The controversial street music that won’t be silenced



El Tarzi argues that the mainstream market has exploited Mahraganat as a source of profit while curbing its performers creativity. “The market embodied by the syndicate will not allow these singers to achieve. Hence it started to look down on them and force them to have permits,” she says. However, she asserts that Mahraganat singers should be dealt with like any other performers. “We should not approach them in a romanticised classist manner which sees them as slums residents or simple thriving artists.” 

In its attacks on the genre, the syndicate has stated it is considering asking YouTube and Soundcloud administration not to publish any songs without permissions. El Tarzi says that not having control over performers’ use of these platforms is a headache for the syndicate. “They have the right to grow, be more financially [successful]. They are artists like any other artists. They can also practice self-censorship or self-preservation in order to be approved and to be able to enter the market,” says El Tarzi.

Back to Saied and Mohamed, who are still to release their debut song. The duo thinks of success stories of Mahraganat singers like Dokdok and Shakhoush as an inspiration. “They started from nothing working as vendors or freelance musicians and now millions of people in Egypt and abroad listen to their work.” Like Dokdok, they are waiting for the moment to take the stage and sing their songs. Recently, they participated in producing a campaign song for a parliamentary candidate who eventually lost.

“He lost but the song is still catchy and can be heard in several tuk tuks in Mataryea [their district],” Mohamed says. “Banning [Mahraganat] will make it more popular and will make people listen to it more and more.” As Dokdok awaits his syndicate papers to be issued, he hopes that the authorities take them seriously. “They are in power and they can ban us. However, they can ban concerts and shows, but they cannot ban the music or singing.”

*Some names have been altered

Additional reporting by Omnia Farrag

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Star sign that’s feeling frantic this week



Welcome to this week’s horoscopes, where a third and final week of mercury in retrograde is wreaking havoc.

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Queen of the State of Origin meme


As far as disastrous PR opportunities go, politicians pretending to be sports fans is right up the top of the list. From John Howard’s abysmal attempt to bowl a cricket ball to, well, Kevin Rudd’s equally abysmal effort, we have a long and YouTubeable history of politicians dropping the ball – literally.

But none have been quite as bizarre as the tweet offered up by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this week, ahead of the State of Origin game between NSW and Queensland.

Posted a casual four hours before kick-off, the image is both baffling and brilliant. Here we see a beanie-clad Gladys frozen rigidly in what appears to be a blacked-out hotel room. At least, we assume it is her, but really that back could belong to anyone.

The Premier is clutching a can of Coke No Sugar – the drink of choice for footy fans – and staring in the direction of a tiny television that is, annoyingly, out of frame. Given the composition and breathlessness of the photo, you get the feeling someone off-camera may be holding a gun.

The tweet was posted at 4pm with the caption: “Getting ready for Game 1”, but the State of Origin didn’t kick off until 8pm. So taking Gladys at her word (and why wouldn’t we?), we are to assume she was so geed up for the big dance she shuffled into position four hours early. With just one can of Coke.

Undoubtedly this hastily prepared social media post was the work of a (presumably) ex-staffer. Fire the tweet off, and let’s move on, shall we? Unfortunately, the internet is less forgiving, and almost as soon as Gladys bungled her way onto the bandwagon, the memes did flow.

They say it’s the people closest to you who hurt you the most, which is probably how Gladys felt when Deputy Premier John Barilaro stuck the boot in early.

Gladys Watching Things looks set to become a legendary meme series in its own right, with Twitter users wasting no time inserting SportsFan Gladys into a series of different scenarios.

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The worst fashion disasters in fiction



Much of the pain and deflation detailed here by Woolf lies in the gulf between the private pleasure of a garment and its public reception. How many of us have looked at ourselves in the mirror at home and felt delighted by a new outfit, only to have that joy punctured when we realise we are underdressed, overdressed, or somehow out of step with everyone else at an event? The feelings that result from these apparent ‘fashion disasters’ are awful and intimate: at once speaking to some of the deepest fears we hold about ourselves, and a symptom of the changing messages around what (and who) is considered fashionable and beautiful.

