Castles, Coens and Compilation

20160526_most_fab_harry_potter_platform_photo_WEBIt feels like an age since last we communicated. In that time, I packed my glittery suitcases, my glittery self and my glittery burlesque housemate, “quirky cutie” Kitschy Koo, and flew off for what was supposed to be eight days of friends-and-family-peppered goodness in the U.K.

I did get all of those things, so that’s nice, but I also got stuck there for an extra week, which was … stressful. And upon my return, I got sick, was held in an immigration interrogation room for two hours for no reason and then spent another two days fighting over the phone with my U.K. bank. In that time, I saw Captain America: Civil War, and it sucked. (Maybe that’s a little strong. I’ll see it again and get back to you.)

So, yeah. What I’d really like to do is sit here and whine all about how the last month of my life has been like that Chinese drive-thru in Dude, Where’s My Car?—a veritable “And then? And then? And then?” of pure bullshit—but that’s not fabulous, and I might be the only one who appreciates Seann William Scott references from the early “aughts.” So, instead, let’s talk about castles and Fargo and lesser-known stringed instruments.


I grew up in Northumberland, in the North of England. Think Winterfell from Game of Thrones, but with more traffic circles and middle schools. Our coastline, from Newcastle all the way up to Edinburgh, is dotted with outcrops of gray stone. Castles everywhere, proper fairytale fodder. My family and I took a road trip up the coast so that I could show my American lady-friend first Bamburgh, where folk/punk singer Frank Turner filmed his music video for “If I Ever Stray,” and then Alnwick Castle, which stood for Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films. Much fun was had, fish and chips were eaten and broomsticks were flown.


Here’s a party I was massively late to, but on whose tables I will now dance for your pleasure. I’m not quite finished with the second season of Noah Hawley’s television adaptation of the Coen brothers’ classic film, but I can say with certainty that the Minnesota accents are the best; Martin Freeman has done his best work since The Office; I still have a huge crush on Billy Bob Thornton; Patrick Wilson does some excellent acting without his Night Owl mask; Kirsten Dunst makes a hilariously believable crazy person; and Ted Danson has officially become Santa Claus now. This show is a magnificent, phenomenally entertaining ensemble piece that spurred two separate train passengers to tap me on the shoulder to ask what I was watching. (This is a big deal, you guys. British people don’t talk to each other on trains.) Both seasons are available to stream on Hulu or FX Now, or to buy on iTunes.

Lesser-Known Stringed Instruments

Nonfollowers of my Instagram and YouTube channels (Go now! I’m @charliestarling) may not be aware of this, but I recently took a drunken trip to Guitar Center in hopes of bettering myself musically. I bought a ukulele, and I urge you to do the same. I don’t think I’ve ever taken this much joy from a $40 purchase. Currently, I’m playing for at least five hours a day. It is extremely satisfying. This new passion led three of my dearest friends to procure for me a banjolele for my birthday. That is exactly what it sounds like—a four stringed, ukelele-sized banjo. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to get back to learning folk songs, punk songs and showtunes on it. And if you’re wondering whether I have learned anything from Hamilton yet… Yes. Yes, I fucking have.

See Charlie Starling in Absinthe, twice nightly in the Spiegeltent at Caesars Palace, 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wed.-Sun. Visit for tickets. Follow her on Twitter: @charlistarling.