With never-ending political omnishambles, a black hole in your heart where Game of Thrones used to be and only a middling chance of another heatwave, you could be forgiven for thinking this summer’s forecast is looking drab. Fortunately, that’s only at first glance.
Look closer and you’ll see there’s enough blockbuster culture coming your way that you could feasibly close the blinds now and hibernate until autumn. Just don’t forget the vitamin D supplements.
These are our picks for the months ahead, from the documentaries everyone will be talking about to the food trends that might – might – get you out of the house.
5 Films To Pre-Book Today
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
The Reeves-aissance is at fever pitch, with Keanu just being announced as the face of Yves Saint Laurent’s new campaign. It all kicked off with John Wick, and you can expect more neon-soaked, uber-stylised violence in Parabellum, including a midnight swordfight on the back of motorbikes.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino. Leonardo Dicaprio. Brad Pitt. Need we say more? The stars have aligned for this slick period piece, about a TV star/stunt double duo knocking about seedy ‘60s LA. It’s all about the bit parts, though, which include a Bruce Lee fight scene and a chilling Charles Manson cameo.
Taron Egerton dons the star-spangled sunglasses and glittery baseball jersey for this hyper-camp biopic of Elton John. With Richard Madden and Jamie Bell co-starring, the cast is like a who’s who of the best up-and-coming British actors – as well as the favourites to play the next Bond.
Men In Black International
Who better to don the (Paul Smith-designed) black suits for this reboot than two of the coolest people in the world right now? Fresh off the back of Thor: Ragnarok, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson co-star once again, battling aliens on the streets of London and looking pretty damn suave doing so.
3 Documentaries To Tell Your Mates About
Asif Kapadia might not be a household name, but the documentarian has a Midas touch when it comes to his subjects – see his seminal 2010 racing doc Senna, or the heart-wrenching Amy Winehouse film Amy. Now he’s turning his golden touch to the man behind the ‘Hand of God’, and it’s bound to be extraordinary.
Liam Gallagher: As It Was
The most outspoken man in rock-and-roll has had a big input in this doc, so you can expect plenty of first-hand insights into what makes the younger Gallagher brother tick. Just don’t hold out hope for an appearance from Noel.
Following hot on the heels of last year’s Oscar-nommed First Man, this doc will once again tell the story of the history-making mission to the moon. It includes plenty of never-before-seen footage and recently-unearthed audio, meaning you can experience Apollo’s journey like never before.
5 TV Shows To Binge-Watch
This big-budget Amazon Prime adaptation features two dream pairings: Michael Sheen and David Tennant as an angel and a demon on a mission to save the world, and Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman as the co-writers of the wacky novel on which it’s based.
This dark Italian drama is the most visceral on-screen representation of gang crime since The Wire, and makes the likes of Goodfellas and The Godfather look like kids’ comedies. If you’re not already watching it, now’s the time to catch up.
The cat-and-mouse antics of MI5 agent Eve Polastri and psychopathic hitwoman Villanelle took the world by storm when the show first hit screens last year. Now it’s back for a second season, penned once again by Fleabag genius Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Stranger Things 3
After a slightly ropey second season, the zeitgeist-defining show is going back to doing what it does best for its third outing: Spielbergian mystery, synth-laden soundtracks, and more unbridled ‘80s nostalgia than ever before.
Joseph Heller’s satirical novel is one of the all-time American greats, so it makes sense in the hands of one. Thankfully, George Clooney isn’t just producing it – he’s directing and starring too. Watch out for up-and-comers Christopher Abbott and Harrison Osterfield, too.
3 Books To Pre-Order
Three Women – Lisa Taddeo
Lisa Taddeo’s uncompromising nonfiction debut follows the damaging sex lives of three different women over an eight-year period, the result of thousands of hours of interviews by the author. Already being called the ‘book of the year’ by people more clever than us.
The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead
How do you follow a Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling novel? Ask Underground Railroad author Colson Whitehead. The writer returns to the subject of race relations in America, this time with a haunting story about two young black men during the height of the Jim Crow era.
The Institute – Stephen King
Upstart kid protagonists? Check. Shady government experiments? Check. Scary woodland setting, somewhere in Maine? Triple check. Stephen King knows what he’s good at, and the master is back to his best in this creepy thriller about incarcerated, ‘gifted’ children.
6 Orders Your Taste Buds Will Thank You For
After Hoppers brought Sri Lankan dishes to the unexpected forefront of the London dining scene, Shoreditch’s Lahpet is doing the same with Burmese cuisine in 2019. The menu includes coconut noodles, balachaung dumplings and the namesake lahpet thohk (tea leaf salad), but the hake masala is their speciality – order it and you’ll see why.
