Welcome to The Culture Wrap! Our Friday feature edited by Jessie Tu, that shares her pick of things to read, hear and watch. Just in time for the long weekend.
What to watch
I miss the 2000s. MSN, Blink-182, Green Day, Discmans, Britney, Baby-G watches… And romcoms. I definitely miss romcoms.
Those simple, charming, useless romcoms. I say ‘useless’ not in the pejorative sense. I mean useless in the sense that it’s not solving climate change or world hunger; but man, it’s a pleasure to consume. Art is useless, but of course, it’s not. The most useless things are the most important things.
I will always and forever be mourning the tragic depletion of romantic comedies from our screen-viewing cultural repertoire, but all is not lost. Extinction is not on the horizon – thanks to the folks at places like Netflix. Thank god for Netflix!
This week, after a short hiatus from the small screen, I’ve returned to my viewing habits with a rom-com from Aussie filmmaker and actor Rosie Lourde. This is her debut feature and it’s a sweet, earnest, cheesy (like Danish feta reliably delicious) movie.
It follows the story of Caroline Wilson, a hot shot New York restaurateur who is forced to return to Lemon Myrtle Cove (a fictional seaside town in Queensland) when her great-aunt dies, leaving a treasured local cafe she ran for decades. Caroline hooks up with the ridiculously good looking cafe chef “Cook” (I believe the term is called “aptronym”) and finds herself slowly letting go of her “persnickety” ways. (Erm, I’d say that the reason she’s so successful in the impossibly gruelling world of culinary arts is because of her anal meticulousness but hey, it’s a movie for women who want to believe in romance and real love).
She doesn’t literally hook up with Cook. But they swim around the idea of getting together; which is precisely why we love rom-coms — the pregnancy of intimacy and love is always more exciting than the actual thing.
Here are three quick reasons why you should watch this film: 1. Tim Ross, who plays Cook, has a face you can stare at for 90 minutes purely based on how closely it resembles Ben Affleck. Sadly, Ross ain’t as competent an actor as Affleck, but we’ll forgive him for this minor shortcoming. He’s playing the romantic lead here. We don’t care if he’s got substance or not. 2. Macarons. There’s a scene where Caroline and cafe waitress Beth (played by the gorgeous Naomi Sequeira) make macarons together. Any film with characters baking is a film worth watching. 3. There’s a very cute dog called ‘Spatch’.
What to read
Untold Resilience – Anthology of stories of courage, survival and love from women who have gone before
Edited by Helen McCabe and Jamila Rizvi
All my life, I have been buoyed by the stories of women who have come before me. Future Women have published a searing, heart-felt and inspiring collection of first person stories of Aussie women across the nation during the pandemic. Our contributor Kristine Ziwica spoke to 92-year old Melburnian Faye Snaith about the frugality and resilience that saw her through the worst of the lockdowns in her city.
Liz Coles of Adelaide described the trials and tribulations of caring for her adult son, who was born with Down Syndrome. “My hope is that everyone can come to consider and understand a little more what it is like to live confined by a disability,” Coles wrote. Other women speak of their personal journeys through grief, heartache and agonising personal decisions. All the while, they maintained their fortitude and strength, seeing through the day.
This collection contains 19 stories from women of a range of different backgrounds — and all of them had something unique and powerful to say. Chapters are short, so you can dip in and out of each story — allowing each woman’s words of wisdom to linger in your memory.
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I got busy writing books in lockdown… What does it take to find courage in the midst of deprivation and devastation? Why are some people able to continue living with purpose, even when faced with loss and despair? How does our community turn challenge into triumph? And what can we learn from the exceptional women in our midst who have done just that? It might feel like we are living in unprecedented times but ours is not the first generation to withstand upheaval as seismic as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. In every town and suburb in Australia, there are women from older generations who have encountered unimaginable difficulties before; women who have endured and survived. Their stories are proof of the incredible resilience of the female spirit. Based on hours of interviews from their homes during lockdown, in Untold Resilience myself, @mccabehelen and a team of Future Women journalists have uncovered the real-life accounts of a diverse and fascinating collection of women. In doing so we have drawn on the deep wisdom and perspective that can only be gained from a life fully lived. The result is moving and beautiful. Our history books have long been dominated by men’s triumphant tales but there are also lessons to be learned from the quiet, modest and largely untold experiences of women. With warmth and candour, 19 ordinary, and yet truly remarkable, individuals share their experiences of pandemic, poverty, famine, war, violence and discrimination. Through these hope-filled stories from women who have gone before, we can find inspiration and comfort, and rebuild faith in our own futures. I always try to write and work on the books I need myself in any given moment…. and every woman I know needs the reassurance of this brilliant book right now. Link to pre-order in my bio; this is the perfect gift for a woman you love who needs some inspiration right now. Stay safe, everyone. ❤️
What to listen to
I don’t know when I began listening to Angus and Julia Stone. But their sound feels so inextricable from my youth. This week, I haven’t been able to stop listening to Julia’s February release with Canadian-born, Australia-based singer songwriter Garrett Kato in their tender single “Breathe it In”. Another jewel is her latest single “Unreal” – though the music video creeps me out a little, and probably deserves a feature essay on the political infractions it makes on women and our value as whole human beings.