Culture & Entertainment
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.
On any normal weekday, you’re just pleased if you’ve managed to shower and get on the bus by 8am. But this won't be an ordinary weekday. June 1 is the first day of Birmingham International Dance Festival and Morning Gloryville will have you up and raving by 7am. Leftfoot DJs, yoga and smoothies will make sober raving easy, dare we say just as the press release claims, exhilarating? The exercise is just an added bonus. So we’ll see you down the front, oui?
We haven't read this book. Okay, that's not strictly true, we haven't finished this book, but we're admitting it to you. We're not willing to rush this one because, having had first hand experience with anxiety and depression, we can literally feel this novel doing us good as we read. And deadlines, quite frankly, are anxiety-inducing d*ckheads.
Mercury 7 were America’s first astronauts, the first to experience zero gravity and the first to orbit Earth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they achieved considerable acclaim. You probably haven’t heard of the Mercury 13. They were a group of enthusiastic pilots and aspiring astronauts and part of an unofficial NASA programme - that were women.
Fewer women win the Man Booker Prize than men. Books about women are less likely to win prizes than books about men. And in 2015, Kamila Shamsie published a piece in The Guardian proposing that throughout 2018 all new titles be written by women. And Other Stories was the only publishing house in the UK to take up the challenge. We've been talking to their fiction editor, Tara Tobler (pictured), in advance of her appearance at Birmingham Literature Festival.
Dream dinner party guest, David Chang, travels the world as he visits food hotspots to dissect comfort goodies like fried chicken, tacos and pizza. It might not always be pretty, but blimmin' hell it's tasty. Be warned: never watch this show on an empty stomach.