A very particular fashion humiliation is experienced by the unnamed protagonist of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938) when she hosts her first costume ball at Manderley: the imposing country home she has become the timid mistress of after marrying Max de Winter. Every room retains traces of her husband’s dead first wife Rebecca, the wardrobes still full of her stylish clothes. This new wife is even tricked into copying one of Rebecca’s outfits, encouraged by conniving housekeeper Mrs Danvers into using a portrait of one of her husband’s relatives as outfit inspiration for the ball.

She mimics it faithfully, commissioning a replica white dress and curly-haired wig. On the day she is giddy with anticipation, enjoying the way this costume submerges her own “dull personality” and presents to her in the mirror a better, brighter image of a “self that was not me”. This joy is short-lived though, curdled by shame and confusion when she makes her grand entrance down the stairs, and is faced by “a long silence” from the gathered guests – and icy fury from her husband who thinks she has mimicked his first wife deliberately and appeared as Rebecca’s ghost.

Aroon and Mabel choose to exit their parties early. The second Mrs de Winter is forced to change, making her way through the evening in a plain blue dress with a “smile screwed” on to her face, and an abject sense of inadequacy throbbing beneath the surface. In Katherine Mansfield’s short story Miss Brill (1920), however, it is only as the main character is just about to return home, following an afternoon out, that she suffers her own moment of sartorial shame. After enjoying her usual weekend ritual of watching people mill around the bandstand in the Jardins Publiques, Miss Brill comes to a realisation. Sitting there in her best fur, worn specially for the occasion, she conceives of the entire, pleasant scene before her as a play – and herself as an actor. “Even she had a part and came every Sunday. No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn’t been there; she was part of the performance after all.” This realisation fills her with a wonderful pride.

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Jana Hocking, Kinda Sorta Dating podcast, dating app ‘turn off’


With apps like Bumble and Tinder it has never been easier to swipe, like and get yourself out on a date.

But dating apps have also brought with them a whole host of new issues that need to be solved, like when you should meet up or what photo you should have in your bio.

On this week’s episode of news.com.au’s new podcast Kinda Sorta Dating, Jana Hocking revealed how one dating app move can be a massive turn off.

RELATED: Boyfriend’s dirty Macca’s act

She told guest Candice Warner how if your date tells you they have deleted their dating apps early into you seeing each other, it’s a massive red flag.

“I went out with a guy recently on our second date he was like, ‘I’ve turned my dating app off’ and he looked at me like ‘so?’” Jana said.

Candice, who is married to cricketer David Warner, said the move would be a “turn off” as the guy probably thought, “Yeah, I’m in here.”

“That’s what I thought,” Jana said in agreement.

“I was like, well you’re not even playing hard to get and also you don’t know me well enough by the second date to decide whether you want to turn the dating app off.

“So then I was like, ‘OK well you’re obviously some form of something’ … and he was, he turned out to be quite the stalker.”

Another dating app red flag was when a guy posted photos that were either only of his torso or far away – a sure fire sign he had a secret.

“There’s ways you can tell on the dating apps if someone is married,” Jana said.

“They are very shady or they put very distant shots, so it will be just their chest.”

RELATED: Ex’s savage blow earns her $10m

Jana said most secretly married guys on dating apps will be too scared to actually follow through and meet up with you.

The radio producer recalled once going on a date with a guy who was visibly nervous and “freaked out” in the middle of their meet up.

“They always will never go on a date with you, or the guy that I went on a date with that ghosted me halfway through, I reckon he was married because he was sh*tting bricks,” Jana said.

“He was sweating, he couldn’t talk properly and he ghosted me halfway through.”
The Kinda Sorta Dating podcast hits iTunes and Spotify on Thursdays | @jana_hocking



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Lockdown diaries from the state’s fourth shutdown


By David Allegretti
Freelance journalist

Day three and I’m up at 5am again. Trust me, this is not normal behaviour. But this time, I have a reason – the UEFA Champions League final. My beloved AS Roma (or Rome-a as it’s often pronounced in English), the only team representing the city my family is from, have had a shocker of a season. So now I’ve no choice but to watch two English teams fight it out for European club football’s top honour. Not the most exciting prospect, but I’ve got nothing better to do.

“Day three and I’m up at 5am again. Trust me, this is not normal behaviour.”

David Allegretti

I have a Panadol with my morning coffee to quell the slight headache brought on by an evening of virtual beers with friends. Lockdown Saturdays make four-hour phone calls feel normal.

