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Hey dolls,

It’s time for our biweekly recommendations email! This week we’re enthusing about stacks of films, books and much more, in case you happen to be in need of a little bit of cultural inspiration. Let’s dive in!

Ione Gamble - Founding Editor in Chief

Film: Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

You might have seen me banging on about this film on socials or our essay on Diablo Cody (Öffnet in neuem Fenster) that went live on site last week but I am here to say, on the record, that everyone needs to see this film! An instant cult classic in my opinion, Katherine Newton is FAB. Feels like a spiritual sister to Miss Chappell Roan.

Cinema For Gaza (Öffnet in neuem Fenster)

Again you’ve probably seen this all over twitter dot com but this fundraiser is absolutely incredible and only has a few days left – all money raised goes to Medical Aid for Palestine. Annie Lennox hand written lyrics, Tavi’s Gossip Girl hoodie, Jeremy Corbyn reads you a poem over Zoom, a prop from Shiva Baby!!

Charlotte Landrum - Platform Editor

Film: In a Lonely Place (1950)

It's been a while since I watched a true 1950s Hollywood talkie, so the other day I put this one on and I really loved it. As always every line of dialogue is incredibly punchy and it's a great story of trying to come to terms with someone you love also being a terrible person. I was expecting a silly thriller but it was much more than that. And Gloria Grahame is incredible.

Film: After Hours (1985)

I got to see the 4k restoration of this film, but I would even watch it in 480p because it is that good. Really captures the spirit of the city night, an array of strange characters who all happen to be up and about at 4am. Also Griffin Dunne was so hot in the 80s it makes me sick. Dream boy reading Henry Miller at an all night diner <3

Lauren O’Neill - Copy Editor

TV: Catastrophe

As you might know from my previous recommendations, I absolutely love Sharon Horgan. I think she’s a genius. Her shows are the only thing on TV that I feel speak directly to my slightly gallows-y sense of humour when it comes to the subject of being a woman in the world or whatever. I recently started watching Catastrophe, which she wrote and stars in with the equally funny Rob Delaney – about a couple who have a one night stand and then stay together when Sharon’s character gets pregnant – and it’s just so funny, well done, and honest. Amazing half hour episodes for binging.

Book: Morvern Callar by Alan Warner

Inspired by the great essay about the film version of Morvern Callar on the site a couple of weeks ago, I picked up the book by Alan Warner. I am absolutely loving it. I have a soft spot for books written in dialect – Warner is a Scottish author – and I think it’s a beautiful exploration of the idiosyncracies and strangenesses inherent in life as a young girl.

Gina Tonic - Senior Editor

Film: The Producers (1967)

I have a weird core memory of seeing the remake of this film when I was 10 with my parents but never got round to watching the original until now - it was a funny little slapstick to watch on a Sunday night and as a musical fan it was fun to see the theatre culture getting spoofed.

Sickly Sweet by Chloe Sheppard (Öffnet in neuem Fenster)

The inimitable Chloe has joined the site for a monthly column and the first iteration is so lovely, really pinpointing why I love cooking for others and the benefits of developing a loving relationship with food

Sihaam Naik – Editorial Fellow

Book: Patricia Highsmith’s Diaries and Notebooks

I’m currently reading this – I love a good memoir. She wrote the book that Carol was based on, and it paints such a colourful picture of 50s NYC – I love it.

Tony’s Chocolonely little bits

I love these chocs! Specifically the milk chocolate marshmallow ones. It's a bit spenny, but it's so worth it for Fairtrade slave-free choc, unlike anything on the market right now.

Misha MN – Culture Editor

Film: The Alien franchise

I’m not a sci fi gal, but for some reason I decided to watch all/most of the Alien films in the last month, and it was v fun. Sigourney Weaver is obviously a gem, one of the best action heroines to ever exist and I thought most of the instalments were great. Alien 1979 is obviously the best and most impactful, it’s real, it’s creepy, it’s new, followed by Aliens 1986 which is a close second. This one was more of a showcase for Sigourney, and maybe has more quotable lines and pop culture characters, and it’s a lot better than the dreadful Alien 3 1992, though I did like the young(ish) sexy(ish) Charles Dance character. Despite the public pushback, I also liked Prometheus 2012 and Alien: Covenant 2017, they had aliens and hyper-competent female crew members, what more do you want? Thought about writing a Culture Slut about all this, but really, at the end of the day, my take away is: gosh Sigourney Weaver is good, isn’t she? Also, I still like Barbarella more.

Book: Killing The Shadows by Val McDermid

I love trashy serial killer books, but haven’t read any in ages, so this revisit of a classic was perfect. Written in 2000, it follows the case of a maniac targeting thriller writers and murdering them in the same ways that they kill the characters in their books, so just the act of reading it feels very post modern. It’s also got very laboured descriptions of how the characters use the early internet, reading message boards and emails and chat rooms, which I think is charming. Also, because it’s Val McDermid, you can count on a few of her classic tropes turning up, my favourite one being that’s it’s always a plucky young lesbian who turns up near the end to help save the day. Ten out of ten, will read again in a few years.

Music: Aretha Franklin’s funeral

God only knows why but I started seeing videos of the performances at Aretha Franklin’s 2018 funeral come up on my YouTube recommendations and after a couple I was hooked. I watched the whole thing and honestly it was incredible. I don’t know much about gospel music, other than listening to a few Mahalia Jackson albums, but this was illuminating. Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Shirley Caesar, all incredible, but Chaka Kahn took the night for me. Starting off in her slightly unsure way, with the lyrics written on the back of a fan clenched in her hand, her nine minute rendition of Goin’ Up Yonder was honestly transcendental. It was also very moving to see so figures from black history and the struggle for civil rights in attendance, reminding us all that it’s not ancient history, it’s still living memory. All in all, a stunning tribute to an unfathomable legacy, five stars.

See you soon,


The Polyester Team <3

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