Life is busy. It’s easy to make it to Sunday night without having engaged in much past the eat - sleep - work - repeat grind. Here to make it easier for you to find little cultural nuggets to brighten up the week are the Tung Team - Anna, Jacob and Sarah - who have kept our ears to the ground from Monday to Sunday, rooting out our favourite bits and pieces from the week, so you don’t have to.
LISTENING TO: The Debrief Podcast: ‘How To Network’
In their latest episode, Stevie Martin and Tessa Coates (who are, incidentally, two thirds of the comedy sketch group Massive Dad - check ‘em out) delve into the minefield that is the concept of networking. They’re super aware of how gross the whole idea is, and give helpful tips on how to push through the cringe. It’s absolutely a useful resource, but to be honest even if it wasn’t it would still be worth a listen as long as you’re okay with snort-laughing on the tube.
READING: 'Taylor Swift’s troubled relationship with revenge' by Anna Leszkiewicz in the New Statesman
You can always rely on Anna Leszkiewicz for a blistering, academic-but-not analysis of the pop culture zeitgeist. In her latest piece, she reacts to Swift’s recent release ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ through an exploration of her historic relationship with revenge as expressed through her song lyrics. It’s exhaustive, and nerdy in all the right ways. Read the article here.
LATE TO THE PARTY: Joan Didion ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’
On the recommendation of a close friend, I finally sat down with one of legendary journalist, essayist and novelist Joan Didion’s most famous long form essays. It’s a subtle yet damning indictment of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture of the late 1960s, and, as with so much of Didion’s work, is written with the kind of beauty that cuts like a blade. Buy the essay collection here.
LISTENING TO: Jake Bugg ‘Hearts That Strain’
Jake Bugg released his fourth album a couple of days ago. After the disaster that was Shangri La maybe its time to give him another chance. The eponymous debut was one of my favourite albums of 2012, and showed what a true song writing talent Bugg could be. ‘Hearts That Strain’ appears to be a step back in the right direction. Listen to the album here.
LISTENING TO: Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review
The BBC’s flagship film review show returns each week, bringing new realms of audible bickering from two broadcasting veterans. This week Daniel Mays turns up to talk about The Limehouse Golem, Bill Nighy’s latest attempt at distancing himself from Richard Curtis movies. The film will no-doubt disappoint, but Kermode and Mayo’s weekly wittering never does. Listen to the podcast here.
LATE TO THE PARTY: Donna Tartt ‘The Goldfinch’
I’m on holiday at the moment and desperate for a literary recommendation I turned to our Editor Anna Richmond, who obligingly set me up with The Goldfinch. To my great surprise it was not the ornithological adventure I was expecting, instead the Pulitzer Prize winner has had me gripped at every page and has made me wholly unsociable holiday company. Buy the book here.
LISTENING TO: Frank Ocean, 'Provider'
In 2016 Frank Ocean released his dual albums Endless and Blonde amidst so much hype it was hard to process the music. When the dust settled and it was clear that Blonde was a secure classic, I began to weep at the thought of another four year gap between albums. Thankfully Frank heard my prayers, and has so far blessed us with four independent singles, of which 'Provider' is a standout, alongside 'Biking'. Keep an eye out for more stealthy Frank later this year. Listen to the track here.
READING: Reni Eddo-Lodge, 'Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race'
A few weeks ago Anna and I went to a Violet Rooms talk at the Southbank (absolutely check them out if you can), debating the topic of 'woke Twitter'. Eddo-Lodge's deconstruction of what it means to be black in Britain was repeatedly hailed as an essential text, for anyone wanting to understand structural racism in the U.K., and educate themselves on the hidden history of our own civil rights battle. Particularly pertinent this week in the wake of Munroe Bergdorf's dismissal from L'Orèal for calling out 'all white people' as racist. Educate yourselves. Buy the book here.
LATE TO THE PARTY: Jean-Michel Basquiat
A household name in the US, Basquiat (which he pronounced 'Bar-skee-art, forget your French), is less well known over here. Ahead of a monumental showcase at the Barbican on September 21, I've been trying to school myself on his life and work. A recent Guardian piece does a great job at unpicking his character from those who knew him best, and this New York Times study helps to examine what is is about Basquiat's art that led to the sale of a painting for $110M last year.