Chelsea end up winning 1-0, lifting a big silver trophy in a quarter-full stadium – the fullest I’ve seen a stadium this season. Without the masses in the stands, it all feels a bit odd; the magic is lost. I end up spilling coffee on my favourite (only) Roma hoodie, and wonder why I find a bunch of rich dudes kicking a ball around so fascinating.

By Amanda Dunn
Politics and society editor, The Conversation

Tedious though it can be, lockdown is not all bad. There’s something lovely and rare about having nothing to do on a weekend, freed from the endless cycle of extracurricular activities, birthday parties, play dates. The constant getting in and out of the car, wondering how you’re going to get everything done, then arriving at Sunday evening to realise you’re a little short of options for the morning’s lunchbox. How did we get sucked into this cult of busyness, where a full calendar is worn like a badge of honour?

“There’s something lovely and rare about having nothing to do on a weekend …”

Amanda Dunn

Today we did a bit of masked shopping and then watched a kids’ movie on Netflix about a stray cat and a magician, which the seven-year-old enjoyed and I endured. Afterwards she burst into activity, culminating in making a cubby in the worst possible place, requiring me to take a 30-minute detour to move from the living room to the kitchen. But who cares? Lockdown time bends and blurs.

The lockdown diaries.Credit:Illustration: Dionne Gain


Day Two: Saturday, May 29


By Karl Quinn
Senior culture writer, The Age

Seven ways you know you’re back in lockdown:

  1. You catch the train home from work, and in an empty carriage you can’t help singing that old Specials song to yourself: “This town is coming like a ghost town/All the clubs have been closed down.”
  2. The top two teams in the AFL play what’s meant to be a Friday night blockbuster and the stadium is empty, the sound of the footy being kicked suddenly and uncomfortably audible. Perhaps fittingly, the game itself is a fizzer.

    “You feel a little like Will Smith in I Am Legend, only not quite so buff.”

    Karl Quinn

  3. You have takeaway for dinner. In normal circumstances, this happens in my house maybe three or four times a year. During lockdown, it was sometimes three or four times a week, as my wife – who writes about food and restaurants – felt compelled to order pasta, shawarma, curry, whatever in the name of supporting people whose businesses were on the brink. My heart fills with pride in her efforts, my belly swells with second helpings I really don’t need but can’t resist.
  4. Walking the dog on Saturday morning and the streets are all but deserted. You feel a little like Will Smith in I Am Legend, only not quite so buff.
  5. Leaving the house and getting 20 metres up the street before remembering you’re supposed to be wearing a mask, then running back inside to get it.
  6. Seeing other people without masks and wondering if they’re (a) forgetful like you; (b) have some condition that means they can’t wear a mask; or (c) sociopaths.
  7. Realising that kind of thinking doesn’t help anyone. Deciding to stay calm and keep fogging up your glasses instead.

By Melissa Singer
Fashion editor, The Age

What do you do with old pillows?* This seems to be my biggest challenge today, as hardcore nesting instincts kick in (hello, third trimester!). The bone broth was a success, and now the slow cooker has pivoted (couldn’t help myself) to making muesli. Yes, you can make granola in a slow cooker, and this wasn’t even something I learnt in lockdown. Fortunately, my friend whose birthday is today lives in my building, so we will split a steamed carrot and orange pudding I’m making.

“I think we deserve the fancy stuff. Because if not now, when?”

Melissa Singer

Today feels less heavy, more like a “normal” Saturday when you don’t have plans, which for us was some time back in April. How did life get so busy, so fast? Trying desperately not to watch the news; will keep watching Halston on Netflix about the famed fashion designer of the ’60s and ’70s. My big outing today will be to the staple store to stock up on dried fruit – I think we deserve the fancy stuff. Because if not now, when?
* Email me if you have any solutions on the pillows, please.

By David Allegretti
Freelance journalist

I woke up at 5am again. But rather than lay in bed and fight for a couple more hours of peace, I got up, made a passable instant coffee, and stood in the morning silence of my dim kitchen, sipping my coffee and watching my dog as he watched me with his dopey adorable face. He loves lockdowns.

“[I stood] watching my dog as he watched me with his dopey adorable face. He loves lockdowns.”

