The Tortured Poets Department, Fallout And More Recommendations For This Weekend

By Olivia Emily

1 month ago

Here's what we're watching, reading, and listening to


The sun may be shining, but curling up under the covers and streaming a hot new TV show isn’t a crime. In fact, sometimes we endorse it. Like right now. Whether you’re looking for a new podcast to listen to as you soak up some rays, or a new TV show to binge while you hide from the April showers, here are our top recommendations this month.

Our Top Recommendations This Month

The Tortured Poets Department, Taylor Swift

Ellie Smith: No dragging my heels to get out of bed this morning. I was straight up and out for a walk to listen to Tortured Poets, which turned out to be a rather long walk as Taylor has treated us to a double album. A whole 31 songs to devour and dissect – and there is A LOT to pick apart here. Ultimately this is a sorrow-filled, cathartic break-up album, with clear references to her relationships with both Joe Alwyn and Matty Healy (So Long London!). Aside from the inevitable forensic lyric speculation, the album feels like a blend of multiple eras and musical genres: it’s got subdued poppy anthems, some Midnight-esque melodies, deeply melancholy, Evermore-like ballads, a rocky collab with Florence + The Machine and so much more. It’s going to be a busy weekend for Swifties.

Civil War

Olivia Emily: No, not the Avengers one. This A24 flick is divisive among Americans, but it’s smashing the box office. Set in a dystopian America amidst a, you guessed it, civil war, we focus in on two journalists (played by Kirsten Dunst and Wagner Moura) racing across the war-torn nation – with a starry-eyed newbie in tow (played by Cailee Spaeny) – to reach The White House with the hopes of interviewing and photographing the president before he is seized by rebel factions. I’m a bit of a violence and gore-phobe, but Civil War is a seriously compelling watch. Go to the cinema and prepare to feel seriously stressed out. It’s definitely an experience (not one I’ll be repeating, mind).

Travel Secrets Podcast

Ellie Smith: If you’re looking for a bit of travel inspiration, tune into Tanya Rose’s podcast Travel Secrets. We hear her in conversation with an eclectic mix of guests, including wellness guru Liz Earle, actor Mark Strong, chef Ruthie Rogers and designer Anya Hindmarch, who share anecdotes from their travels. Cheery, interesting listening with an array of big names, filled with insider secrets on hot destinations.

Fallout

Prime Video

Fallout, Prime Video

Daniella Laxton: If there’s a Last Of Us shaped hole in your life, Fallout will certainly fill it. Another post-apocalyptic series based on a video game, the Amazon Prime production follows an interesting set of characters as they navigate life after the ‘Great War of 2077’ – a global nuclear war with catastrophic consequences. Compelling and interweaving story lines, a lot of gore, and a healthy dose of humour – it’s a yes from me.

Hungry by Grace Dent

Olivia Emily: I recently listened to the audiobook of Grace Dent’s memoir Hungry, read by Dent herself. It’s witty and nostalgic and brimming with food memories – a perfect listen for any fans of Dent’s Comfort Eating podcast, or just anyone with bittersweet memories of lukewarm school dinners.

HEARTBREAK HIGH

© Netflix

Heartbreak High, Netflix

Olivia Emily: Everyone is talking about Baby Reindeer – and rightly so; it’s brilliant – but if you’re after something slightly lighter this month, try Heartbreak High. This Australian high school drama is what I imagine a love child between Euphoria and Sex Education would look like. It’s chock-full of emotions, hilarity and whirlwind romances, all backdropped by the sun-soaked suburbs of Sydney.

The Shards by Bret Easton Ellis

Martha Davies: As the newest novel from Bret Easton Ellis – author of American PsychoThe Shards is a bit of a wild ride, but I’m loving it. In typical Ellis style, it pairs a rather twisted plot with a particularly disinterested kind of narration that makes it all the more intriguing. I’m racing through it.

Anthony Kinsella (MARK MCKENNA JR), Amanda Kinsella (CLARE DUNNE), Jimmy Kinsella (EMMETT J SCANLAN) in Kin

Anthony Kinsella (MARK MCKENNA JR), Amanda Kinsella (CLARE DUNNE), Jimmy Kinsella (EMMETT J SCANLAN). © BBC/Kin Series Holding UK Ltd/Headline Pictures (Kin) Limited,Bernard Walsh

Kin, BBC iPlayer

Olivia Emily: This gritty, Irish drug crime drama is as addictive, intoxicating and invigorating as the cocaine they all habitually inhale. Centring on the Kinsella family, we watch as a spat transforms into an all out war, which the family must grapple to survive. It’s star-studded yet grounded in Dublin’s underbelly, and compelling and frustrating in equal measure. A must-watch for crime thriller fans.

Cry At The Moon by Bradley Simpson

Charlie Colville: (Un)reformed boy band fan here. It’s always interesting to see how the artists you listened to as a teen hold up 10 years down the line – and even more interesting to see what said artists are up to now. Bradley Simpson, better known as the frontman of The Vamps, spreads his wings beyond boy band fame with his first solo single ‘Cry at the Moon’. It’s a sharp departure from the band’s early brand of pop music, but one that sounds like a natural progression into a more mature sound – meaning it’s well worth a listen whether you’re a long time stan or (soon-to-be) new fan.

Tape Notes Podcast

Martha Davies: I love a music podcast, and this one is all about music production. Hosted by Radio X presenter John Kennedy, it brings artists and producers together to talk about their biggest projects. My favourite guests so far have been The 1975 and The Japanese House.

A still from How To Have Sex, debuting at Cannes 2023

(© Nikolopoulis Nikos)

How To Have Sex

Olivia Emily: I’m late to the game in the film-snob world, but perhaps early when it comes to mainstream media (I haven’t spotted How To Have Sex on any streamers yet): Molly Manning Walker’s directorial debut is a triumph. We’re transported to sun-soaked Malia where exuberant best friends and16-year-olds Tara, Em and Skye are celebrating the end of their GCSEs with drinking, clubbing and hooking up. Trigger warning: it’s a bit of a tough watch at times. But it’s definitely an important one.

Cowboy Carter by Beyoncé

Ellie Smith: As a country music fan I was very excited about Beyoncé’s latest album, and it did not disappoint. I must admit I have only listened to the whole thing once (it is 78 minutes and 21 seconds long to be fair), but I have had the Miley Cyrus duet and the Post Malone collab ‘Levii’s Jeans’ on repeat. SO GOOD.