Happy new year, Agony Art fans!

This week, instead of dropping a new episode, we bring some disappointing news... for now. We tried with all our might to fit in more recording sessions and finish series 1 before new COVID restrictions kicked in at the end of 2020, but in the end, we just couldn't manage it. 

So, instead, we're taking a break, until we can all get together again and bring you the second half of series 1 that you deserve. We'll be back later in 2021 with series 1, part 2.

But we're not just going to leave you in the lurch like that, because we know that most of you would be lost without our art recommendations, and unless we give you a list of things to read, watch and listen to, you'll probably just stare at the wall and wonder what you can do with your lives. So, we've put together a list of the best works of art we've consumed in the last few months, which you can work through until your new favourite podcast returns.

So, here it is. We hope you enjoy whichever of these works you decide to check out, and we hope that until we see you next you stay safe, well and happy. See you soon, guys!


  • American Pastoral - Philip Roth
    • Aaron says: I bloody love this book.
  • Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Karl says: This is actually my son's book, but I always fancied reading it. Only took me seven months. Really good swashbuckling tale, and you’re kept guessing about Long John Silver's allegiance the whole time. 
  • World of Warcraft: Chronicle - Blizzard Entertainment
    • Liam says: I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off (mostly off) for over 10 years. In 2020, I decided to give it another go. Over the years, I've become quite familiar with Warcraft's lore and fictional world of Azeroth. So when I found out that there were three volumes of fictional histories of Azeroth, I thought I'd give them a read.
      These volumes are an ambitious undertaking. I don't think it would be controversial to suggest that Blizzard haven't entirely had a cohesive plot in mind when developing all the Warcraft games and expansions, so the task to create a backstory that made sense of all the madness can't have been easy.
      I won't lie - if you have no existing interest in the games or world, then I don't think this is a good place to start. But if you are a fan and haven't picked this up already - why not give it a go?

Films / TV
  • Jojo Rabbit
    • Aaron says: It's funny, it's sad, it's adorable, it has Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson and Stephen Merchant, and Roman Griffin Davis puts in an absolutely incredible performance. Film of the year, for me.
  • It's a Wonderful Life
    • Karl says: A classic that I’d never got around to watching. It’s truly wonderful and heart warming. Just the film to make you appreciate the little things. Also genuinely hilarious and ahead of its time with a slight touch of sci-fi with the angels in conversation.
  • Le Mans 66 (aka Ford v Ferrari)
    • Karl says: Engaging thriller/biopic about Ford taking on the might of Ferrari to win Le Mans. You can have fun guessing which accent Christian Bale is attempting.
  • Hacksaw Ridge
    • Karl says: Remarkable true story of Desmond Doss, who joined the US army in WW2 despite being a conscientious objector who refuses to hold a weapon.
  • Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
    • Karl says: What a piece of shit.
  • The Night Manager
    • Karl says: I've been meaning to read the book, but thought I’d watch the show first, after hearing such good things. My wife and I have been watching one episode a week rather than binging, and we get really excited for Night Manager Sunday. Absolutely brilliant series.
    • Aaron says: I agree.
    • Liam says: Yep.
  • The Crown
    • Karl says: Everyone watches it, and there’s a good reason. Teaches you a lot about 20th Century events that you weren’t aware of.  
  • The American BBQ Showdown
    • Karl says: Imagine GBBO, but with meat. Massive slabs of succulent meat. Need I say more? This will grip you week to week, finding out if Ashley’s ‘cue is going to make deceased friend Big Worm proud. 
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Liam says: It's no secret that I have been quite late to the party in catching up on all the MCU films. I finally caught up with Endgame and Spiderman: Far From Home in November. There's not really much to say about these films that hasn't already been said - if you are remotely interested in superheroes, sci-fi, or action films in general, then you should watch them. In a year like 2020, they certainly made my lockdown experience all the more bearable.
  • Onward
    • Liam says: 2020 was the year that I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about and join a group of friends in playing Dungeons and Dragons. I have been playing (and enjoying) it pretty regularly since then (though sadly not always in person). So of course, when my other half and I sat down to watch Pixar's Onward this year knowing very little about it, I was delighted to find it was an homage to such fantasy role-playing games of yore. Of course, it was brilliant. From Pixar, I wouldn't expect any less.
  • The Haunting of Bly Manor
    • Liam says: If you are interested in decent horror, and somehow missed Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House (2019), go and watch it right now.
      Done that? Good. Welcome back. So, time for a confession - you don't actually need to have watched The Haunting of Hill House in order to enjoy The Haunting of Bly Manor, but I hope you are glad you did - it is certainly the best horror series I have ever seen. The Haunting of Bly Manor is an interesting spiritual sequel to the first series. While the story is unrelated, many of the actors returned to play new roles (similar to American Horror Story's recurring cast). While it didn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor, I found it enjoyable, with enough mystery and interesting character development to keep us watching to the end.