David Allegretti

I tore my ACL playing soccer back in March. It’s been a long, arduous journey of daily strengthening work at home and the gym in preparation for my surgery, scheduled for May 31 – this Monday. Yesterday afternoon I received a call from the hospital. My surgery was cancelled; the next window could be months away, but they won’t know for sure until lockdown lifts.

David Allegretti’s husky Lupo: “He loves lockdowns.”

David Allegretti’s husky Lupo: “He loves lockdowns.”

It was a punch in the guts, but I understand. After the call, I sat down and counted myself lucky. Yes, it sucks, but many out there have it much, much worse. If anything, it gives me more time to keep strengthening the muscles around my knee before the big cut comes.

By Amanda Dunn
Politics and society editor, The Conversation

Ballet class on zoom for the seven-year-old throws up a challenge: how to position the computer so her teacher can see her arms and legs at the same time, but not the state of my dining table behind her? In the end, like so much with lockdown, I decide not to care, and at my daughter’s insistence, I watch her do her class just a metre from the action, like the world’s worst stage mum.

We go for a scoot to our favourite café, the daily ritual that has been so important to both of us for all four lockdowns. They are doing OK, adapting quickly to takeaway. I am acutely aware, though, that others are doing it tough – businesses on the brink, relationships strained, mental health under pressure.

“We go for a scoot to our favourite cafe, the daily ritual that has been so important to both of us for all four lockdowns.”

Amanda Dunn

I send check-in texts to my mum, and a couple of friends. As we wait for the next set of numbers, we all fervently hope this lockdown really will only be for seven days.


Day One: Friday, May 28


By Karl Quinn
Senior culture writer, The Age
Today, at least, feels calmer. I spent a good chunk of the last day of our phony lockdown in line at The Alfred. My 17-year-old daughter had symptoms, and a COVID-19 test was in order. Her sister had been tested a few days earlier, came back negative, but in these times you can’t be too careful. Four hours in line was enough to send some snifflers home without a test, but the promised 72-hour wait for results proved unduly pessimistic. By 10pm she had a result: negative. Phew.

“No trouble scoring a seat on the train today, or in the office: there’s five of us here, and almost as many tumbleweeds.”

Karl Quinn

Woke up today feeling fine, three days after getting my first AZ shot. So far so good. Well, apart from the sore leg, but I think it’s safe to blame that on the whack in the shin I got at soccer on Wednesday night. Still allowed to come to the office, so to give my wife a bit of space I did. No trouble scoring a seat on the train today, or in the office: there’s five of us here, and almost as many tumbleweeds. Roll on next Friday.

By Melissa Singer
Fashion editor, The Age
Woke with an incredibly heavy feeling of sadness. Sad for my city. Sad for my friends who are celebrating birthdays this week. And a little sad for myself. At the risk of self-indulgence, I had been due to fly to Sydney tomorrow, for part two of our babymoon (Hamilton! Dinners! Sun!), and for Australian Fashion Week, which in my round is akin to AFL Grand Final week. It’s our Superbowl, and now I’ll be watching it from my study.

Of course there are silver linings, including not having to live out of a suitcase for a week. But I like living out of a suitcase. I love the adrenaline rush of running to make a show, only to arrive and realise it’s running 30 minutes behind. Of course, the show will go on, it must. Just without me physically there.

“I’m a little sad for myself. At the risk of self-indulgence, I had been due to fly to Sydney tomorrow, for part two of our babymoon …”

Melissa Singer

So, today, I am doing my best to cope by reverting to my Lockdown 2.0 playbook: I have just put beef bones in the oven to make broth. I hope the scent that will waft through my apartment over the weekend will be a salve that will calm my feelings of grief and loss, lamenting what could have been.

By David Allegretti
Freelance journalist
Day one of lockdown No. 4 and I’ve woken up two hours before my alarm, tired but unable to fall back asleep. I feel like I’m stuck in line for a broken roller coaster I’ve already ridden 112 times before. This ride sucks, but there’s no getting off. The upside is I’ve got some leftover Red Rooster takeaway in the fridge to look forward to.

“Seven days – that’s doable. Just. But if I hear the phrase “You’ve got this Melbourne!” one more time today …”

David Allegretti

David Allegretti gets a FaceTime call from his friend in the shower.

David Allegretti gets a FaceTime call from his friend in the shower.

