Isolation 101: Karen Walker Shares Her Lockdown Distractions

The fashion designer is geeking out with Tom Hanks films and history podcasts

Fashion designer Karen Walker shares what's keeping her occupied at home. Photo / Babiche Martens

 What I’m reading...
The Collected Stories by Grace Paley. Set in New York in the 50s and 60s, the stories bump between moving, hilarious, tragic, the personal, political and feminist. She says: “ . . . I had been sold early on the idea that I might not be writing the important serious stuff. As a grown-up woman, I had no choice. Everyday life, kitchen life, children life had been handed to me, my portion, the beginning of big luck, though I didn’t know it.”

What I’m watching ...
A Tom Hanks trilogy: Castaway, Saving Private Ryan and Apollo 13. Two reasons: 1) he had the virus, 2) he’s so perfect as the “everyman” thrust into a seemingly unwinnable, overwhelming and dangerous situation. The films were amazingly comforting and there were some true moments of wisdom in there. On the rough days, all I need to ask myself is: “What would Tom Hanks do?”. We followed that with season 10 of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

What I’m listening to ...
I love In Our Time on BBC as they go super-deep on subjects I often have little knowledge about, and cover culture, history, philosophy, religion and science. It’s super-geek stuff. My favourites from over the years include The Gin Craze, Picasso’s Guernica, The Covenanters, The Evolution of Teeth, The History of Politeness and Feathered Dinosaurs. Music-wise I’m sticking with Glenn Gould. But interspersing with some life-long favourites that make me feel good.

The thing that made me laugh this week ... 
Yesterday I saw Larry David’s PSA on the California Governor’s IG (@cagovernor). I watched that about 10 times and sent it around all my LD fan-friends.

The hobby I’ve taken up...
I’m so busy with work that I’ve not had a second to think about taking up or revisiting any hobbies, though I did make bread for the first time in years the other night and that was deeply satisfying and comforting. I would love to sit down at my piano at some point. I think that would be equally comforting and also pleasingly distracting.

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New Zealand Herald

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