The C&TH Culture Radar: What We’re Loving Right Now
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The C&TH Culture Radar: What We’re Loving Right Now

Recommendations from the C&TH team

In a world oversaturated with hype, it can be tricky to find genuine recommendations. Is that film actually any good, or does it just have a star-studded cast? Is that moisturiser really as thick and luxurious as they say, or is the influencer marketing just really well done? Here, the C&TH team cuts through the noise and shares exactly what we’re loving right now, from TV shows to wellness treats.

Our Top Culture Recommendations This Week

Book Recommendations

Wintering by Katherine May

Olivia Emily: I’m really enjoying listening to the audiobook of Wintering by Katherine May (subtitled ‘How I Learned To Flourish When Life Became Frozen). It sounds a bit self-helpy, which I’m not always a fan of, but Wintering is a lovely mix of experience and cultural exploration, exploring figurative winters (periods of mourning, mental health struggles, and general life difficulties) and those real cold, dark and icy seasons we actually experience every year. How do the coldest nations brave those harsh conditions? And better still, how do they manage to flourish in the cold?

Isdal by Susannah Dickey

Amy Wakeham: I’m not a big poetry reader but the premise of Isdal intrigued me. The collection of poems, grouped to form a loose narrative, centres on the two presenters of a true crime podcast as they try to solve the mystery of the Isdal Woman (a real-life unidentified woman found dead at Isdalen in Bergen, Norway, in 1970). Through this, the book explores society’s ongoing obsession with dead women, and how this obsession has been repackaged for the 21st century through the lens of true crime podcasts. It’s also witty, irreverent and packs a linguistic punch.

Something Close to Music by John Ashbery

Martha Davies: I picked up this brilliant anthology at a bookshop in New York and I’m loving it so far. It’s a collection of poems, essays and even playlists, all collated by Ashbery, an American writer and critic, and it’s a wonderful book to dip in and out of (since I somehow need to have at least three books on the go at once).

Why Vibes Matter by Garret Young, PhD

Tessa Dunthorne: Bear with me – this is not a self-help book, nor am I a typical non-fiction reader. The questions asked by Why Vibes Matter are as such: Is manifesting backed by science? Why do we sometimes just feel on the same wavelength as another person? This read is a (lightly) scientific exploration of whether ‘vibes’ can be evidenced – and its scientific author argues that they can. A proposal of how we affect others with our thoughts and feelings, and a practical guide to raising your energy. And not at all woo-woo, I promise.

What To Watch

Griselda

Rebecca Cox: A show as addictive as its subject’s business product, Netflix’s Griselda dramatises the life of Columbian drug lord Griselda Blanco. Known as the ‘black widow’ or the ‘cocaine godmother’, Sofia Vergara’s depiction of this lesser-known key player in the drug wars is utterly captivating. Watching through a feminist lens it’s interesting to see her depiction as the underdog, with large elements of her rise to the top fictionalised to further this narrative, and ultimately uncomfortable, as you find yourself empathising with a woman who orchestrated unimaginable pain and suffering in her rise to (and fall from) the top.

Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott in All Of Us Strangers

All of Us Strangers © Searchlight Pictures/20th Century Studios

All Of Us Strangers

Ellie Smith: After hours spent watching cheery videos of Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal promoting their latest film, All Of Us Strangers, I was unprepared for how deeply emotional it was going to be. I don’t want to say too much as it will spoil it, but it’s one of the most intriguing, tender and moving films I’ve seen in a while, with so many layers – you’ll be thinking about it long after leaving the cinema.

Mean Girls

Charlie Colville: In one word: fetch. As someone who loves camp musicals and even camper noughties pop culture, the new Mean Girls movie was a winner for me. I absolutely adored Reneé Rapp, who reprised her (Broadway) role as Regina George, and really liked the clever blend of nostalgia and modernity.

Jeremy Allen White in The Bear

The Bear

Olivia Emily: After switching off the first episode a year ago because I was finding it too stressful, I’ve finally committed to watching kitchen drama, The Bear – and I’m loving it. If the opening scene stresses you out too (it’s just a very busy kitchen with lots of people talking over each other – nothing extreme or gory), rest assured that it’s not all like that (thank god).

