10 things I loved this week
You can trust me because I have what? Taste!
This week: articles, recipes, podcasts, poems, and TikToks for your viewing/listening/reading/dancing/cooking pleasure.
One of my favourite things about the newsletters I follow is when the writer’s send their monthly recommendations. It’s a comfort to have someone point you in the right direction of a song, podcast, tv show, book (you catch my drift) now that we have access to an abundance of things to consume - admittedly a blessing and a curse simultaneously. A Libra needs a bit of a nudge sometimes, because I can get too in my head.
Recommending things is a love language. A way of saying “I listened to/cooked/danced to” this, and it made me think of you. It’s a chance to connect with someone you love, or with someone new. What a feeling to send a song to your friend knowing they will love it, and then they do!! Magic. And corny, but mainly sweet. Conversely, it can be a relief to find common ground with a co-worker or someone at a party when the chat is not finding a natural rhythm. Dump the chat about your commute and ask them if they’ve watched . Either way, it can be a nice springboard for conversation. Sending a list of things I enjoyed is my way of helping you navigate the endless stream of content online and have a chance to rave about what I’ve been loving recently. I famously have great taste so why would I not embrace sharing that with you all?
I made this recipe from TikTok and I must say, it went absolutely off. It was giving fresh & fruity, summer, al-fresco on the balcony in Italy kinda thing, even though reality was more like South East London, still a bit cold and desperate for Spring.
I often feel like a parody of myself when I start to talk about an article from the New Yorker, but honestly, they are that good sometimes. This profile, by Elif Batuman (one of my favourite writers; her novel, The Idiot, is one of my top books of all time) completely blew me away when I first read, then listened to it - The New Yorker does great audio recordings of long form articles through Audm, which maybe suits you if reading long form isn’t your bag. It’s with Céline Sciamma, the director of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, but like all good profiles, it’s about so much more than just her life and career! Feminism, sexuality, cinema, the male gaze, growing older, making art - some of the greatest hits if you ask me. It’s sublime.
I am a loyal fan of Like A Virgin, the pop culture podcast by Rose Dommu and Fran Tirado. Each week, the show starts off with a breakdown of the week’s pop culture news, then does a deep dive into one cultural object that one of them might be experiencing for the first time. The show is so funny, erudite and it’s so refreshing to hear pop culture, whether it’s current or canon, discussed through a queer/trans lens. This episode below doesn’t have a specific deep dive but made me scream. They had me at “The girls are girling!” in the episode description, but it was their discussion about Fran’s acting class that made me truly gag. As a Meisner girlie, it was sooooo real and hysterical. Fave quotes included Rose saying “Any kind of acting or theatre school is psychological warfare” - I was fully screaming! My theatre girlies know how it is!!!! and this interaction where Fran describes their teacher being horrible to one of the students
Fran: “We were the only students the entire class that stood up to her. She was being crazy. Like, truly being crazy…..but she was also…..being iconic!!!”
Rose: “*knowingly* Yep…that’s how it goes”
The brilliant Sarah Manavis for New Statesman: You’re doing it wrong: why are strangers on social media trying to micromanage my life?
Jason Okundaye on Why it’s time to stop filming strangers in public for social media thrills. I really love Jason’s writing and thinking, I can’t wait for his book to come out in 2024.
In many ways being alive is embarrassing! Sooooo:
I am trying, despite my best efforts, to give less of a shit about what people think or what we’re supposed to do and instead prioritise building a life that is full of pleasure and delight for me. Life is too short! In that vein, I’d like to tell you that today I cleaned the bathroom whilst listening to (and performing) the Legally Blonde Original Broadway Soundtrack. Instant serotonin boost. Musical theatre gets a bad wrap (and honestly, sometimes it’s fair) but Legally Blonde is a PERFECT musical. The story is obviously brilliant and lends itself to the format, the music is infectious olaplex blonde pop, and the lyrics are pure poetry:
“It may be perfect for a
Blonde, but I'm not that blonde
I may be in love,
But I'm not stupid, lady I've got eyes”
Shakespeare is QUAKING in his dusty boots. I think a lot of people don’t enjoy musicals because they haven’t found the one that fits their needs, or they’re not understanding it. Perhaps more on that thought later, but for now all I’m going to say is that in 5-10 years we need a West End reboot, directed by me x
If you haven’t yet heard Boy’s a liar Pt. 2 by Pink Pantheress and Ice Spice, you probably aren’t active on TikTok and/or aren’t into RnB/HipHop. However, this song is universal…the catchy hook, the beat that you can’t help but vibe to, the Ice Spice verse on which she ate and left no crumbs on. It’s a huge TikTok trending sound, and scrolling through the videos makes me feel deep joy. Some of my faves here, here, here and here.
@lordcowboy on Instagram
This poem - Monday by Alex Dimitrov, who seemingly never misses. I know it’s Tuesday now but sending this out on a Monday would have been gauche! Alex is an incredible writer. He has a Substack too, which is an absolute treat every time it arrives in my inbox.
"Doesn’t it bother you sometimes
what living is, what the day has turned into?
So many screens and meetings
and things to be late for.
Everyone truly deserves
a flute of champagne
for having made it this far!
Though it’s such a disaster
to drink on a Monday.”
Small Kindnesses by Danusha Laméris. This makes me teary almost every time.
Third & final February dispatch from Portrait of a Gay on Fire. I hope this gives a good taster of what to expect from this newsletter. I’m so lucky to have you here with me! I’m loving it so far, and I hope you are too. Here’s my February playlist of music I’ve been listening and loving, as a little treat.
If there’s anything you’d like more of, please let me know. I’m hoping to do my first bit of advice next month, so if you have any questions (ranging from the silly to the serious, or perhaps even both) send them my way at email@example.com.
Happy to post the questions anonymously if you prefer! Just let me know.
From next month the recommendations newsletter will be for Paid Subscribers only. I always want this to be free for people who can’t afford it, so please email me if you don’t have the means but want the full experience. I will comp your subscription, no questions asked! Offering the paid model allows people who can afford it to support my work, which is hugely appreciated as a lot of time and effort goes into making this happen whilst I work a full time job, be creative and much like Alex McCord was in Brooklyn, trying to survive in this economy….🥴 lol
Big love, see you soon