Introducing Digital Distractions

As a loyal subscriber I wanted you to be the first to know that my newsletter The Edit is now called Digital Distractions but will otherwise pretty much remain the same.

I’ll be sending a new issue on Friday with my pick of the best pop culture writing and the usual recommendations of things to read, watch and listen to.

I hope you will be sticking around?

View 1 comments →

The Edit: #WFH Bumper Edition

Back to keep you entertained if you are staying at home for a while

Hello!

Working from home is very rarely as advertised by Fifth Harmony but on the plus side you will win some time back by virtue of not having to endure your horrendous commute, take part in pointless meetings or hear about your colleague’s weekend/mother/children.

What follows is a bumper selection of recommendations that might just help keep you entertained and/or briefly distracted from everything that’s going on.

In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be sharing more regular updates featuring one thing to read, watch or listen to along with some great writing (by other people) about that thing to help you decide whether to spend your time on it.

Please get in touch whenever you want by hitting reply or finding me on Twitter and do forward this email on to anyone who is staying at home and might find it useful.

Rob


📺 Watch

The Split - Abi Morgan’s relationship drama set in the legal world, starring Nicola Walker. Compulsive viewing, absolutely harrowing at times. All eps of series one and two available now. (BBC iPlayer)

The Stranger - A novel twist on your typical whodunnit. A strong plot and decent cast help to overcome the moments where it feels like you’re watching an episode of Doctors. (Netflix)

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana - Lana Wilson’s fascinating documentary offering a glimpse inside the fame bubble during the making of Taylor’s latest album, Lover. (Netflix)

Elite - A slightly bonkers, seriously sexy Spanish drama. Starts with a murder in a high school, goodness knows where it will all end up. Series three just released. Don’t watch the dubbed versions, totally ruins it. (Netflix)

Race Across The World - As we all develop a new found appreciation for the concept of travel, this BBC series really comes into its own. All episodes of series one and series two (so far) available now. (BBC iPlayer)

My Left Nut - A very enjoyable comedy drama from BBC Three which also serves as a handy reminder to us boys to get our balls checked if anything seems off. (BBC iPlayer)

📚 Read

All links point to Hive, supporting independent bookshops:

Swimming In The Dark - A dreamy summer romance struggles under the weight of the reality of life in communist era Poland. An excellent read.

The Gravity Of Us - This queer YA debut is just brilliant. The future of space exploration mixed with influencer culture, hints of The Hunger Games and a love story that will melt your heart. (Link above is pre-order, import available now from BookDepository)

Dear Edward - This story of survival and recovery following a devastating plane crash might be just the tonic you need for these difficult days.

Nothing To See Here - A story about twins who spontaneously combust when they get wound up. Warmly funny. At its heart, it’s really about love, family and recovery from trauma.

One Hundred And Fifty-Two Days - A semi-autobiographical story of one boy’s grief and isolation. Written in free verse. A quick read which I absolutely loved.

🎧 Listen

I can remember precisely two things about The Great Storm of 1987; my sister’s pet chicken Gertrude blowing away (!) and the songs that played on the radio. These albums are sort of chilled and a bit dreamy so hopefully won’t imprint on you to the extent that playing them will require a trigger warning in the future:

Ryan Beatty - Dreaming Of David

Mandy Moore - Silver Landings

Oh Wonder - No One Else Can Wear Your Crown


Thanks for reading. Please shout about this newsletter if you enjoy it - the best link to share is theedit.substack.com

Back in your inbox later this week!

What are you reading?

In case you didn’t know the Instagram account for The Edit is all about books so I’m asking you…

What are you reading at the moment?

View 8 comments →

The Edit: Parasite, Sex Education, Swimming In The Dark

This week: A Korean movie sensation, the Netflix show you might have missed, some top new pop tunes and a book I really loved.

Hello Editers! (that’s a thing I’m trying to make happen)

It’s Friday again and I’m here with the email that hopes you “have a great weekend” and actually means it.