Last night my friend FaceTimed me from the shower. He told me Wednesday night’s big moon was a bad moon, a bad omen. Lockdown affects people in different ways, I guess.

Yesterday, I didn’t have time to properly check my phone till about midday, and by then the lockdown news was rampant. I could feel it coming though. In a strange way, the announcement was a relief; a tangible timeline to hang on to. Seven days – that’s doable. Just. But if I hear the phrase “You’ve got this Melbourne!” one more time today, I’m going to shave my eyeballs.

By Amanda Dunn
Politics and society editor, The Conversation
I’ve never been more excited about getting an injection in my life – now if only I could make a booking. But since it was announced the 40+ group could finally get “the jab”, the hotline has been constantly engaged. This seems, in its way, to be good news: finally a sense of urgency about getting vaccinated. I will persevere.

Meanwhile, we are back with our old “friend”, lockdown – that same heavy feeling, the same daily anxiety waiting for case numbers. Just four today from 47,000 tests – do we dare be optimistic?

“My second-grader has a pupil-free day and has already nestled down with her quarantine co-parent, the iPad.”

Amanda Dunn

My second-grader has a pupil-free day and has already nestled down with her quarantine co-parent, the iPad, for some quality time. Her teacher has sent home some worksheets and books for the kids to look at if they want, but the messages have been mercifully stress-free. So today I am trying to work while fitting in some scooting, a spot of LEGO, and some discussions about the difference between llamas and alpacas. Twitter is also providing its usual rants and wits. This is my favourite so far:

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Ten films to watch this June


Ten films to watch this June

(Image credit: Anna Kooris/ A24)

Including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, Dream Horse and Peter Rabbit 2, these are the films not to miss this month.

(Credit: Macall Polay/ Warner Bros)

(Credit: Macall Polay/ Warner Bros)

In the Heights

This year promises two musicals about immigrant life in New York City. In December there is Steven Spielberg’s version of the classic West Side Story. And in the meantime, we have In the Heights, adapted from the Tony-winning, hip-hop-infused Broadway show by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton) and Quiara Alegria Hudes, and directed by John M Chu (Crazy Rich Asians). The film is set over three hot summer days in Washington Heights, a vibrant Manhattan neighbourhood threatened by gentrification. This adaptation “hits with equal parts rapture and relief”, writes David Ehrlich in IndieWire. “Here is a musical so magical and assured that even its missteps seem like good ideas.” The question now is whether even Spielberg himself will be able to reach the same heights.

Released on 11 June in the US and Canada and 18 June in the UK and Ireland

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

F9 / Fast & Furious 9

Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto in the tenth Fast & Furious blockbuster (if you include spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw), and this time the villain is … his own long-lost brother (John Cena)! Yes, even though Dom has been droning on about the importance of family for the last half-dozen instalments of the series, it turns out that he had a brother he never mentioned all along. Still, it’s this heroic disregard for logic and plausibility that makes the Fast & Furious franchise so much fun. The first film was a low-budget cop thriller about illegal street racers, but the sequels have grown bigger and sillier every time. F9 (in the US) or Fast & Furious 9 (in the UK) is a global cyber-spy extravaganza boasting appearances by Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell and – I kid you not – a car that flies into space. “For audiences who want their 2021 return to the multiplex to deliver big, loud, exciting action,” says Alonso Duralde in The Wrap, “F9 makes the cars go fast, jump high, and generally do the impossible. It’s exhilaratingly ridiculous, yes, but it’s also ridiculously exhilarating.”

Released on 24 June in the UK and Ireland, and 25 June in the US and Canada

(Credit: Warner Bros)

Dream Horse

Jan Vokes (Toni Collette) runs a shop in a small, deprived town in Wales. Business is slow, so when she overhears an accountant (Damian Lewis) discussing how profitable horse-racing can be, she has the sort of idea that British comedy dramas are made of. She will form a syndicate with her friends, and together they will use what little cash they have to breed and train a racehorse of their own. Can these plucky newcomers compete with the tycoons who dominate the sport? And can Collette and Lewis pull off convincing Welsh accents? It may sound far-fetched, but Dream Horse is based on a true story that has already been the subject of a hit documentary. “Beautifully shot and packed with snappy, well-played characters,” says Rich Cline at Shadows on the Wall, “it’s a warm and engaging tale that will appeal to anyone who has struggled to hold on to a dream”.

