Image Description: Two men reading a newspaper.
Searching for recommendations of all things culture this week? We’ve got you covered!
What do you think about the car – Declan McKenna (2017)
Declan McKenna weaves politics and poetry throughout this album while also delivering immaculate indie pop vibes. McKenna’s vocals exude a devastating earnestness over glittering guitar riffs that pay tribute to Bowie and Abba. My personal favorites include the hypnotic bop ‘Why do you feel so down’ – raw and self-deprecating, it was written to be, in McKenna’s own words, a “pisstake dance tune, but it’s also a bit sad”. Other standout tracks include the beautifully intimate ‘Make me your Queen’ and ‘Paracetamol’. There isn’t a track on the album that you’d want to skip. It is perfect for intimate, tipsy chats, spilling wine and secrets with a best mate or alternatively, staring out of the Bod windows channeling main character energy.
Beauty in Death – Chase Atlantic (2021)
Moody, low-fi punk pop with surprise saxophone solos that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up in pure please. Think cocktails of drugs in response to heartbreak and driving very fast through dark country lanes and you’ll be in the right aesthetic zone.
The Disappearance (2016)
A French thriller series on BBC iPLayer. When teenager Lea Morel does not return home from a music festival, her desperate parents contact the police. Lieutenant Molina, freshly transferred from Paris, uncovers areas of Lea’s life that her family knows nothing about. A really traditional, edge of the seat thriller that you’ll find binging completely by mistake. The twists and turns come at you thick and fast and as long as you can read the subtitles fast enough you’ll be spirited away into the dark Parisian underbelly
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Based on August Wilson’s play of the same name, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom tells the story of one hot summer day in a 1920s recording studio. Strikingly theatrical, it may not involve the glamorous spectacles you’d expect from music films—instead, the film is full of intense dialogue that boils with pain and racial trauma. Chadwick Boseman’s last (and finest, as so many critics have already said, rightly) performance adds both superhuman and incredibly humane elements to the film.
If they come for us – Fatimah Asghar (Poetry Anthology)
Asghar’s poems are rich in her unique experience as queer Muslim American with family roots in Pakistan and in divided Kashmir as well as dealing with the loss of her parents at a young age. This anthology, unlike any I’ve come across before, consists of free verse, ghazals (a kind of couplet with South Asian roots) along with crosswords, floorplans and glossaries which emphasise the frustration, injustice and fractured identities that Asghar has grappled with. The anthology incorporates Urdu phrases and is punctuated with intervals of South Asian history, particularly in those poems titled ‘Partition’, referring to the colonial partition of the Indian subcontinent, mirroring the equally pervasive and obtrusive history that regularly interrupts and informs her experiences. Her subversive ‘Microaggression Bingo’ is incredibly relatable and is one of the many witty and heartbreaking works in this anthology.
Fangasm is a self-described “erotic fanfiction podcast” hosted by Chicago based Allie LeFevere, Lyndsay Rush, and Danny Chapman. In each season they read and discuss an erotic fanfiction story— the content ranges from lots of Harry Potter, to Game of Thrones, and even The Office. This podcast will have its listeners laughing out loud on the bus– it’s the perfect combination of comedy and pop culture.