TV Dinner: 6 Modern Foodie TV Shows To Inspire Your Next Meal

New Girl

Martha Davies: While I’ve never been a huge fan of sitcoms, New Girl is most certainly the exception, and it’s been my go-to for nights in recently. I’ve watched the whole series multiple times and it’s never not laugh-out-loud funny to me.

The Love Island Villa

©ITV Plc

Love Island

Rebecca Cox: I’m not watching this through a feminist lens. There is literally no point. I’m old enough to know better, but here we are.

Where Is The Love Island Villa? (& How To Stay In It)

We’re Listening To…

GUTS by Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Emily: I’ve been feeling the need to kind of scream and stomp my feet recently, and Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album is the ideal antidote. The opening track, all-american bitch, will almost certainly make it into my Spotify wrapped in 10 months time.

Stray Kids

Charlie Colville: More pre-concert preparation here. This time, I’m diving deep into the discography of K-pop boy band Stray Kids, who are set to headline their first UK festival this summer at BST Hyde Park (psst, you can still get tickets). Very excited to see (and no doubt hear) the energy the fandom, aka STAY, brings to London.

Shrink The Box

Martha Davies: This podcast is a recent discovery for me, and I’m totally hooked. Hosted by a comedian and a psychotherapist, it places characters from popular TV shows in the (Freudian) hot seat and provides fascinating psychological analysis of their behaviour and relationships. It’s the perfect way to delve deeper into a show once you’ve finished it; my favourite installment so far is a discussion of The Bear’s protagonist, Carmy Berzatto.

Who Shat On The Floor At My Wedding

Rebecca Cox: It’s over three years old, but if, like me, you missed the podcast phenomenon that is Who Shat On The Floor At My Wedding, you’re in for a treat. A similar vibe to My Dad Wrote A Porno, it’s a true-crime investigation into who pooed on the floor at brides Helen and Karen’s wedding. As ridiculous as it sounds, and the perfect antidote to the grey-est month of the year.

The ZOE Science & Nutrition Podcast

Ellie Smith: A slightly nerdy recommendation from me but I’ve been loving this health-focused podcast recently (particularly since 1 January, naturally), which offers deep dives into topics like gut health and longevity. If you’re looking for simple ways to improve your diet this year, I’d recommend ‘How to eat in 2024: 7 essential strategies’ – helpful, fad-free and scientifically backed ways to eat better.

Everything Else We’re Loving

ABBA Voyage

Ellie Smith: I finally made it to ABBA Voyage and had a ball. I spent the first ten minutes baffled by the whole spectacle – some parts are scarily convincing – but soon got into the spirit, dancing around to Knowing Me, Knowing You in a dark arena at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon. Such fun – and totally unlike anything I’ve seen before.

London Fashion Week Planning

Charlie Colville: The fashion pack will be swarming London this time next week – which can only mean one thing: London Fashion Week is back. You’ll catch me drafting up an in-depth schedule, checking out up-and-coming designers and running between shows like a maniac.

Getting A Viral Haircut

Olivia Emily: Yes, people really do have those wacky haircuts in real life. Just kidding – I’m not brave enough for something as bold as Jellyfish Hair. But when my esteemed colleague Charlie (see above) wrote about the Kitty Cut a few months ago, I felt like I’d finally found the trendy cut for me. On the recommendations of friends, I took the plunge last weekend, and I’m very pleased with the swishy results.

Board Games

Tessa Dunthorne: I recently got my partner the Stardew Valley board game, and although it’s a little based on luck and chance, it’s wormed its way into my head – what a great game. This four-player piece is a light, wholesome co-op about fulfilling Grandpa’s wishes and restoring the family farm. By contrast, this weekend I’ll be playing a large game of Coup, which involves being at odds with and betraying all of my friends.

Devouring Beignets In Bloomsbury

Daniella Laxton: I recently took a trip to London’s Fortitude Bakehouse and fell in love with their delicious cream and jam-filled beignets. If you’re looking for something to curb the January blues, one of these humungously delightful baked goods is sure to put a smile on your face. Discover more of London’s best bakeries here.

Barre Classes by Psycle London

Martha Davies: I’ve always been rather apprehensive about fitness classes, but I took a chance on Psycle’s digital subscription last year and I’m loving it. The barre workouts are genuinely good fun – and with classes that start at just 20 minutes, it’s hard to find an excuse not to fit a few in every week.