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Happy Place #1

We've highlighted some of the arty things that have made us smile this term

We've highlighted some of the arty things that have made us smile this term

Happy Place - Fearne Cotton

First up is the podcast that inspired this feature: Happy Place. Fearne Cotton hosts this delightful little series, where she interviews a different person every week about feeling blue and learning to find joy in the everyday.

Previous guests include Matt Haig talking about the power of articulating your feelings, Dawn French on the beauty of having some quiet time and Paloma Faith on guilty pleasures.

These open and honest conversations turn up a lot of gems, but my favourite insight comes from Desert Island Discs presenter, Kirsty Young.

She says: ‘When a friend, a good true friend, who knows you, who you trust, tells you something, really take time to listen to them because the chances are it will be incredibly good advice’.

Anna Trafford, Arts Deputy Editor

Less – Andrew Sean Greer

‘Just for the record, happiness is not bullshit’

Less is the story of a failed author, Arthur Less. On the brink of middle age, Less goes on a round the world trip to escape attending the wedding of his ex-boyfriend. The novel, as well as having won a Pulitzer this year, brilliantly bridges the divide between dry-humoured narration and just enough heart (provided by the relatable but completely hopeless protagonist). As Less travels around the world, chased by nostalgia for his youth, he confronts all the reasons he’s ended up falling short of everything he hoped to be; whether the pursuit of love is really worth it; and what it’s like to grow old as a gay man. The entire journey takes place amongst a satirical view of the literary industry, within which Less’ fellow authors insist on informing him why he has never managed to be truly successful.

But Less, for all its gentle mocking of its titular character, is optimistic at its heart, detailing the wonder of every place described and how it helped Less get to that final realisation he needs. It’s funny, it’s clever, its beautifully written, and it has an emotional payoff more than worth your time.

Jasmine Norden, third year Psychology

Douglas Adams - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Ever wondered what it would be like to have your house bulldozed only moments before the planet was destroyed to make room for a new hyper-space bypass? No? Well the surprising and hilarious tale of Arthur Dent’s sudden initiation into space travel in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy might sound like a chain of very unfortunate events, but is really just the thing to put a very large and stupid grin on your face. In the company of a narcissistic two-headed man, a depressed robot, a professional galactic hitchhiker and a girl whose phone number (much to his own surprise) he managed to get at a house party, Dent is hurled into a range of highly improbable scenarios.

Not only is the series immensely entertaining but it’s also peppered with excellent tips such as: always bring a towel, a dressing gown can withstand pretty much anything, and there really is no place to find a good cuppa other than Earth. So whether it’s Vogon poetry or end-of-term deadlines getting you down, it’s important to remember the caring words of wisdom printed in friendly letters on the cover of the Hitchiker’s Guide: DON’T PANIC.

Yasmin Inkersole, second year English

(Featured image credits: Conner Baker)

What's made you smile lately? Share with us in the comments below or on social media.

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