loaded question: what’s your favorite cultural life hack?

The Guardian today offers up a big list of “cultural life hacks,” or ways that “the arts can slightly improve your life.” Some of them are completely ridiculous (“Give up your job, raid your children’s inheritance, and set yourself up as an artist in a town where no one knows you”). Lots are pretty banal, though are also perhaps things that are worth emphasizing as, you know, good things to do, such as:

Visit a museum for 20 minutes. Enjoy just a handful of works, absorbing enough beauty and power to give you a lift. A concentrated burst beats an exhausting trawl.


Go to the movies alone on a Monday after work. If it’s a fancy cinema, treat yourself to a cocktail. Your attentiveness to the film will be all the better for not being confused with socialising. Communing with a big screen is a great way to start the week.

I would suggest that going to the movies alone on any day and at any time is good, and allows you to make the film your entire focus.

As for the Guardian’s more intriguing cultural life hacks, I very much concur with the suggestion to check out Radio Garden, which lets you listen live to radio stations all over the world. (“Spin [its globe] at random, or alight on a place you’ve always wanted to visit – and discover what their daily soundtrack involves.” Yes!)

What’s your favorite cultural life hack? Are there ways that you consume or play with music, movies, books, games, etc, that give you extra pleasure, and/or that you suspect may not have occurred to other people?

(You can also discuss this at Substack or Patreon, if you prefer. You don’t need to be a paying subscriber to comment, but you will need to register with either site to do so.)

photo by Marius GIRE on Unsplash

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movie lover
Mon, Jul 25, 2022 2:06pm

Radio Garden looks great! Here’s another one: Radiooooo.com. Pick a country AND a decade, select for “slow/fast/weird,” and listen to a sample of music from that place and era.

I’m a fan of anything that’ll put me in the path of new music. The Amazon Music app gives me a “My Discovery Mix” every Monday, a playlist of random stuff based on songs I’ve played and “Liked” in the past. And since my musical taste is all over the place, I get a lot of interesting new gems in different genres and languages.

I like searching for random playlists on Spotify based on my very literal needs. If I feel like listening to peaceful instrumental music on Sunday morning, I can type in “Sunday morning peaceful instrumentals” and very likely someone will have created a playlist with almost exactly that title. I’ve also discovered a lot of new music that way. My one misfire was when I wanted some background music for polishing our silverware, so I typed in “polish music” and got some accordion-heavy songs I didn’t quite expect. :-)

I love some of the continuous music livestream channels on YouTube, for relaxing background music to accompany chores, reading, etc. The LoFi Girl channel is a great one, with 2 livestream videos and several fixed-length compilations.

last edited 22 days ago by Bluejay
movie lover
Mon, Jul 25, 2022 3:00pm

I still remember the joy of driving across England late one night and picking up Radio Tirane.

I don’t think there’s a random museum selector site, but I like to look at exhibits from places I’m unlikely to see.