Bea’s Comfort Content

As C-3PO once so eloquently pointed out “we seem to be made to suffer, it’s our lot in life”. He was, of course, talking about himself and R2-D2 stranded in the dunes of Tatooine, but I’ve often felt the exact same sentiment in my own life. Over the past couple of years, I’m sure I’m not the only one, so I wanted to share some of the content that’s helped me through.



This 1996 classic, directed by Danny Devito, based on the Roald Dahl book is a staple of my life. It’s an adaptation that captures the charm and whimsy of the source material whilst providing one of Hollywood’s greatest villains with Headteacher Agatha Trunchbull. Whose heart wasn’t warmed by Miss Honey?

Toy Story

PIXAR Studios’ first feature film and the first fully animated feature-length motion picture is still a perfect hit of nostalgia. It has a great plot, likable characters, and one of the greatest scores ever written but it’s also a franchise I’ve grown up with. Realistically, any PIXAR film could go here, although The Incredibles is a close second.

The Lego Batman Movie

Batman, as a character, is most entertaining to me when he’s not being too serious. Batman ’89 captures the comic book vibe and the 1960’s Adam West show captures the perfect camp nature but this film achieves both. It’s also overflowing with warmth, in-jokes, and obvious respect for the character. It’s a perfect introduction for children and I love it more on every rewatch.


Doctor Who

I started watching this British sci-fi classic when it returned to our screens in 2005 and it’s those few years that I find myself rewatching the most. It’s the era where I fell in love with this show, with superb scripts from Russel T Davies and a stunning score from Murray Gold, but in particular, it’s that first series I fall back on most regularly. Never skip 9.

Spongebob Squarepants

The first few seasons of this show, which started airing in 1999, contain some of the funniest moments ever aired on television. Again, this is a show I grew up on because it simply saturated Nickelodeon thanks to reruns. Stephen Hillenberg created some of the most likable, entertaining characters and educated us on Sea Life without us noticing. He is missed constantly.

Bob’s Burgers

This animated adult comedy about a man, his family, and their burger restaurant is one of the best shows currently airing. I started watching during The Pandemic and quickly fell in love with these characters as well as the various forms of comedy employed by the show. Slapstick, sarcasm, and one-liners all have a part to play in making this semi-sitcom as quirky as it is.



Primarily known for his asdfmovie series, Thomas “Tomska” Ridgewell and his friends create some of the funniest videos on the platform. Whether it’s their Content series on the second channel “Tomska and Friends”, the live-action sketches, or even asdfmovie itself, I’m constantly dipping back into his videos. Content is especially neat because it feels more like hanging out with the boys than watching a video. The very wholesome boys.

Tom Scott

Youtube is home to a bounty of educational content and Tom Scotts channel is home to much of it. From visiting amazing places to his series Things You Might Not Know, as well as the roundtable games he plays with his friends, Tom is a bastion of knowledge and entertainment. He also has one of the most relaxing voices I’ve ever heard.


Harry Brewis is known for his zany energy and only uploading twice a year, but every time he uploads he raises the bar for video essays. They are always well researched and manage to keep me engaged despite their, occasionally rather long, runtimes. Television, gaming, and real-world events all get a look in with his often thought-provoking work.



I don’t really listen to music but I grew up listening to classic artists like Bowie, Abba, and Queen. Honestly, any of their works could go here, but I find myself returning to Queen’s catalog the most. There are all-time greats like Bohemian Rhapsody but songs like Hammer To Fall are just as wonderful.

The Lord of the Rings OST

Considering my love of movies, it should come as no surprise that I lean towards soundtracks instead of mainstream music albums. John Williams’ work is unparalleled but if anyone came close, it was Howard Shore with his compositions in the Middle Earth films. Not only are they hauntingly beautiful, but they make me feel at home. Concerning Hobbits never fails to make me smile.

West Side Story OST

If it’s not film soundtracks, it’s musicals. I grew up with the likes of Hairspray and Grease but more recent productions like School of Rock and Beetlejuice: The Musical arejust as great. My focus often shifts, as does my mood, so I go through a wide variety of scores but for today’s recommendation, it felt right to pick West Side Story. Steven Spielberg recently released his own film based on Sondhiem’s musical and Sondheim recently passed away. If you have somehow missed out, now is the time to jump in.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer

The Middle Earth Collection

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Ranking the Middle Earth Saga

Editorial: What The Shire Means To Me

Ranking the Middle Earth Saga

Signed: Your Friendly neighbourhood queer

What The Shire Means To Me

I grew up on The Lord of the Rings. My father owned 5th edition printings of the books (the ones with with the circle on each cover) and, when the extended versions of the Peter Jackson films were released, he bought those too. These films introduced me to the wonderful world of JRR Tolkien, and I would take every opportunity I could to watch them – of which there were plenty, as they were constantly being shown on television. It wouldn’t be until I was about 9 or 10 that I would finally get around to reading through the books themselves and, having fallen in love with the simple complexity of Middle Earth, I moved onto The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. For me, Tolkien’s world became a second home, but I always found myself drawn to the realm of The Shire in particular.

