Hello grownups! There aren't five things making my week, so much as one huge thing that I'm five times as excited about:
1. Shining Girls launch day!
Okes MY BEST FRIEND WROTE A BOOK AND TODAY THAT BOOK IS A REAL SHOW ON APPLE TV STARRING ELIZABETH MOSS AND I AM ACTUALLY OVERWHELMED WITH EXCITEMENT AND HAPPINESS AND PRIDE.
Shining Girls launches on Apple TV today, and I'm so excited for you to see it. It's based on Lauren Beukes's bestselling novel about a woman tracking down the serial killer who might have been hunting her all her life. It's twisty, devastating, and saying something raw and true about what it is to be a woman in the world. Showrunner Silka Luisa has done a great job holding onto the heart of the novel while creating a brilliant TV show that's also entirely its own thing, the cast are perfect (Elizabeth Moss is superb, and I'm obsessed with Jamie Bell's wounded, hungry Harper and Wagner Moura's scruffy but lovable Dan), and it perfectly conjures 1990s Chicago.
If you don't already have Apple TV, there's a free 7 day trial period, and there are plenty of other great shows on there once you've binged this one (WeCrashed, Ted Lasso, Severance).
It's hard to put into words how happy this makes me. Lauren is one of the people I love most in this world, and Shining Girls is one of my favourite novels ever written, so seeing the book adapted into something so good and so big just makes me feel all the feelings.
You'll know that I'm a diehard fan of 22seven, the South African app that lets you track all your money. Since moving to England, I've tried a dozen different apps to try to replace it. I've finally found settled on something that I think is almost as good, although it's pretty different: Kubera.
Kubera keeps track of the value of all your assets. You can link your accounts from all around the world (including South Africa and the UK), and Kubera will track what they're worth in the currency of your choice. You can even flick between GBP and ZAR if - like me - you're still training your brain to think in a new currency. They also let you track the value of crypto/defi assets (even NFTs), and manual assets (useful if you own a house, direct company shares, or dubloons).
There are some features I specifically like: there's a "dead man's switch" so that if you don't log in for a while, it checks if you're alive, and if you don't respond, it gives access to your profile to a trusted person. This could be very useful in helping your loved ones track down your stuff after you die. The design of the app is very simple and minimal, and the aggregation feels very robust.
It's not cheap ($150/year) and it doesn't have any spending tracking or budgeting features, so it's really aimed at people who are building a freedom fund and need to track assets across multiple countries. If that's you, give Kubera a try. There's a 7-day free trial.
3. The Burnt City
If you're planning to be in London any time between now and December 2022, get your ass to the new Punchdrunk installation, The Burnt City. You've got to book a few months ahead (next availability is currently June). We booked our tickets last September?? This continues to be the thing about living in London that baffles me the most, trying to plan several months ahead for everything. But this one's worth it!
The Burnt City recreates the ancient city of Troy across several floors of an abandoned warehouse. You get to explore it at your pleasure, open doors, peer into storage trunks, flip through the letters soldiers have written to their loved ones (a snoop's dream). Actors move through the space, re-enacting snippets of the Illiad and Greek myths, and you can follow them through their stories. If you're lucky, you might even get drawn into one of them.
It's immersive, immediate, embodied... a tonic after two years of Zoom-based screen-mediated entertainment. Highly recommended.
4. "I Class Up A Joint"
Rachel Connolly's recent Gawker essay lamenting about the current trend in maudlin personal essays led me to this absolute gem of a 1978 New York Times piece by American poet Rene Ricard, "I Class Up A Joint", which is a hilarious rejection of the moral imperative of having a job. It's a screamer.
I've never worked a day in my life. If I did it would probably ruin my career, which at the moment is something of a cross between a butterfly and a lap dog.
Do you like elaborate boardgames with hundreds of pieces and thick rulebooks? Do you also like bird facts? BOY, do I have a game for you.
Wingspan is a delicate board game where the aim is to attract birds into your bird park. You can play alone, or against up to four other players. It's somehow both strategically intricate and deeply relaxing. The gameplay is delightfully balanced; it's extremely pleasing how all your birds work together as the rounds progress, how your bird-engine gets more and more powerful with each play. And there's something about the little wooden pastel-coloured eggs, the birdhouse-shaped dice-roller, the little bird facts squeezed onto the bottom of every card... mmmmmmmmm... it's like insta-relaxation.
Adorably, there's a whole ecosystem of homemade upgrade accessories like knitted nests to hold your pastel eggs, clay mice and worm food tokens, wooden birdhouses to roll your dice with. The whole thing is just very wholesome and extremely good.
Now scram. Go watch Shining Girls!
Wishing you pride in all of your friends,