Released on 4 June in the UK and Ireland, and 10 June in Australia

(Credit: Anna Kooris/ A24)

(Credit: Anna Kooris/ A24)

Zola

Zola must be the first ever film to use the credit “based on the tweets by”. The tweets in question – all 148 of them – were posted one night in October 2015 by A’Ziah “Zola” King. They told the jaw-dropping story of how King, a waitress in Detroit, agreed to go on a road trip to Florida with a woman she had just met. The plan was that they would make a fortune by pole-dancing, but King was deceived, exploited, and endangered instead. The Hustlers-meets-Spring-Breakers adaptation of her Twitter thread, directed by Janicza Bravo, stars Taylour Paige as Zola, and Riley Keough as her new acquaintance Stefanie. It’s “a frank and extremely funny account of one wild weekend”, writes Hannah Strong in Little White Lies, “approaching sex trafficking in a bold new way as well as examining the racial tension between Zola and Stefanie”.

Released on 30 June in the US and Canada

(Credit: Alamy)

Siberia

No relation to the 2018 Keanu Reeves thriller of the same name, Siberia is the sixth collaboration between Abel Ferrara (Bad Lieutenant, King of New York) and his regular leading man, Willem Dafoe. It’s also their wildest and weirdest film yet – and that’s saying something. Dafoe plays a loner who hitches his dogsled to a team of huskies and heads off into the Siberian snow. Not wild and weird enough for you? Well, he also travels through his own dreams and memories. Guy Lodge writes in Variety that the film is a “beautiful, unhinged, sometimes hilarious trek into geographical and psychological wilderness that will delight some and mystify many others”. It’s a must for those who like their cinema to be philosophical and surreal. But be warned: “Those who require a standard A-to-B narrative would be best advised to check out.”

Released on 18 June in the US

(Credit: Anna Webber/ Focus Features)

(Credit: Anna Webber/ Focus Features)

The Sparks Brothers

Sparks have been called “your favourite band’s favourite band”: the Los Angeles art-pop duo may not be mainstream stars, but their oddball genius has entranced and influenced musicians for decades. And not just musicians. One of their biggest fans is Edgar Wright, the director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and the forthcoming Last Night in Soho. Interviewing Sparks themselves (brothers Ron and Russell Mael) along with such Sparks aficionados as Beck, Jason Schwartzman and Neil Gaiman, he has put together an enthusiastic and suitably quirky film about the group’s 50-year, 25-album career. “Wright knows some people won’t want to watch a long documentary about a band they’ve never heard of,” says Jordan Hoffman in The Guardian, “so he’s sure to keep it funny and alive at every possible turn.” Sparks may well be your own favourite band by the end of it.

Released on 18 June in the US and 24 June in Australia

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

Peter Rabbit 2

Critics weren’t too keen on 2018’s Peter Rabbit, a blend of live-action and animation that owed less to Beatrix Potter’s charming picture books than to the slapstick violence of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. But audiences were more enthusiastic, so here is the inevitable sequel, featuring Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson as (live-action) newlyweds, and James Corden as the (animated) rabbit who has agreed to stop stealing their vegetables. Will Gluck, the co-writer-director, bumps up the postmodern humour from the first film, with jokes about how annoying Corden’s voice is and American directors spoiling beloved British books. And this time, even the critics are happy with it. “Considerably better than Peter’s 2018 outing,” says Sarah Cartland at Caution Spoilers, “[the film is] colourful and visually engaging, and the comic timing is impeccable.”

Released on 9 June in the Netherlands, 10 June in Denmark and 18 June in the US and Canada

(Credit: Music Box Films)

(Credit: Music Box Films)

Summer of 85

François Ozon, the prolific, genre-hopping French writer-director, gets back to his roots – and, perhaps, his own adolescence – with an adaptation of Aidan Chambers’ ground-breaking gay coming-of-age novel, Dance On My Grave. Its young lovers are 16-year-old Alexis (Félix Lefebvre) and a swaggering 18-year-old, David (Benjamin Voisin), who saves him from drowning when his boat capsizes off the coast of Normandy in 1985. Reviewers have compared Ozon’s nostalgic recreation of a sun-kissed summer fling to Call Me By Your Name. But in this case, as Alexis’s voice-over warns us, David doesn’t have long to live, so the mystery of his death looms over their time together. Boyd van Hoeij of The Hollywood Reporter praises “a story that’s frequently awkward and a little painful to watch but also sincere and truthful about adolescence in a way seldom seen in films about teenagers made by middle-aged directors”.

