I watched the entirety of Fleabag season two on a plane, completely forgetting that planes are relatively public settings, and that when you laugh out loud, often hysterically, but then start crying mere moments later, people start to wonder what's up. Look, it was worth it. Available to stream in full from tomorrow on Amazon Prime, Fleabag's second season is one of the best things I've ever seen; Phoebe Waller-Bridge (creator of Killing Eve) writes and stars in the comedy series, which follows a woman in her 30s fumbling through life, love, family and grief with an unflinching sense of humour and a painfully open heart. Season two is somehow better than the first, and Waller-Bridge's ability to blend comedy and tragedy – often in the same scene – makes this show unlike anything else on television right now. It's just so damn good. It even stars Andrew Scott as a hot priest!
I've found it hard to listen to anything but Aldous Harding's new album Designer for the past week, but when I stumbled across Caroline Rose on Spotify a few days ago, I knew I'd found an artist worth the distraction. The New York-based singer's 2018 album Loner is a collection of oddball pop-rock; there's a humorous beat running throughout the album, but it doesn't detract from her often emotionally profound songwriting. The songs are catchy as hell, with retro synthesisers and sunny guitar licks, and Rose's lyrics are cynically observational in an endearing way.
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Comedy Festival continues to showcase some of New Zealand's best local performers at the moment; so far, I've been lucky enough to see Leon Wadham's beautiful, surreal, half-mad Funk; Alice Snedden's brilliantly confessional Absolute Monster; and the incredible pop parody of Two Hearts: The Winery Tour. This week, I'm looking forward to Space Couch, hosted by Tim Batt and Disasteradio; it's a local spin on the late-night chat show format, and guests will include comedians, politicians and actors – David Farrier, Chloe Swarbrick and Claire Chitham are just some in the line-up. Plus, none other than BoJack Horseman star Paul F. Tompkins provides the voice of Space Couch. 10pm, tonight until Saturday at the Basement Theatre.
It's kind of stressful how much incredible stuff there is to do this month – tonight I'll be dancing to Broods' brilliant pop songs at the Town Hall, tomorrow I'll be unwinding at our cover star Kacey Musgraves' show at the same venue, then this weekend, I'll be stimulating my brain with as many Writers' Festival events as I can fit in. I'm looking forward to seeing Andrew Sean Greer on Sunday morning; Less, his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel from last year, is a heartwarming read that explores feelings of insecurity, ageing, and what it means to run in the opposite direction from your responsibilities. (Not that I would know).