Big news in the UK this morning on This Morning when veteran TV presenter Philip Schofield came out as gay live on air in an interview with his co-host Holly Willoughby. It felt like it actually brought the country to a standstill briefly.

As a pop culture observer the announcement was a masterclass in the art of the reveal. Handling a sensitive and emotional subject with class and efficiency, ensuring only Phil got to own his moment.

In this week’s issue the sensational Korean movie which could win that big prize at the Oscars on Sunday night, a Netflix show you might have dismissed in error, some top pop tunes and a book I really loved and hope you will too.

I’ve also included a new Radar section which is just a list of things I plan to check out in the coming weeks based on hearing good things - a chance for you to beat me to it and let me know what you think.

Have a great weekend Editers! (ok, I’ll stop)

Rob x


🍿 Parasite

Bong Joon'-ho’s Parasite is one of the most-talked about films of 2020’s awards season. It tells the story of an unemployed family who target a wealthy household in order to transform their lives. A simple premise, which unfolds into a story unlike anything I have ever seen on screen before. Its unique blend of comedy, drama, horror and social satire is brought together seamlessly through some truly excellent writing.

No need to delve deeper into the plot here as I think the less you know, the more enjoyable the film will be. Make seeing Parasite your top priority this weekend and you may well end up being the smug person in your office who has seen the Best Picture Oscar winner come Monday morning.

In UK cinemas now | Book tickets

📺 Sex Education

I’m a huge fan of this Netflix show but several people I’ve spoken to haven’t watched it because they thought it was exclusively for teenagers. That’s absolutely not the case.

Sex Education has some very adult storylines indeed. It’s fair to say there is something for us all to learn from it I think. If that’s not the case for you then you are almost certainly too busy to be reading an email [WINKY FACE EMOJI, AUBERGINE, PEACH, SPLASH].

Gillian Anderson is legendary as sex therapist Dr Jean Milburn and newcomer Ncuti Gatwa makes me beam every time he comes on screen as Eric. The storylines aren’t all just teen sex related, the show also gets into some of the adult characters personal issues and looks carefully at the impact of parents on their children. Go on treat yourself.

Out now | Netflix

‘Swimming In The Dark’ by Tomasz Jedrowski

Swimming In The Dark tells the story of Ludwik Glowacki, a young man falling in love and coming to terms with his sexuality against the backdrop of 1980s soviet era Poland. He meets Janusz at an agricultural camp and the pair enjoy an idyllic summer romance before having to face the harsh realities of life back in Warsaw.

The contrast between Ludwik and Janusz's seemingly carefree existence at the beginning of the story and the pressures they subsequently face back in the city serves to truly emphasise the powerful and destructive nature of the soviet regime.

It is ultimately heartbreaking to read how the toxic political situation seeps into the cracks between Ludwik and Janusz, changing their behaviour and driving them apart.

Swimming In The Dark is a story that will stay with me and has also led me to learn more about the era and its impact on LGBT people. Highly recommended.

Bloomsbury, Hardback | Out now

🎶 Radio Edit

Here are a few songs worth adding to your weekend rotation:

Dua Lipa - Physical: Her best song since New Rules, reinvents 80s synth pop for the new decade.

The Pussycat Dolls - React: The year’s biggest pop reunion. Listen out of interest if nothing else. Nicole’s mic set to max volume on this one.

Dagny - Come Over: Bouncy, breezy euro pop from Norway’s finest.

Niall Horan - No Judgement: I always just imagine he’s singing to me. No judgement.

Carly Rae Jepsen - Let’s Be Friends: Jeppo gets particularly Swifty on this sassy little breakup song.

Radar

Are these the next big things?

The Stranger | The trailer for this Netflix family mystery drama looks very promising.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper | Space-related gay YA fiction. Yes please!

The Pale Horse | Sunday nights were made for Agatha Christie adaptations.

Uncut Gems | I’m going to have to watch an Adam Sandler movie aren’t I.

Ryan Beatty | I keep seeing his name but I’m yet to properly listen to his music.