Released on 18 June in the US

(Credit: Philippe Bosse/Netflix)

(Credit: Philippe Bosse/Netflix)

Fatherhood

In 2008, Matthew Logelin’s wife Liz died suddenly, 27 hours after giving birth to their daughter Madeleine. Logelin chronicled the ordeal on his blog, and then in a book, Two Kisses For Maddy: A Memoir of Love and Loss. Now the book has been made into Fatherhood, a comedy drama about the challenges of being a widower and a single parent. For a while, the film was due to star Channing Tatum, but the role of Matt ultimately went to Kevin Hart. It’s an intriguing departure for an actor who specialises in broad, high-volume comedy, but the director and co-writer, Paul Weitz, is on familiar ground, having dealt with parenthood in About A Boy and Being Flynn. Fun fact: Fatherhood is “presented by” Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground.

On Netflix from 18 June

(Credit: Neon)

Gunda

A quiet alternative to the anthropomorphised antics in Peter Rabbit 2, Victor Kossakovsky’s black-and-white documentary shows daily life on a farm from the animals’ perspective, with no shots of human beings, and no dialogue except for grunts. The film’s heroine is Gunda, a sow with a litter of baby piglets. Her co-stars include a one-legged chicken and a herd of cows. Artfully shot over several months, Kossakovsky’s film is “gorgeous”, “hilarious”, and “sublime”, says Jessica Kiang in the Los Angeles Times. And it would be relaxing, too, if we didn’t already know the cute piglets’ ultimate fate. “Beyond its value as a meditation on animal captivity and cruelty, and its implicit insistence on an ethical re-evaluation of our relationship to livestock, this is a film that pays attention to things we’ve long neglected and to in-between interludes we have forgotten how to see.”

Released on 11 June in the UK and 17 June in the Netherlands

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Brisbane mum stockpiled groceries for 12 years to save money


For this Brisbane mum-of-two, stockpiling food hasn’t just been about making sure she has enough food to get her through a pandemic.

Emily, who shares her frugal living journey on Instagram as @aussiedebtfreegirl and is pregnant with her third child, began stockpiling groceries over a decade ago out of necessity.

Unlike panic buying, stockpiling involves building up a supply of essentials slowly by strategically buying items when they are on sale.

“I’ve stockpiled basically the last 12 years since I moved out of home,” she told news.com.au. “It was a way when we were struggling that I knew everybody would get fed.”

In the beginning she would use plastic tubs to store the extra Black and Gold branded oats, pasta and tomato paste she had stocked up on.

Today she has dedicated shelves set up in her garage for her stockpile and estimates it has saved her “10s of thousands” of dollars.

RELATED: Mum’s $50 stockpiling survival plan

“It’s gotten us through three job losses, car break downs, becoming debt free, all sorts of things,” Emily said.

At the start of every week Emily, who has a weekly grocery budget of $100, will see what the half price specials are at Woolies and Coles using an app called Half Price.

She will shop at whichever supermarket has the best bargains of the week.

“It means I can keep our grocery budget super duper low because I’m never paying full price for anything that we eat, I’m buying on it on special,” Emily said.

“Most specials are about six to eight weeks so I buy enough to get me through the eight weeks for my family until it comes up again.”

Emily doesn’t just source her stockpile supply from supermarkets and also keeps an eye out for specials at smaller retailers.

“Our butcher once or twice a year does chicken breast where it comes down to $5 a kilo when it’s usually $10 a kilo,” she said.

“So I buy between five and 10 kilos of chicken breast and then come home, chop it all up, put it into ziplock bags and meal sized portions and then freeze it.

RELATED: What bread and milk run for family of 16 looks like

“Then we eat off that for the year for our chicken.”

Besides food, Emily will buy laundry powder when it is on special as well as making sure she has medical items like hand sanitiser, Dettol, Gatorade and Panadol stocked up.

