Although I've tried to wean myself off things like Netflix, something I recently watched that made me discover a newfound love for eccentricities was 'Pretend it's a City'. The docuseries focuses on the writer and what one could only describe as an eccentric, Fran Lebowitz. Directed by her friend and director Martin Scorsese, Lebowitz takes us through the parts of her life spent as a New Yorker and laments of the changes she doesn't understand. Why are people walking around with sticks with their cellphones stuck to them? Why does everybody get annoyed when they walk into you, even though it's their own doing? Why do people drag heavy tyres through Central Park in expensive gym clothes in the name of exercise?
With these oddities in mind, she reminds people to act in the way where you would 'pretend it's a city'. Imagine, even though you couldn't possibly imagine it, that other people live here, and that they too need to go about their daily lives. Wow! What a concept!
Lebowitz, in her 70s, has seen a myriad of change over her lifetime living in Manhattan, not all of it she approves of or is willing to understand. In her 20s she would hang out with jazz greats in cafes, back when smoking was allowed indoors - something that she mourns the loss of. One quote that she backs up this miss with is "most of the great artists sat indoors, in cafes, smoking and drinking and talking. That was art. Can you imagine if Picasso had to get up and leave to go and have a cigarette? He probably would have missed something!"
Lebowitz also marvels and despairs at the phenomena of the New York housing market, in which she says that the amount of money spent on apartments is extortionate - why do we just get used to these ridiculous numbers? Why on earth should an apartment cost 22 million dollars? It shouldn't.
The series focuses on other subjects such as crime in the city, sexism in the 70s and the trouble Fran has when trying to fit her 10,000 book collection into wherever she moves next in the city.
It's interesting to see somebody who is so at home in their city, yet watches it become less and less familiar each day.