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What's got my attention this week

Want some ideas for things to read, watch and listen to this weekend? Look no further...

Olivia Newton-John died, aged 73, and a part of our childhood died with her. 

Hello and welcome to this free culture round-up from The Shift. If you're already a paying member, thank you. If not, and you'd like to get this newsletter in your inbox every week, plus access to the archive, community and more, why not join?

• Love this piece on the two Sandys (Opens in a new window) (aka the two sides of Olivia NJ) from the New Yorker.
• "If I were a guy, I wouldn't be writing this," Serena Williams wrote on announcing her retirement from tennis in an essay in Vogue (Opens in a new window). "But I'm turning 41 next month and something's got to give." The day a guy does indeed write that is the day things really have changed.
• Are you stuck in the perfectionist trap? (Opens in a new window)
• Menopause awareness is great (obv) but is your workplace using it as a smokescreen for ageism (Opens in a new window)?
• The subersive power of the romance novel (Opens in a new window).
• Meet second gentleman, Doug Emhoff. (Opens in a new window)
• We need to give space to older women who aren't thin and white and look extremely young. Well said, Poorna Bell. (Opens in a new window)
• Are Biden, Putin and, erm, Jared Leto obsessed with cosmetic surgery (Opens in a new window)?
• The secrets of Stanley Tucci's zucchini spaghetti (Opens in a new window).
• What are we really supposed to do with old clothes (Opens in a new window)?
• Are the boy bosses of Silicon Valley (Opens in a new window) finally on the way out? We can but hope.
Foundation is dead, (Opens in a new window)long live foundation.
• Jane Fonda loves her strong thighs but she's not so keen on that face lift (Opens in a new window).
• Life advice from an end-of-life doulla (Opens in a new window).
• The librarian who collects all the things we leave in books (Opens in a new window).
• Hello, it's the perimenopause hotline (Opens in a new window)... 


TBH, when I first picked up The Cliff House by Christopher Brookmyre (Opens in a new window) I did wonder whether the world needed yet another locked-island mystery. And, indeed, whether he was the person to be writing one. However. I should have known better. I was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Brookmyre constantly fooled and wrong-footed me and twisted this burgeoning genre into the kind of dark, sarcastic, urban thriller he's rightly applauded for. (An extra bonus for 80s goths: look out for Balhaam and the Angel!) In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I promptly downloaded his previous book, The Cut on my kindle and inhaled that too.
BOOKCLUB MEMBERS! There are still a couple of copies of this month's title
The Change going free. Ping me your address pronto if you want one.


Better Things, all five seasons on BBC iplayer
TBH I hadn't even heard of Better Things until last week when a friend on Twitter tipped me off to it. "OMG it's genius!" she said. "It's full of stuff about menopause and hormones and all the midlife stuff, and it's clever and funny and creatively wonderful."  Well that's my kind of review. Topline, it's the story of a middle-aged actress and single mother trying to juggle Hollywood, family and ageing parents. It's early days, but I'm all in.

• To the full-cast dramatisation of Katherine May's memoir, The Electricity of Every Living Thing (Opens in a new window), on audible. If you're a member, it's currently free to download.
• I was treated to two of my favourite women in one podcast last week when Cheryl Strayed guested on Glennon Doyle's We Can Do Hard Things (Opens in a new window). They had so much to talk about they had to make two episodes out of it.
And on The Shift podcast this week...
...the award-winning author of My Name Is Leon, Kit de Waal, came on to talk about her new memoir, Without Warning And Only Sometimes (it's brilliant, preorder it now here (Opens in a new window)!). We talked about everything from the BS around the word resilience (Kit compared it to emotional scar tissue) to being single at 60 by way of hairdressers in Sparkhill (a place we both have history), being a Tuesday Friend, getting a second wind at 55 and being expected to have an opinion on everything just because you have an opinion on something. Kit is my new hero.


If you're a big fan of The Shift podcast (and since you're here, I'm guessing you are) and will be in or around Birmingham on Sunday 9th October, I'll be taking the stage with the excellent actress and bestselling novelist Ruth Jones and author and activist (not to mention Women's Prize- and Booker Prize-shortlisted) Elif Shafak to record my first ever live episodes. I'll be talking to Elif at 12.30pm and Ruth at 6.30pm. Tickets are £10 each (£8 concessions) and you can find out more and get tickets here. (Opens in a new window) I've interviewed both women before and I guarantee you wisdom, wit and plenty more besides. Do come, I'd love to meet you.

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