Political upheaval, terrorism, Donald Trump, Love Island. Doesn’t it feel like we need some culutural distractions more than ever this summer? Happily, the sunny season will duly oblige.
The slate is packed with intriguing blockbusters, big music drops, holiday reads and binge-ready TV. Below are our picks for the best diversions from reality. We’ll see you in the autumn.
What To Read
Don’t Be A Dick, Pete, By Stuart Heritage
All this talk of long, challenging verbose works of fiction being somehow ‘important’ to your life is claptrap. Books should make you do one of three things: laugh, weep, or turn the page. Guardian scribe Stuart Heritage does a bit of all three in this brilliant biography of his own brother.
“It’s an exploration of how differing attitudes to masculinity can co-exist in an age where it’s under more scrutiny than ever before,” the author says. “And it also has a chapter about me getting diarrhoea.”
Available at Amazon, priced £9.09 for paperback and £7.99 for Kindle.
What To Watch
Capes and spandex onesies might still be the big trend in Hollywood, but amidst another full year of superhero movies, it’s a more serious blockbuster that’s caught our eye. Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk promises to be a sweeping wartime epic, mixing dogfights, gorgeous cinematography and Kenneth Brannagh looking pensive. A first-rate cast also includes professional award-winner Mark Rylance, brutish buttercup Tom Hardy and printed shift aficionado Harry Styles.
The fact that the action centres on a huge British retreat from Europe just as Brexit negotiations kick off is, we think, just a coincidence.
What To Binge
The Tick, Amazon Prime
Like Usain Bolt at around the 60m mark, modern TV is really starting to hit its stride. No more waiting a whole week to catch the next instalment, you can just cancel everything, call in sick, and stay glued to the set until your eyes start throwing up. Except you can’t do that with the new series of Game of Thrones, excited though we are about its return. So The Telegraph’s TV critic Michael Hogan tips The Tick on Amazon Prime for some long-distance sofa time instead.
“It’s an action-comedy about a bumbling, blue-costumed superhero with a nerdy accountant sidekick,” Hogan says. “Amazon’s pilot episode got cult buzz last year, so the full series should be a binge-friendly treat.” It stars the always-excellent Peter Serafinowicz.
Available on Amazon Prime.
What To Stream
Process, By Sampha
This summer’s line-up of new music features something for every ear, with new albums coming from Jay-Z, Arcade Fire, Lana Del Rey, Grizzly Bear, Vince Staples and Alice Cooper. Yes, Alice Cooper. Our pick, however, came out in February. Process, from South London’s very own Sampha is hypnotic modern soul music and should be the only sundowner you’ll need this summer.
What To Do In The Gym
After your ninth hour staring mutely ahead on a treadmill, the gym starts to feel a little bit samey. That’s your body’s way of telling you that you need to mix things up, to treat your exercise regime to a sexy makeover.
Animal Flow says personal trainer Jeremy Johnston, “is going to be huge. I do some of it in my own sessions – it gives you amazing strength and mobility.”
Created by a professional Adonis called Mike Fitch, it basically incorporates the movements of various beasts of the wild and turns them into human exercises. It’s effective, functional training that genuinely puts a smile on your face. You can’t say that about hill sprints.
What Country To Visit
Climate change may soon render foreign travel unnecessary since we’ll all have more than enough sunshine at home. Until that dream becomes a reality, travel writer Anna Hart, author of Departures, has some five-star insider information.
“Heaps of London chefs I know are convinced that street food from Myanmar is going to be the next big dining trend,” she says. “So if you want to be ahead of the curve, now’s the time to visit this beautiful and newly accessible Southeast Asian nation. Cruise down the Ayeyarwady River in a rusty river steamer, gaze at centuries old stupas in the Bagan plains, swim in the beautiful Bay of Bengal, and eat your way around the streets of Yangon.”
What To Drink
A Waterloo Cocktail
If you want to know what your tipple should be this summer, don’t ask some guy who is half cut singing Rule Britannia at pigeons in the middle of the park. No, go to someone with a bit of actual bartending experience under their belt. Someone like Hector Skinner, the co-owner of The Crooked Well, a south London pub with an award-winning drinks list.
“This year, I will mostly be drinking Waterloos,” he insists. “It’s a cocktail that consists of chilled watermelon, lemon and lime juice, Campari, gin, and a couple of dashes of sugar syrup – all served in a tall glass with ice. Nothing refreshes quite like it.”
Five of those then, please.
What To Listen To
Let’s assume you’re all over The Bugle, The Adam Buxton Podcast and Wtf With Marc Maron. Now to stoke your true crime obsession after Serial and S-Town with a podcast inspired by those shows.
Recorded by Brooke Kittings in her bedroom closet, it investigates the case of Richard Nicholas, a man sent to jail for the death of his two-year-old daughter in 1996. But what if he didn’t do it?
What To Follow
Official Sean Penn
It’s taken a while to sink in, but it seems like Instagram mainly exists for just three purposes. One, so that hot people can remind you how hot they are. Secondly, to keep you up to date with other people’s dietary habits.
And the third purpose is to make you chuckle. Check out @officialseanpenn – the home of mindless, seemingly endless #jumboLOLZ.