Still here? Thanks for reading! If you could take a moment to hit reply and let me know where you are from (city/country) that would be really useful in helping me decide what makes it into the email.

The Edit: The Whisper Man | Deadwater Fell | Dolly Parton's America

This week: Channel 4’s hard-hitting Friday night drama, one of the best podcasts I have ever heard and a terrifying crime novel.

Hello,

How are you? I hope you’ve had a good week.

Just a quick intro note today as I am on a tight deadline.

In this week’s issue: why you should watch Channel 4’s hard-hitting Friday night drama, one of the best podcasts I have ever heard and a terrifying crime novel to see you through the weekend.

Enjoy!

Rob


📺 Deadwater Fell

In the wake of its huge success just about every British crime drama with a rural setting was hailed as the new Broadchurch, few if any lived up to it until now.

Deadwater Fell centres around a house fire in a close-knit community which kills all but one member of a seemingly happy family. All is not what it seems and the villagers secrets begin to spill out with every new twist in the investigation.

It really does feel like Broadchurch to watch with constant tension born out of criss-crossing storylines and inter-woven relationships all at odds with the sleepy setting. The Good Fight's Cush Jumbo is truly fantastic in the lead role. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Fridays, 9pm, Channel 4 | Catch up on All4

🎧 Dolly Parton’s America

In a divided nation, one of the few things most Americans still seem to be able to agree on is Dolly Parton - but why? That's the question posed by this nine part documentary series exploring every corner of the Dollyverse.

Host Jad Abumrad delves deep into Dolly's professional life and as far as she will allow into the personal causing the listener to rethink what they know about one of America's great icons. The stories about her early career and the songs she wrote during that time are fascinating.

As well as the conversations with Dolly herself, Jad speaks to others along the way who have worked with Dolly or for whom Dolly has had a profound impact on their lives. I went into this as a big fan and came out with a new found respect for Dolly Parton. This is one of the best podcasts, both in terms of the content and production, that I have ever heard.

Listen free at WNYC Studios

📖 ‘The Whisper Man’ by Alex North

Following the death of his wife, Tom Kennedy has moved to the small town of Featherbank with his young son Jake in an attempt for them both to heal. Unfortunately their arrival coincides with the disappearance of a young boy and a crime which bears all the hallmarks of incarcerated serial killer Frank Carter who wreaked terror on the town two decades earlier.

The Whisper Man is one of the best thrillers I have read in years. It is in equal parts gripping and truly terrifying. I finished it a couple of weeks ago and remain haunted by certain moments of the book.

The plot has so many twists and turns that even though there are a few moments I saw coming a mile off, there were still plenty of others which knocked me sideways. It also gets very dark indeed in places, I was genuinely shocked by where the story went. I certainly have no plans to move to Featherbank anytime soon!

Published by Michael Joseph | Paperback out now

📺 You

So many reviews of this Netflix stalker/serial killer thriller describe it as trashy or a “guilty pleasure”. I hate that shame-loaded expression and it is henceforth forthwith banned from The Edit (as is henceforth forthwith).

You is simply a good show. The equivalent of a page turner on TV. It is so full of WTF?! moments that you can binge on three or four episodes at a time without even blinking.

It pokes at your conscience as you quickly become charmed by Penn Badgley’s character Joe Goldberg and want him to succeed despite his creepy murderous ways.

I’ve got one episode left of season two and have reached perhaps the biggest WTF moment of the show so far. Knowing that a third season is already announced makes me think I won’t be getting too much closure in the next 45 minutes!

Watch now on Netflix

🎶 Stationhead

This new app lets you create your own radio station with your iPhone. You choose the music to play on rotation from Spotify or Apple Music and, if you want, you can go live and talk in between the records.

You can follow other users, a bit like Twitter and then when they go live you get a notification and vice versa. You can also bring other users on air with you to co-host a show.

I’ve not played around with it too much yet but if you try it out let me know and I will follow you back - my username is robgillett. Really interested to see if this takes off!

Find out more at stationhead.com | Download: iOS

Loading more posts…