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What to see, do, read and listen to this summer

Welcome to The Right Now’s bumper summer edition

Hannah Rose Yee

This might be PRIMER’s last newsletter of the year, but we have a bumper The Right Now for you so that you don’t miss anything these coming weeks. Yes, we’re going on holiday – and hopefully so are you – but that’s all the more reason to send you off with some reading recommendations, a few new television shows to binge and even some activities, exhibitions and live music to take in during your time off. Enjoy your break, and see you in the new year.

What to watch

The girls are back in town. That’s right, this week saw the return of Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda in And Just Like That, the Sex and the City reboot, with a double episode premiere streaming now on Binge and new episodes every Thursday for the next two months. Nothing will ever live up to the original series – and reviews have been divided – but isn’t it nice to spend time with some old friends?

Coming on Monday to Foxtel is the season finale of Succession, and it’s going to be a doozy. Last week’s episode was shocking: Roman torpedoed any chance he had of rising to the top, Shiv manoeuvred herself back into the seat of power, and the Roy family wedding in Tuscany still hasn’t happened yet! Anything could go down on Monday’s season finale and we cannot wait.

Emily in Paris returns on December 22

There’ll also be some returning favourites coming to streaming in the next few weeks: Bump is back for a second season on Boxing Day, for anyone craving a feel good Aussie comedy, and so is Emily In Paris on December 22, for those craving some more French stereotypes (and ‘Paris porn’). On New Year’s Eve, Queer Eye will premiere its long-awaited fifth series, set in Texas. BYO Tissues. Then in January, the final season of Ozark will be perfect for a brooding weekend binge. And Jamie Dornan stars in The Tourist on Stan on January 2, offering the perfect Killing Eve-esque revenge thriller to kick off the new year.

Jamie Dornan stars in The Tourist from January 2

Movie-wise, we have to talk about House of Gucci. A more bonkers blockbuster we’ve never seen, full of, ahem, varying degrees of authentic Italian accents and campy costumes galore. Come for Lady Gaga acting her heart out, stay for the wild true story of murder, mayhem and the Milanese world of luxury fashion. It’s in cinemas on January 1.

Bonkers blockbuster House of Gucci opens on January 1

Some other films to put on your radar: a splashy remake of West Side Story, a Norwegian romantic comedy called The Worst Person In The World, sort of like a Scandinavian Fleabag, both in cinemas on boxing day. On New Year’s Eve, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s stunning directorial debut The Lost Daughter, featuring a phenomenal Olivia Colman performance as a woman looking back on her days as a young mum, will drop on Netflix. And then on January 20 comes Spencer, an unconventional Princess Diana biopic with an eerily uncanny Kristen Stewart in the lead role.

What to read

We predict that everyone will be getting stuck into Hanya Yanagihara’s To Paradise this summer, a follow up from the author of A Little Life. On the fiction front, we’re also looking forward to Isabel Allende’s latest Violeta, released in late January, a sprawling family saga (just our favourite kind of story), and The Maid by Nita Prose, a clever murder mystery that has already been snapped up for film adaptation by Florence Pugh.

And if you need to load up on great novels for your summer holidays? Here are a few recommendations:

The buzziest book of the year must surely be Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney.

Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads is a sprawling family epic that’s received widespread praise (we loved it). Lauren Groff’s The Matrix will delight fans of her bestseller Fates and Furies. Kazuo Ishigruo’s dystopian Klara and the Sun is another novel that’s sure to be spotted on beaches this summer. Meg Mason’s Sorrow and Blisswhich follows a 40-something woman coming to terms with mental illness – may have divided PRIMER’s team, but it’s set bestseller lists alight.

On the non fiction front, we’re certain that Johann Hari’s latest Stolen Focus, about the attention economy and our inability to focus on the task at hand, will be the topic of many conversations. Hari is also the author of the bestselling Lost Connections, a PRIMER favourite. Though it’s probably a bit too hefty for carting to the beach, the newly released Tom Ford 002 is a juicy coffee table book, full of gorgeous imagery and incredible insight into the man, the myth, the legend Tom Ford himself.

And lastly, let’s throw in a poetry recommendation: we can’t be alone here at PRIMER in our admiration for Amanda Gorman, the 23-year-old poet laureate who stunned with her recitation at Biden’s inauguration earlier in the year. Call Us What We Carry is her latest collection, powerful and galvanising and full of life. We adored it, and it’s a perfect last minute Christmas gift, too.

What to listen to

Anthony Bourdain fans will love the opportunity to listen to Parts Unknown in podcast form this summer. CNN has transformed the original television series into audio format, and is dropping a new episode every week, ending in New York City. A chance to travel the world while we still can’t. Another podcast we’ve been loving is Operator, a juicy deep dive into the big business of phone sex, which bubbled up – and burst – in the ‘90s, presided over by a single man and a not-so-above-board company. This podcast is from the creators of Dirty John and The Shrink Next Door, and is perfect for a long car ride – as long as there aren’t any kids sitting in the backseat.

We’ll be playing Wet Leg all summer long. This indie band from the Isle of Wight is our new favourite, a perfect blend of mellow vibes and sharp lyrics. Their new album will be released in April 2022, but for now we’ll have this on repeat.

And also… live music is back! Aussie rockers Amyl and the Sniffers are touring in early January, the same week that Elevate festival will take over the Cahill Expressway with performances from Baker Boy and Tones and I – and more – to ring in the new year. Round out your summer with New Zealand singer Benee, who kicks off her tour of Australia at the very end of February.

There are also a few live musicals to lose yourself in this summer. Jagged Little Pill, the Alanis Morissette musical written by Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, has just opened in Sydney and Six: The Musical, told from the perspective of the wives of Henry VIII is looking to do for Tudor history what Hamilton did for the American founding fathers. It opens in Sydney on December 19.

What to do

Matisse: Life & Spirit continues its blockbuster run at the Art Gallery of NSW – the perfect activity for Sydney’s so far very un-perfect summer weather.

Matisse is on at the Art Gallery of NSW

Meanwhile, opening today at Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia is a gorgeous retrospective of groundbreaking Australian artist Jeffrey Smart’s work. Light and colour and the urban landscape all collide in his artworks, making this exhibition the perfect excuse to plan a summer weekend in Canberra.

pond[er] at the NGV is open now

And if you happen to visit the NGV in the coming weeks – maybe to see the new Chanel exhibition – you’ll notice a bright millennial pink pond in the Grollo Equiset Garden. This architectural installation, pond[er], is the winner of a commission from the gallery, designed to recall the pink salt lakes that stretch across Australia and, in good news for families and Instagrammers alike, is designed to be wading through, barefoot.

Have a fabulous summer! The PRIMER team


BY Hannah Rose Yee

Hannah writes PRIMER's The Right Now every month. She is a journalist who has worked for marie claire and Vogue

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