records of British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading, whose music I first discovered while studying for an estate management degree at Trent Polytechnic. It has been great to have more time to listen to her albums again. Find her music on Spotify.
For those who have never heard of American singer Perfume Genius, now is the time to get acquainted with his dreamy vocals set to bold instrumentals. With his latest stunner of an album, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, he is finally attaining the mainstream recognition he deserves.
London jazz musician Jelly Cleaver has released a gently woozy track during lockdown called Feeling Fine, featuring rapper Shunaji and saxophonist Maddy Coombs. Cleaver is in lockdown with her whole band, so fingers crossed she produces more music over the coming months.
‘This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman is one of the biggest feel-good songs of recent years. It brings together a deeper meaning of compassion and kindness and encourages everyone to bring their whole self, not just their best self. When this song is on, you cannot help but move your feet, tap your fingers and get involved with the beats.
Jo Lennan’s In the Time of Foxes, published last week, is a collection of short stories. In the eponymous story, a woman faces two difficult decisions over whether to put her mother in a care home and whether to destroy the fox home in her garden. These brief but deep narratives show characters in complex situations. It is rare to find a book this fulfilling.
A book I often dip into and would highly recommend is Legacy by James Kerr. It proposes 15 lessons we can learn from the methods of the legendary All Blacks rugby union team. It is not just a book about sport – Kerr writes about leadership, humility and ethics.
James Deegan’s SAS adventure novel Once A Pilgrim is an enjoyable bit of escapism and a step up from other similar-themed authors. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is an historical and educational epic.
The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman provides a fascinating insight into the intelligence of our feathered garden friends. How can birds anticipate the arrival of a distant storm? How can they find places thousands of miles away that they have never visited before? Ackerman explains all this and more.
Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh tells the unusual story of how he became a brain surgeon. This moving book has helped put life into perspective during these unusual times and is a quick and engaging read.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett is ostensibly a novel about the role of a house and its imposing architecture on the fate of a family, and is beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measure. The depiction of the house in which the book is set is almost photographic in its detail – worth a read for any fan of architecture.
Containing biographies of about 200 London architects from Inigo Jones to Norman Foster, Architects and Architecture of London by Ken Allinson is a great book to dip into and easy to read. Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert tells the compelling story of the design and construction of the legendary New York skyscraper. Designed by Mies van der Rohe, this awesome, heroic building is a big influence on my own work.
If you want a screen break while engaging in something meaningful, check out autobiographical graphic novels. A Drifting Life is a masterpiece that completely absorbs the reader in author Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s journey to become a manga artist in Japan between 1945 and 1960. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel tells her story of growing up as the daughter of a funeral-home owner and her relationship with her father. The book’s musical adaptation is also available online.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is one of the most creative books of recent years. Bursting with simple sketches, it brings to life the true value of compassion, kindness, understanding and self-worth. The simplicity of the line drawings and the emotions they invoke make this an absolute classic.
Although many of the world’s most famous museums are shut for the foreseeable future, Google Arts and Culture collection allows viewers to take virtual tours of leading institutions. Here the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Guggenheim Museum in New York, Musee d’Orsay in Paris, and many more, can be viewed from the comfort of your couch. This huge project displays a wide range of art and artefacts from Egyptian mummies through to Vermeer’s atmospheric domestic interiors (particularly apt for these strange times)
In the face of theatre and venue closures many are also moving their performances online. New York’s Metropolitan Opera will be streaming shows every night at 7.30 EDT, which will be accessible until 3.30 EDT the next day
In many ways the release of the 900-page final instalment of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy couldn’t have been better timed. Spend what would otherwise have been your commute getting into the ‘The Mirror & the Light’ and the deadly intrigues of Henry VIII’s court in the wake of the execution of his second wife, Anne Boleyn.
In American online comedy series The Try Guys, four men in LA try out activities ranging from cooking competitions to sports trials and getting lost in the wild. Outcomes vary but the audience is always kept entertained. The series is available to watch on YouTube and new episodes come out every Wednesday and Saturday.
A way I de-stress after the working day is to sit down with my eight-year-old son and stream a nature documentary. Our favourites are the classics – Seven Worlds, One Planet and Blue Planet II – but the choice available on BBC iPlayer is fantastic! The complete escapism of diving into a documentary puts into perspective how we are all just tiny people doing little things in a vast, amazing world.
American singer Solange might not be as well known as her older sister Beyoncé, but she is just as talented. Her most recent album, When I Get Home, is a beautiful, heartfelt ode to her hometown of Houston, Texas. Her film accompanying the album is available to watch on YouTube.
National Theatre at Home is currently showing the Donmar Warehouse’s visceral 2013/14 production of Coriolanus, with Tom Hiddleston in the title role. It is arguably one of the most dynamic versions of the play ever staged. Its strong cast and small stage give it great immediacy and the savage conclusion is extremely poignant. It is available to watch on YouTube until 7pm on 11 June.
For instant relaxation, spend a few hours trawling YouTube. Living Big in a Tiny House and Exploring Alternatives both make for absorbing viewing. Alternatively, why not learn a new skill? There are many music tutorials for lockdown learning, such as David Bennett Piano and Guy Michelmore’s channels. For synth enthusiasts, Andrew Huang, BoBeats and the incredible Once Upon a Synth channel are real rabbit holes.