From sparkling kombucha, to sour milk/yoghurt hybrid kefir, to tofu’s more in-vogue cousin tempeh, fermented food and drink will be everywhere this summer – and that’s good news for your gut. Whether your tastebuds agree, we’ll let you decide.
Thanks to big-name restaurants like Gymkhana and Smoking Goat going all-in on the underappreciated meat, it’s now on the menu in a major way. If you want to impress your guests, smoke a goat shoulder at your next barbecue.
Whereas a hazy pint in the past might have elicited a ‘Looks a bit off, pal’, cloudy beer is fast becoming the drinking man’s choice in 2019. Try Cloudwater’s range of beautifully-designed IPA cans, or opt in on a leopardprint-adorned Party Animals Rye IPA from CR/AK x Lervig.
If you associate the taste of agave with badly-judged 2am tequila shots on uni nights out, clearly you aren’t familiar with the spirit’s smoky older brother. In Mexico, mezcal is sipped like whisky and ordered from extensive lists, like expensive wine. Our pick? The Derrumbes Oaxaca variety.
Non-alcoholic Spirits & Cocktails
With the advent of ‘mindful drinking’, and a whole non-alcoholic cocktail menu at restaurants like Duck & Waffle, there’s never been a better time to jump on the wagon. Brands like Seedlip are carving out a genuine market in non-alcoholic spirits that actually taste nice. Don’t judge before you try.
5 Albums To Play On Loop
Nothing Great About Britain – slowthai
The New York Times called it ‘a snarling critique of Brexit Britain’. They’re not wrong. Slowthai has been busy making a name for himself as British rap’s most important rising star, and this album looks set to cement him as the voice of a frustrated generation.
Encores 2 – Nils Frahm
The uber-cool German composer mixes classical symphony and modern electronic music, to the delight of fans of both. This is the EP you’ll want to tell everyone you’ve been listening to.
TIM – Avicii
When EDM pioneer Tim Bergling took his own life in April last year, he left behind a wealth of unreleased music. These songs formed the basis of TIM, a final album compiled by his family, friends and collaborators. Proceeds will go to a mental health foundation set up in the artist’s name.
Hypersonic Missiles – Sam Fender
The indie darling, who shared last year’s ‘Sound of 2018’ with Sigrid and Lewis Capaldi and whose single ‘Play God’ you might recognise from FIFA 19, is finally releasing his debut album in August. Expect to be singing along to most of it come summer’s end.
Yandhi – Kanye West
Well, we hope so. Truth is, we don’t even know if Yandhi is the final name of Yeezy’s next album, a spiritual follow-up to 2013’s Yeezus. The release was pushed back from late last year, and fans are now anticipating it this summer. Fingers crossed.
2 Podcasts To Obsess Over
This home-grown podcast takes listeners behind some of the biggest headlines in British investigative journalism, offering a peek into how some of the most important stories of the last few years were broken.
Hand Cut Radio
A new style podcast which sees suiting savant Aleks Cvetkovic going toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names in tailoring. Expect insights from the likes of Permanent Style’s Simon Crompton and Connolly’s Isabel Ettedgui.
4 Destinations To Escape To
Lisbon, with its bright yellow cable cars and bustling nightlife scene, has long been a staple for European travellers with a decidedly metropolitan slant. But Porto, its slightly-more-northern cousin, is fast becoming the cooler destination to namedrop – and not just because of those Insta-friendly blue-and-white tiles you’ve seen popping up all over your feed.
A few years ago, an Amsterdam saturation led to the current obsession with Copenhagen as the destination-du-jour. Now, though, eyes are turning westwards towards sleek, stylish Oslo. Go for the taster menu at Brutus for some modern Norwegian fare in a typically Scandi setting.
While LA is the place to go if you want overpriced green juices and overcrowded rooftop bars, the other side of the States is where the real party’s at. Bouncing back from its outdated image, thanks in part to ‘90s nostalgia and its wonderfully garish starring role in American Crime Story: The Death of Gianni Versace, South Beach is cool once again.
The Scottish Islands
Perhaps it’s down to Instagram fatigue, or perhaps it’s just because flights to the Caribbean are expensive. Either way, those in the know are swapping white sand beaches and cocktails-in-coconuts for the windswept shores of the Orkney and Shetland Islands. While whisky is a way of life up there, break the rules by heading to Unst and visiting the northernmost gin distillery in Britain.