TV programme of the month 1: I'd like to disagee with the Archbishop of Canterbury, not for the first time, and shower praise on Footballers' Wives. This third series has its tongue so firmly in its cheek that the scriptwriters can get away with almost any far-fetched plot, and then completely forget about it 20 minutes later. They surely can't beat Harley and Shannon crash-landing their runaway hot air balloon in the lion enclosure of a safari park on their honeymoon night. Or can they? Still two more episodes to go, including tonight's.
TV programme of the month 2: As I've written before, I've been a fan of Grange Hill for 27 series, and it's not yet lost its cutting edge. I know none of you watch it any more, but trust me on this one. Just the right mix of drama, humour, social issues and romantic interest in this year's series, and my special award goes to the utterly convincing Aspergers storyline. When today's kids grow up, it's good to know they too will have classic children's TV to discuss down the pub.
TV programme of the month 3: Nighty Night (now BBC2, formerly BBC3) is described as a comedy. I reckon it's hard to get laughs out of terminal disease and multiple sclerosis, but thankfully this show gets its laughs from the utter ghastilness of the central character. It's the sort of comedy you watch from behind the sofa, but totally addictive.
Book of the month: I bought tons of London books this month, and I've not had time to read most of them yet. But the one I have read, and will heartily recommend, is Eccentric London by Benedict le Vey. Mainly because it's full of all the strange stuff about the capital I love. But also because if he's written it, it saves me from writing it.
Magazine of the month: It can only be Smoke, which I did finally track down earlier this week, and yes it is as good as I hoped. Still quirky, still oblique, still beautifully designed, now an even better read. Loads of bus routes merit a passing namecheck too (36, 125, 382, 93, W7, 22, 185, 161, 472, 486, 43, 139, 25, 12, 27, 38, 59, 45), scattered liberally throughout 52 pages of excellent individual articles. Next issue promised in July.
Art gallery of the month: I thought I'd drop in on the Henry Moore Foundation in Leeds city centre yesterday but unfortunately all the main galleries were closed. The nice lady at the desk told me they were 'between exhibitions' and could I come back in 6 weeks time? Not having quite that long before my train departed I strolled round Leeds City Art Gallery nextdoor instead. There was a Lowry or two, but also some much more up-to-date stuff like a spotty Hirst and a stripy Riley. It's an impressive collection, especially the wide selection of modern British sculpture, including Hepworth, Gormley and of course some leftover Henry Moore. An unexpected pleasure.
Album of the month: Scissor Sisters by the Scissor Sisters. When I heard this debut album described as 'sleazy electro disco' I was expecting 80s. But no, the whole package screams 70s instead. It's not an album of cover versions but every track sounds like it was recorded this year but written by somebody famous 30 years ago. I can hear the blatant influence of David Bowie, the Bee Gees, Steely Dan, Sparks, Sylvester, at least three eras of Elton John and even some Rocky Horror Picture Show. And oh boy, against all the odds it so works.