I grew up in a small island community focused primarily on farming. We have a population in my hometown of just over 8,000 people, and I find it to be similar to The Shire in many ways. Bard the Bowman once said of his village Laketown that “It’s a small town, everyone knows where everyone lives” which is true of all communities this small. Even if somebody isn’t aware of somebody else’s address, there seem to be no qualms with openly sharing that information, especially if they happen to be buying from another local online. There is a certain amount of comfort in the people who surround you, even if you don’t know them by name. There is a comfort in The Known , and a fear of The Unknown. Personally I find 8,000 people to be a bit too much, so I would prefer a population closer to that of Hobbiton. It’s large enough that it isn’t purely family members, but small enough that I could still recognise everybody by name.

The attitudes between my two homes are similar as well. There is a certain “status quo” that needs maintaining, and I see this in the reaction to changes proposed by our local council. If they want to change the layout of the high street or add bollards on roads, then the general public will make their disdain known. Even if changes were to be made, it would require vigorous planning and compromises to be met. It’s the kind of place in which abandoning your entire life to assist Dwarves on a quest to retake their homeland would probably be frowned upon. I’m sure that it was the talk of The Shire that day, and the day after, but eventually life returned to normal. It was yesterday’s news, and people moved on. This is true the world over, but I think it is especially prevalent in small communities where word travels fast, and news reaches everybody before the day is out. Of course the status quo does not necessarily need to exist in your own household, but in public you behave in a way that is acceptable. Gandalf is seen as a bit of a troublemaker by the time of Fellowship of the Ring but he recognises the customs that are in place. He doesn’t do anything he thinks might upset the peace.

Bilbo happens to be a brilliant example of the status that exists within small communities. He becomes a well known figure, and his 111th birthday is such a large event that even those hobbits who don’t receive invites are expected to attend anyway. This kind of notoriety leads to people recognising you even if you don’t recognise them. I have, to a fairly small extent, been prone to this myself, although I tend to get recognised because of my mother’s charity work as opposed to my own. However my grandfather- a local historian- was definitely a man of great renown within my hometown, to the extent that walking through the street could take an hour instead of the 15 minutes it should, because people continuously stopped to speak to him. He passed away recently, and as the hearse drove him through every main road, there were numerous people lining the pavements out of respect. All events here are major, and I’d presume that is even more the case in The Shire.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of Hobbit-life is how relaxed it seems to be. Even in my hometown, which is viewed generally as a “simple farming community”, the 21st century has arrived and the nature of modern life has taken hold. Everybody seems to feel the need to be constantly busy, always in a rush to get somewhere. We have an ever growing number of loud boy racers doing engine revs late at night, and construction sites starting early in the morning. The town is constantly moving except for in the very early hours. Between the closing of the pubs and the opening of the shops, there exist several hours of peace. I have often found myself awake during that time feeling more at ease than ever. I’m not really a people person. I get anxious in large crowds, even if it’s a large group of friends, I often feel like the general public is judging me for being openly queer, and the people here can come across as a little brazen. I don’t dislike the people here, but I have always said that my town would be a perfect place without them.

I think this is why I fell so deeply in love with The Shire. It is the ideal version of my own hometown. It lacks the harsh aura and the busy atmosphere, whilst having the smaller elements that make my town home. I see in those hobbits the same kinds of people that I already know, from the elderly men smoking over a pint, to the children just excited to watch fireworks. I have friends like Sam, Merry, and Pippin whom I trust as much as Frodo trusts them. Of course, I see myself as Frodo, as I’m sure many people who read The Lord of the Rings do (although it requires some genderbending on my part). Here is a hobbit who wants to see the world, but is still so at ease in the place where he lives. Much like his uncle before him, it would take a wizard to nudge him through the door of adventure, and I hope that my partner can eventually do the same for me. It also helps to associate The Shire with a beautiful piece of music like “Concerning Hobbits” which never fails to bring me joy.

Signed: Your friendly neighbourhood queer