Cultural highlights my family have taken in this month have included Captain Underpants the Movie, Match of the Day 365: Football Facts For Every Day of the Season, Twirlywoos Series 1 and 2 and Sheringham Splash Swimming Pool. Luckily for you guys, I have delegated the Malmo & Moss cultural review to Dan Hull so that instead of a round up of the best places to catch a veruca in North Norfolk it is going to encompass delights that include Balengacia, a cool Californian girl band and a zesty lemon risotto designed to transport you to the South of France rather than west of Cromer. So without further ado it's over to Dan.
The month we should all be basking in the glorious golden rays of summer. The air should be thick with the sound of deckchairs creeking and ice cubes chinking. Unfortunately 2017 appears to have had another ideas for us all. Rather than let the sogginess of the situation get us down, I propose we find ourselves means of escape. Whether you like your escape delivered in the form of a dog-eared paperback or projected onto a screen in all its cinematic glory, your August selection awaits
‘Something To Tell You’ - Haim.
There’s a very real chance this album’s success is solely down to me. The girls from Haim definitely helped a little, but mostly it’s down to the excessive amount I’ve played it since its release. Your month needs no other album to complete it, of this I assure you. Something To Tell You combines a constant string of hooks that take a swipe at that part of your brain where songs get stuck, with with vocals practically begging to be sung along to in your kitchen on a Saturday evening. It may be brief in its duration but it’s exceptional in its delivery. For me, a lifelong fan of Fleetwood Mac, the comparisons have always been clear, but here the girls from Haim even manage to channel some of Janet Jackson’s heyday into proceedings. That’s quite the combination. Open all of the windows that will possibly open, let every last drop of sunshine in that nature will allow and dance like you haven’t got a care in the world, this is the sound of summer.
Mrs Hemmingway by Naomi Wood.
I have no qualms in judging a book by its cover and I am in no way ashamed to say so. I first stumbled across this book because of its blissful blue cover and the impossible poolside glamour of the women who sit atop it. I’m happy to say that shallow decision turned out rather well in the end. A lesson for us I’m sure you’ll agree.
Naomi Wood’s tale of one of literature’s most famous names chooses to focus instead on his wife, Hadley Hemmingway, as the pair transport their life to the South of France for the summer. The hosts of cocktail parties and gin-laced debates about literature, the couple struggle to overcome Ernest’s decision to take a lover a little too close to home. In the heat of the blistering sun, Hadley’s jealousy and longing for her husband’s affection makes for a surprisingly salacious summer read.
To Catch A Thief.
If the combination of a summer on the French Riviera and the unparalleled beauty of Grace Kelly wasn't enough for you, Alfred Hitchcock's unflinching direction should be. Never has a woman looked more glamorous at the beach than Grace Kelly. Sun hats, coordinating beach bags and a white gauze overskirt ensure Grace takes centre stage in Hitchcock’s tale of a jewel thief terrorising the Riviera’s richest residents. Quite simply don’t make films like this anymore. A snapshot of a cinematic era we’ll probably never see again, To Catch A Thief will be a sublime addition to a balmy Sunday afternoon.
Balenciaga at the V&A.
You don't need to be too familiar with the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga to appreciate the beauty of the V&A's latest fashion exhibit. A true master of the cut, Balenciaga's pieces rest on the body like pieces of sculpture. His groundbreaking silhouettes were to alter the way women dressed forever and push the boundaries of our expectations of femininity. It may not pack the conceptual punch of the spectacular staging the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit managed, but on a rainy afternoon in the capital there can be little more satisfying than gawping at pretty dresses lined up neatly in a row.
If like me you always go straight to the gift shop before the exhibit, you’ll be pleased to discover the V&A have just relaunched there in spectacular fashion. We all know ultimately the gift shop is the most important part of any exhibit after all.
When it came to the food that should accompany a trip to the Riviera, or a scandalous affair in the South Of France, it had to be lemons. What single taste transports you to the sun more than the fresh zing of lemon? If you haven’t yet discovered Madeleine Shaw I urge you to spend some time with her site. Along with her three cookbooks, it is filled to the brim with recipes for everything from peanut butter cakes to lemon asparagus risotto. Everything is dairy free, sugar free and wheat free but what it doesn’t lack is flavour. You won’t find any paragraphs about the benefits of sipping agave nectar whilst holding your head upside down and chanting mantras either you’ll be pleased to hear. What you will find is recipes for real life that are designed to help your body do its best every day, along with a selection of dishes that will only further enhance your August escape plans.