  • RTJ4 - Run the Jewels
    • Aaron says: I hadn't heard of Run the Jewels before I saw them supporting Queens of the Stone Age a couple of years ago, but during lockdown this year I've been through all their albums, and this latest one is amazeballs.
  • Unearthed - Johnny Cash
    • Liam says: In the years leading up to his death, Johnny Cash recorded a series of albums produced by industry legend Rick Rubin, entitled the American recordings. Cash performs a variety of songs on these albums: some original, some popular alternative covers, and some traditional Cash classics. These albums are worth a listen in their own right and I have a particular fondness for American IV: The Man Comes Around. The original LP of American IV included a cover of Marty Robbin's Big Iron, and this was my favourite song on the album back in the day. So I was horrified to find out that the version of the album on Spotify doesn't include it! But this cloud turned out to have a silver lining, which brings us to Unearthed.
      All of the songs that didn't make it onto the main tracklisting of the American I-IV (including some alternate versions of those that did) have been compiled into this mammoth 'box set'. At the very least, I recommended checking out Big Iron. If you enjoy that, why not delve into the rest of the albums?
  • BBC Radio 1's Chillest Show
    • Liam says: Every Sunday for a good few years now, BBC Radio 1 DJ Phil Taggart has hosted a 2 hour show, in which he plays a frankly bizarre mix of various music genres which have one thing in common - they are pretty darn chill. On paper, it sounds plain weird - one minute you are listening to Debussy's Claire de Lune, the next minute Loyle Carner is delivering a soulful rap vocal in Ottolenghi, then Fleetwood Mac's Dreams comes on and reminds us that we still need to listen to Rumours as I recommended in episodes 3, 5 and 7.
      This all seems like it shouldn't work, but if you are anything like me, you will find that it absolutely does. I love this show because it helped me realise that when it comes to great music, genre isn't really important - it's the feeling the music invokes that really counts.
      Incidentally, Phil Taggart hosted his final Chillest Show on December 20th 2020. I'll be keeping a close eye on what he does next, as well as looking forward to the next iteration of the Chillest Show in 2021 with new host Sian Eleri.
  • Women in Music Pt. III - HAIM
    • Liam says: Ever since hearing their debut 2013 album Days Are Gone, I have bloody loved HAIM. If you missed the first album, I would highly recommend it. Women in Music Pt. III was their eagerly anticipated (by me at least) third album released in June 2020. After a Difficult Second Album™ that left me slightly disappointed, this really felt like a return to the HAIM I fell in love with all those years ago.
      Like many great acts, HAIM's music is quite difficult to describe. Wikipedia goes with 'pop rock', which is sort of correct, but leaves a lot to the imagination. I would suggest synth heavy alternative rock with strong melodic and harmonic vocals, but that doesn't quite do it justice either. If any of that sounds like your cup of tea though, you will probably enjoy them. At the very least, listen to their 2013 single Falling (which also happens to be track #1 on Days Are Gone) and take it from there.

  • Little Nightmares (PS4 game)
    • Aaron says: Creepy, dark and sometimes absolutely terrifying, this is a really cool game to play in the dark. Especially if you get it on sale, like I did.