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What's got my attention this week

Things to read, watch and listen to this weekend 

Skin from Skunk Anansie collecting her OBE this week. #StillGotIt

Every month one culture round-up is free to read – this is February's. I hope you enjoy it. If you're already a paying member, thank you. Your support makes this newsletter and The Shift podcast possible. Paying members get weekly newsletters, culture round-ups, access to the community and the full archive, and more. All for less than the price of a (large) coffee a month. Also, the prices will be going up at the end of April so, if you're interested, upgrade to paid now.

• If I had to pick one piece this week, it would be Helen Garner on happiness (Opens in a new window): "It's taken me 80 years to figure out it's not a tranquil, sunlit realm."
• "Work was my saviour (Opens in a new window) through two divorces."
• Barbra Streisand has a memoir coming out (Opens in a new window) – it's just the 1040 pages!
• Remember Love Hearts? They're still going strong. You'd be surprised what their slogans tell us about the changing nature of love (Opens in a new window).
•This piece by Terri White about the hidden vulnerability of memoir writers (Opens in a new window) is a powerful read.
• A new report shows what we already know: women's dissatisfaction with the workplace (Opens in a new window) is reaching untenable levels.
• Virginia Sole-Smith on control, love and weight loss (Opens in a new window). And why we conflate the three.
• Leslie Jamison on why everyone feels like they're faking it (Opens in a new window).
• Fascinating interview with Bonnie Raitt (Opens in a new window), who scored an upset by beating Taylor Swift, Lizzo, Beyoncé, Harry Styles et al to win song of the year at this week's Grammy's.

• If you think financial abuse (Opens in a new window) only affects other people, think again. (FT)
• Forget wedding registries. It's all about the divorce registry. (Opens in a new window)
• What we forget when we talk about mansplaining (Opens in a new window), according to the woman who coined the phrase, Rebecca Solnit.
• Would you know the signs if you were having a heart attack (Opens in a new window)?
• If you haven't a clue if you're doing it right (Opens in a new window), this piece on the new social rules will probably make you feel worse!
• How it feels to be a mid-size model. (Opens in a new window) (That's mid-size for models not mid-size for mortals.)
• The government has done nothing to address HRT shortages (Opens in a new window) since last November. Surprise.
• The revolutionary power of knitting (Opens in a new window).
Paul Rudd's secret to staying youthful (Opens in a new window). It's sleep. Really no need to click on the link!

(A note about the links! Some links are behind a paywall, but almost all can be accessed free by registering your email address. The only publications this doesn't apply to are The Times and FT, these are marked £. Btw, I use the FT Edit app (Opens in a new window), which is free for the first 30 days and gives you access to 8 articles a day.)


I first read Martha Wainwright's memoir, Stories I Might Regret Telling You (Opens in a new window), last autumn, but I picked it up again when I was asked to interview her last weekend in Glasgow. Wainwright has had a fascinating life by anyone's standards, but it's been dogged/blessed/cursed/shaped – depending on your perspective – by being the daughter of singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, as well as the younger sister of Rufus Wainwright. In Stories, she attempts to unravel the decades spent trying to disentangle herself from her larger-than-life family and forge her own path beyond their shadow. The result is fascinating, moving and extremely honest about this less than straightforward journey. It's also, as you might expect from a songwriter of Wainwright's calibre, exceptionally well-written. It's a love letter to her mother, who died in 2010, through the lens of both the good and the bad daughter and proof that she has, at 46, unquestionably found her own voice. Out in paperback now. (Opens in a new window)


You, series 4, part one (part two airs in March) Netflix
If further proof were needed that I have extremely questionable taste in fictional men, I give you Joe Goldberg, the bookish, gentle, obsessive psychopath and beating heart of Caroline Kepnes' novels which spawned Netflix's hit series You. He's the narcissistic serial killer you have to work pretty hard not to feel empathy for even as he gives off serious change-the-locks vibes. Anyway, if, by the end of season three, you were starting to feel that You might have jumped the shark with its 'Joe sees girl, Joe falls in love with girl, Joe stalks his way into girl's heart, Joe gets jealous, Joe kills girl and/or love rival, Joe moves to a new city before the bodies are discovered' formula, you will be relieved to hear that season 4 gives You a whole new lease of life. Here we find Joe, now Jonathan, in London, where he's posing as a university lecturer, but this time he finds himself on the receiving end of a blackmailer who threatens to reveal his true identity – and his past crimes. Oh no, I feel more misplaced sympathy coming on!

Martha Wainwright's most recent album, Love Will Be Reborn, (Opens in a new window)accompanied me to and from Glasgow on Saturday night and formed an interesting link between memoir writing and songwriting, as she was writing this album at the same time as finishing her memoir. Wainwright demonstrates her immense vocal range taking us from Edith Piaf to Kate Bush by way of folk, rock, blues and lounge and every track sounds unequivocally her.
• 80s supermodel Paulina Porzikova was on In Her Shoes podcast (Opens in a new window) this week. She talked age-shaming, grief and representation.

And on The Shift podcast this week...
... bestselling author of Me Before You, Jojo Moyes, returned to The Shift for round two and it was fascinating to see how much had changed in her life since her last visit in series one. Jojo has turned 50, got divorced, grieved her mother, moved back to London after her eldest children left home and experienced burnout. She's incredibly frank about all this and more. (Oh and she has a new book out, Someone Else's Shoes (Opens in a new window) which, FWIW, I think may be her best yet.) 

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Topic Friday round up