“My son is actually immunocompromised, so it’s really important that we don’t go out too much when there’s a lot of sickness around,” she said.

Having a stockpile means that Emily can cut her grocery budget down to “just the basics” if an unexpected expense comes up.

“If the car breaks down tomorrow, no matter what happens I can cut our grocery budget down if needed to like $20,” she said.

How to stockpile groceries successfully

1. Start off small

Emily recommends starting off small by purchasing a few extra in your grocery shop of pantry staples you use frequently.

“It starts with one or two items of what you eat a lot of,” she said. “ The main thing that I would recommend a lot of people start with are those basics like tinned dice tomatoes.”

2. Utlilise your budget

Using leftover funds to beef-up your stockpile can be a useful way to make sure you’re prepared, Emily said.

Emily has a grocery budget for her family four of $100 a week and any money she has leftover from that she puts towards stockpiling.

“If I come in under budget on my groceries then I will remember that I have $20, $12 whatever I have aside,” she said.

“I put that into a stockpile budget and I go, ‘OK I have $12, what I am going to buy with my $12 that’s going to serve me?’”

3. Don’t over buy food

One of the easiest mistakes to make when stockpiling is to buy food you won’t eat simply because it’s on special.

“So many people will go, ‘But it’s such a good deal but I don’t like this’,” Emily said.

“Don’t buy it if you’re not going to like it, you won’t eat it.”

Stockpiles don’t need to be big either – they can be as simple as a couple of extra supplies of staples like flour, sugar and rice.

“You don’t have to have a stockpile with everything you need for your family to eat for an entire month,” Emily said.



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Want to make your skincare more eco-friendly? Go waterless



As people look for more sustainable cosmetic options, water-filled products are the latest to get a shake-up.

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Are these stunning photos of imaginary worlds a new artform?



“This idea of photographers going through unimaginable tasks just to get an image is in the past now,” he claims. “A video game can be just as fruitful a canvas for a photographer as the real world is.”

Sang has created in-game photos for marketing campaigns from major gaming publishers and companies like Activision and Nvidia, and, above and beyond that, he spends a lot of his days as a hobbyist trying to capture moments with emotional substance on games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Cyberpunk2077. This might involve spending hours carefully arranging dead bodies in a Wild West tavern in order to construct a menacing smoking gun shot, or shooting an intimate juncture where a character is lost in a daydream amid a futuristic neon landscape. Often, he tries to photograph fleeting gaming moments that have a direct correlation to the everyday humdrum of real life.

One of the shots he considers among his greatest shows bloodied Resident Evil 3 heroine Jill Valentine having an introspective moment while sitting on a train carriage; Sang describes the intent behind it with the seriousness of an artist describing a work of theirs hanging on a wall in a prestigious exhibition. “Despite feeling bruised by the world, we all still commute into work [or at least, we did before the pandemic] and act like everything is normal. A bloodied Jill gave me this feeling of a regular person looking through the window while commuting – just carrying on despite it all.”

The shot undoubtedly captures a very relatable sense of perseverance and therefore furthers the way video games now offer genuine soul-searching moments, even amid fantastical apocalyptic horror settings.

The benefits of ‘virtual photography’

Sang’s work has been hung in art exhibitions in Los Angeles and London (alongside fellow screenshotter Duncan Harris) – revealing how the lines between real-life photographs and in-game screenshots are blurring. In 2018, having worked in advertising and graphic design, Sang became disillusioned with his professional life and switched careers for photography, quickly making an income shooting live music and events. However, due to the high levels of crime in São Paulo (“It was dangerous to carry a camera”) and a nagging feeling that he couldn’t possibly compete with more established photographers (whose bigger budgets enabled privileges such as travelling), Sang traded the “elitism” of real-world photography for the virtual world, and began to make freelance money by creating promotional screenshots.

Sang, who has turned an escapist hobby into a living, believes that one of the exciting aspects of video-game photography, from the perspective of the practitioner, is its accessibility. “For a lot of people, it isn’t affordable to just buy a camera or sustain a photographer lifestyle. For others, it’s just too dangerous. The good thing about video-game photography is you don’t need academic experience. You are given the tools straight away and are free to experiment. I could instantly be shooting a battlefield in Northern France or a futuristic Cyberpunk city; there’s no barriers for entry.”

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