Free films and audiobooks for your media player
It's Thanksgiving week which means three certain things. First and foremost is that America goes on holiday while the rest of the world sits in confusion trying to work out what's going on. So, citizens of the UK and Europe, that is why things will be eerily quiet on Thursday. Job done.
Second is that the Black Friday sales hit meaning bargains galore for those in the US who have the nerve, cunning and sharp enough elbows to cope with the crowds. We've compiled a guide on how to get the most out of Black Friday for you. Another job done.
Last of all, it means the mass migration of Americans from their busy working lives to wherever it is they once called home. So, as a gift to all our American readers from the UK, here are some excellent ideas to help wile away those travelling hours - quality downloadable content for your media players, and most of it free.
There are plenty of sites out there that stream the work of budding filmmakers, but remember that sites like Vimeo actually allow you to download these works as well. There are nearly 30,000 actual films of all types on the online video service - rather than just sneezing pandas and over confident martial artists. You'll have to take pot luck to some degree although it's worth exploring a few of the channels within the independent and short films tags until you find one with solid looking production values.
UK TV & Film on BitTorrent
If you're not going to toss and turn all night over the guilt and legal position of BitTorrent, then naturally, that's positively a treasure trove of quality content. If you're stuck for inspiration, then try a few bits and pieces from the UK. For classic and quite disturbing stories then check out the Wicker Man, Scum and If. For something a little more modern, then In The Loop and Rocknrolla are both very entertaining. But, if you really want to be blown away, then go for In Bruges or Dead Man's Shoes.
HBO is where it's at for TV right now but the best shows to come from this side of the Pond at the moment are comedies like Green Wing, Gavin and Stacey, and Ricky Jervais's new series PhoneShop. Top Gear is a favourite with car loving gadget geeks the world over and, for something more calming, download the stunning David Attenborough nature series, Life.
If you'd rather give your eyes a rest, then audiobooks are a good way to go. Fortunately, there's plenty of free sites all over the place. Most of what you'll find are classics, but weighty tombs such as the Iliad, Moby Dick and Pilgrim's Progress are probably quite enjoyable when someone else is doing all the work for you. Highlights might include White Fang, The Time Machine, Heart of Darkness, War of the Worlds, The Legend of King Arthur and his Knights, Metamorphosis and many more.
The sound of someone else's voice droning on for pages might be a bit much for some people, so for snappier audio action, then do check out the much overlooked category of radio plays and shows.
The Wireless Theatre Company has an excellent range of good quality material, but if you really want something very special indeed, then we heartily recommend this set of ghost stories called Fear On Four which was a radio series aired on BBC Radio 4 in the winter nights of the late 80s. Fantastic scripts, beautifully produced which include well-known tales like the Monkey's Paw and bone chillers like The Face.
iTunes TV & Film
Now, we said most of it was free but we'll end with the one piece of paid content just in case you've got a little iTunes credit or you're feeling flush. As ever, the Apple Store is updated on a regular basis and if you love your TV shows then there's new episodes from the latest series of South Park and Family Guy to enjoy. Glee is the obvious flavour of the month with much of the recently aired first series available, so that's a good one to go for if you missed it first time around.
On the drama side, there's regular favourites like House, Grey's Anatomy and Flash Forward but a strong recommendation, while we're on the sci-fi tip, would be the arrival of the very first episode of the remake of the 1960s classic, The Prisoner.
If you'd rather watch a film or two, then there's a host of new releases from Pixar's Up to blockbusters like Angels and Demons. Do remember to avoid action if you're watching on a small screen in which case, it might be worth taking a look at the Welcome to Macintosh documentary or the dramatised tale of how it all went down with Pirates of Silicon Valley. Finally, of course, there's always the Thanksgiving classic that is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Now go download, and have a good trip.