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Culture Queen! My August highlights

A whole month of lolling in the sun (hopefully) requires a whole host of entertainment. Here are the culture picks I'll be soaking up this August, from must-see art to new albums

I’M VISITING: Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain

Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain

Oh art, how I’ve missed you! This month I’m hopping a train to Tate Britain pronto to check out their new exhibition of Aubrey Beardsley illustrations (it opened in early March and then was promptly closed again). The show features over 200 of his stylish black and white drawings (the largest collection in over 50 years, apparently) against brightly coloured walls, including the original illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salomé. A master draughtsman at the top of his game. Open until Sun 20 Sept. 

I’M LISTENING TO: The Michelle Obama Podcast

Michelle Obama Podcast

I loved Mrs O’s Netflix documentary Becoming so will absolutely be adding her new Spotify podcast to my must-play list. Sadly, it won’t give you the secret of those arms (as far as I know), but it will feature nine deep conversations with the former First Lady’s friends, family and colleagues – starting with Barack himself. Talk about a power couple. 

I’M STREAMING: Three Kings at Old Vic: In Camera

Old Vic in camera Andrew Scott Three Kings a new play by Stephen Beresford

Hot priest alert! With opening dates for live theatre sadly being pushed (again), I’m consoling myself – and supporting the industry – by streaming Three Kings, a new Stephen Beresford play by written for and starring Fleabag’s Andrew Scott. Five performances will be streamed live directly from the Old Vic stage against the backdrop of an empty auditorium. I have goosebumps already. Tickets start at £10, and the performances start on Friday 7 August.

I’M DANCING TO: Imploding The Mirage by The Killers and Dreamland by Glass Animals

Two shiny new album releases to look forward to this month, the first being from Oxon local boys Glass Animals. After pushing their July release date by a month, new album Dreamland lands on Friday 7 August – get a taster with their single Heat Waves (appropriate for this weather, no?).

Imploding The Mirage by The Killers and Dreamland by Glass Animals

Later in the month, I’ll be adding the newest album from The Killers to my playlist – their first since 2017’s Wonderful Wonderful. Imploding The Mirage lands on Friday 21 August. 

The Killers Imploding the Mirage

I’M READING: The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

Dystopian fiction might seem a little on-the-nose in current climes but that won’t stop me digging into this debut novel from Diane Cook when it drops on Thursday 13 August. Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020, The New Wilderness tells the story of a mother’s battle to save her daughter from a world destroyed by climate change. Depressing and compelling in equal measure. 

I’M WATCHING: Lovecraft Country, Sky Atlantic

Blimey, have you ever seen a trailer with more stuffed into it? You’ve got racial tension, supernatural horror and a family mystery, all wrapped up in 1950s Americana – if that isn’t enough to persuade to you to watch HBO original Lovecraft Country, I’m not sure what is. Make a date: Sky Atlantic, Monday 17 August.

If you need something to fill the gap between now and the 17th, head over to Netflix for Kiefer Sutherland’s political thriller – Designated Survivor. Kiefer’s action-man days are behind him now, this is a less physically demanding role as a lower-level cabinet member catapulted into the Oval Office when the president and congress are wiped out by a terror attack. But this is just the beginning. It’s tense.

I’M MAKING: Cake with Benjamina Ebuehi

GBBo Cake with Benjamina Ebuehi

After all that, I’ll need a little something to lighten the mood (and something sweet to snack on never goes amiss). Luckily, GBBO quarter-finalist Benjamina Ebuehi is holding a free Zoom bake-along class in association with Anthropologie on Tuesday 25 August, making lime, mango and coconut lamingtons (an Australian cake, if you’re wondering) from her new cookbook. It’s free to attend, but donations to The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust are encouraged. Diet starts next month.

Looking for something closer to home? Click this way for 34 cool things to do throughout August in Berkshire and beyond.

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