Nice thread idea.
TV/Films: I don’t really have the ability to just put something on any more just because of my mood so I’ve lost this a bit, which seems strange I suppose, but I think it’s harder when you’re living with a whole family. When I was in my own place, however, I recall that Buffy, Spaced, Blackadder, Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back, When Harry Met Sally and others were the kind of thing I’d reach for.
Books: Dick Francis. I mean, again, I have changed my book habits more recently because I hate how ‘unread’ I am and how hard I find it to sit down and just read a book so I am constantly trying to read new things. And actually when I was digging deep into the Expanse novels at the start of the year they were definitely in that sweet spot of reading where you’re powering through and it’s easy to read but it’s still stimulating.
So yeah, Dick Francis is an author I always used to read over and over because his books are exactly that sweet nice spot of a good conclusion and a ‘safe’ thriller where you know that only bad guys are really at risk. I think the other books I used to retreat to like this are mostly from when I was a kid/teenager and I’d get the same books out on cassette or read them over when I was stressed:
Gerald Durrell - The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium
Dorothy L Sayers - Lord Peter Views the Body
^^^ These are both short story collections which helps because you have a very small little vignettes to help you just escape but there’s not the whole book to have to read
David Eddings - Belgariad 4: Castle of Wizardry ← I mean LOL at kid me but there you go. Lots of bad racist stuff in the Belgariad series that I was far too young to understand. Not so much in a ‘non whites are bad’ but more in a fantasy trope of ‘your race defines you’ taken to extremes for the story. It’s a proper kids’ series really so much like your love of Harry Potter this was ‘my Potter’ as a kid and book 4 is where Garion finally stops being the passive Gothic Romance type hero to whom things happen and gains agency. If you saw my five old paperbacks this one was just so much more battered.
Frederick Forsyth - The Fourth Protocol / The Odessa File ← What a terrible human FF is. Thatcher loving wanker, and his books are aggressively MALE but I always appreciated those plots. He loves to build it all up very cleverly even as he’s telling you all how awful anyone remotely on the left is.
Music: Well there’s Nevermind. I put that album on whenever times are hard for me and it totally works, lifts me out with its anger and its energy. Otherwise there are those big 1997 albums where I was big into them: Blur and OK Computer. Similarly I have a huge love of Dire Straits from when I was a kid so sometimes any of their first three albums will be a nice place to go to.