Culture & Entertainment
Visiting the mainland? Over it. Whether you’re looking for some R&R, a bit of culture, or you want to become a fully-fledged surf pro on your next hol, these European island destinations – dotted around the Med and Aegean seas and just one direct flight from Birmingham away – all deserve your undivided attention for a hot minute.
The rise of fascism, the powers that be in constant conflict with each other and the stories of ordinary people being drowned out by shouty rhetoric. Sound familiar? The parallels that can be drawn between Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the current sociopolitical climate aren’t lost on Director Melly Still. But she tells me how she wants to tell a human story, not an ideological one.
What do Thursday evenings usually look like for you? If we're speaking candidly here, mine normally involves (literal) Netflix and chill. So in an unusual sociable twist, a few weeks ago on a rainy Thursday at 6pm, I joined Bloom Collective for a floristry workshop at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
Ever found yourself whiling away hours scrolling through Instagram when you could have been doing something (anything) more productive? I’m not denying anyone a good fall down a #NoFilter rabbit hole but your brain might thank you for a more creative pastime. These less than pedestrian hobbies might be just the tonic to reset your busy mind (and clip that phone screen time).
During the early years of her biotech company Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes took to wearing a black turtleneck every day, in the style of her hero, Steve Jobs. She hired ex-Apple staff and brought in their iconic advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. There's also speculation that she consciously changed her speaking voice to a deeper register, so she would be taken more seriously. And somehow, these are some of the less weird things Holmes has done.
It feels easier to blame my impressive content-binging on 21st century multimedia overload. It’s all Netflix’s fault that I consume a 20 part series in two weeks, okay? But the truth is I’ve never been able to make a good thing last. Just look back at my voracious Jacqueline Wilson days in the 90s to see I’ve always been like this.
Friday’s a huge day in the feminist calendar. Maybe the biggest of them all. We've all got it circled in red pen, right? It’s International Women’s Day, and rather than clear a space in your diary to correct trolls on Twitter by telling them that International Men’s Day does exist (it’s on November 19) get down to these awesome happenings supporting local ladies. And prepare to feel pumped about the ace-ness of women in this city.
I get it. We’re all busy. Busy with work, busy maintaining our social lives and busy trying to carry on with a façade of normality whilst also stockpiling canned foods and medicines before March 29. So sometimes, meal planning, meetings and remembering to pay bills just don’t feel like a priority. But these apps can lend a hand and save you some precious time.
Our sweet sweet home is the City of a Thousand Trades. One of those trades has got an entire blooming quarter named after it. So rather than just strolling past the windows and admiring the shiny sparkly things, why not get involved, learn some jewellery-making skills and inevitably become the next Cartier*? *I accept no responsibility for you not becoming the next Cartier.
You’re either Team Read The Book First (and then watch the film or play after), or firmly from the movie-watching-then-giving-the-book-a-go school of thought. Whichever one you fall into, The Rep is delivering the adaptations this season. Now you just need to decide if you’ve got to finish the text before you go.
Marie Kondo seems like the sweetest person, probably ever. In her new Netflix show Tidying Up, the organisational goddess who became a household name in 2014 with her book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up squeals with delight when she meets new people, and rolls around on the carpet, so happy is she when rooms have been cleared of clutter.
You’ve basically memorised the entire script of It’s A Wonderful Life. You know when Queenie does her speech. Half the fun of the hols is doing the same thing year after year, after blooming year. But what if you don't want to watch Mrs Brown's Boys with the in-laws on the big TV? We understand. And we got you.
It's an hour until curtain-up and I'm sitting next to a ballet dancer, a real life ballet dancer. Unbelievably graceful despite still being in jogging bottoms, Céline Gittens, Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal, is transforming herself into the Rose Fairy for the evening's performance of The Nutcracker. And the humble, strong, knowing 30-year-old is simultaneously talking to me about ballet, Birmingham and burgers...
My Instagram explore page is 90% dog videos and 10% No Context Louis Theroux posts. I lose hours of my life watching Huskies try to find their hiding owners and German Shepherds catching treats in slow motion (with hilarious consequences, obvs). What I’m saying is, I can and do watch the most banal of dog-related content, so praise be to Netflix for creating some beautifully shot, tear-inducing, quality canine TV too.
As you walk into Gas Hall, a huge holographic wall stretches out to the left, brandished with the words Women, Power, Protest. We all know BMAG don’t shy away from sensitive subjects (oh hey Coming Out), neither do they do sensationalism. For this show, they've created a space that's accessible for everyone despite the pretty intense subject matter. But joyously, the overtly glittery, pink, "feminine" aesthetics continue throughout.
You might expect a play based on a novel written 119 years ago to be a little, shall we say… old-fashioned. Well, let The Rep’s upcoming showing of Heart of Darkness, originally written by Joseph Conrad, change your mind.
I was 16 when The Lovely Bones was published, just two years older than the main character, Susie Salmon, who has been murdered and is now trapped in some kind of in-between. The heavy subject matter made waves through my school year, and in particular me and my angsty group of pals, but the story doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to translate to stage. We talked to designer Ana Inés Jabares-Pita about the challenges of creating a set showing both the everyday and the afterlife.
Fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on The Train and that increasingly popular subgenre of pyschological thriller with a female descriptor in the title will want to add A J Finn’s debut novel The Woman in the Window to their ‘must read’ list.
Did you watch The Cry? Don't answer that, we can't hear you. But if you didn't, you really should. Written by Jacquelin Perske, and from the novel by Helen FitzGerald, Jenna Coleman leads in a psychological, chronological flip-flopping thriller that will merrily twist your guts around its little finger. And it will do so with double the torsion if you're a parent.
There’s something about a true-life story that is more gripping than fiction. Experiencing another person’s joy or heartbreak is at once relatable and an escape from your everyday.
If ever you needed proof that camping should be entirely reserved for festivals and that team-bonding exercises need to be illegalised stat, then Force Of Nature is it.
When you think of comedy, you probably don’t associate it with kindness. Sweeping generalisations, jokes at the expense of others, and best of British to you if you're sitting on the front row.
Escaping into someone else's world through a book is one of our very greatest pleasures. Doing so from a sun bed, supping a piña colada with nothing else to do all day — well that's the bestest. Yet to pick a holiday library? Young Irish author, Sally Rooney's debut ménage à quatre is well worthy of your shortlist.
This isn’t a book about freelancing. It’s not a book celebrating job insecurity. The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon is a book about creating a new blueprint for the workplace and finding a career and a definition of success that works for you. Next time someone asks what you do, rather than say "I'm a Model-DJ-Actress-Instagram Influencer", just tell them you're a Multi-Hyphenate.
Sounds like a 70s B-movie horror about a murderous flight of stairs and the uncanny number of accidents that befall those who descend them, right? It's not. But we'd probably watch that.
Consuming TV shows and podcasts at an alarming rate is kinda our thang. Why go outside and enjoy summer when you can watch this lovely crop of fresh newbies and unmissable sophomore efforts hitting Netflix this month?
One Artistic Director. One Associate Director. Two professional actors. 100 members of the public. The Rep’s production of Woyzeck is one helluva undertaking. What could possibly go wrong? We had a right good conflab with Roxana Silbert at The Rep ahead of the pioneering show about the story, the theatre and what it's like to produce a play with 100 non-professional volunteers from the community.