The Winter Hot List 2019

Men's Fashion

It’s winter – time of hibernation, hearty food, warming booze, and long nights in. But just because it’s cold, there’s plenty of film, television, music and other cultural that are still, well, red hot. Can’t be bothered to take the blanket off your legs and seek them out for yourself? No problem. Throw another log on the fire and settle down. We’ve done it for you, with this roundup the cultural highlights of winter 2019

What To Read

Me, by Elton John

Me, by Elton John

Not content with the excellent biopic Rocketman (a film which sang Bohemian Rhapsody under the table), Elton John has now released an already-acclaimed autobiography. Don’t be put off by the tepid, mum-friendly output of his later years, at his peak Sir Elton was one of popular music’s all-time talents and personas. From his days as a young piano prodigy to his legendary gigs in Los Angeles and spiral into drugs, this is an appropriately brash, boisterous, and blindingly colourful account of a true rock ‘n’ roll life.

Also On Our Radar

Find Me, by André Aciman – the sequel to Aciman’s coming-of-age romance Call Me by Your Name (adapted into a Timothee Chalamet movie with a truly excellent wardrobe department) picks up with the characters years later. In Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas, doctor-turned-comedian Adam Kay reveals hilarious and heartbreaking stories about the realities of working in a hospital over the festive season.

What To Watch

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Get ready for a film event so cataclysmic, its shockwaves are likely to be felt in a galaxy far, far away. Yes, it’s the final episode in the Star Wars saga. The trailers have given away very little. Even the title is a mystery – what does The Rise of Skywalker mean? Will Luke Skywalker return from the dead? Is new hero Rey (Daisy Ridley) about to discover she’s part of the legacy? Or will Daddy Skywalker himself – Darth Vader – make a surprise comeback? What’s guaranteed is the mother of all lightsaber battles as Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) duel it out Force-style for the fate of the universe.

Also On Our Radar

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman has all the components to make it Goodfellas-level crime epic, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci (on Netflix Nov 27). And Daniel Craig puts a twist on the Agatha Christie-style playing a detective in blackly comic whodunit Knives Out (Nov 29).

The Irishman

What To Binge

Living With Yourself

Living With Yourself

What could be better that a show starring Paul Rudd, Hollywood’s most lovable personality? How about a show starring two Paul Rudds? That’s the concept of Netflix comedy-drama Living with Yourself, which sees Rudd play a beleaguered, knackered-out ad executive who visits a mysterious spa and ends up with a clone of himself. And not just a clone, but – much to his annoyance – a better, fresher, sparkier version of himself. It’s an introspective look at identity and duality. Much like Rudd’s character – a smarter duplicate of a well-established sci-fi concept.

Also On Our Radar

The Morning Show, Apple TV – Apple has launched its own streaming service with this biting satire, starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon as warring TV news readers. Daybreak, Netflix – injects some fresh blood into the zombie genre, creating a vision of the apocalypse where only under-18s have survived.

What To Stream


Georgia in concert at O2 Academy Brixton

It’s been a great year for Georgia. The singer/drummer/producer released infectious electro banger About Work The Dancefloor and played an ace Glastonbury set (you’ve got to check out Georgia’s live performances, switching between drums, keyboards, and other bits of music tech – a dizzying musical talent). And with new album Seeking Thrills set to drop on 10 January, Georgia’s fast becoming our new non-stop streaming obsession. Hailed as one to watch by just about anyone whose opinion counts, Georgia’s songs bounce between dreamlike futurism and synth-powered eighties riffs.

Also On Our Radar

Forget Kanye, we’re still enjoying Bon Iver’s sublime i, i album, which (as always with Bon Iver) finds that otherworldly sweet spot between acoustic and electronic sounds. And we’ll be back into Beck – an artist who continues to be both nostalgic and progressively forward-thinking with his music – when his new album Hyperspace is released on Nov 22.

What Country To Visit

Departure board


The history and culture of Morocco has made it a popular destination for years, but recent modernisation has made it easier-to-explore than before.
Marrakesh is being crowned the first ever African Capital of Culture for 2020, and it’s a place that has to be experienced as much as seen, with its hustling and bustling medina, full of sights, smells and sounds. You can travel the country the old-fashioned way – from Marrakesh to the coastal city of Essaouira is particularly nice – but you can also ride on Africa’s first ever high speed train, which connects Casablanca and Tangier.

Also On Our Radar

OK, so it’s more icily cold that hot, but Romania – specifically Transylvania – has been getting a reputation as a picturesque getaway thanks to its medieval towns, wintery landscapes, and towering “Dracula’s Castle”. Bhutan is a sometimes forgotten Himalayan country, where high tariffs for foreign tourists means it’s a largely untouched, highly sustainable tourist destination.

What To Eat

Vegan Fast Food

Beyond Meat

It’s not just about being kind to the planet and animals (though that is, to state the obvious, a good reason to eat vegan), but the fact that more eateries and retailers than ever are putting out ever-improving vegan options. And it’s no surprise – 3.5 million people now identify as vegan.

What’s made vegan food especially hot-right-now is that it’s now been widely adopted as fast food, making plant-based meal out of indulgent, oversized, big-flavoured grub. Expect to find yourself tucking into such meat alternatives as jackfruit, shiitake bacon, and burgers crafted from veg, seeds, nuts, grains and legumes.

Also On Our Radar

Sri Lankan – this has been on the food trend list all year and for good reason, with its unique palette of curry dishes and rice flour pancakes; West African – look out for Nigerian tapas, Senegalese fish dishes, and creative use of both peanut and plantain.

What To Listen To

Hit Parade

Hit Parade

Chris Molanphy’s Hit Parade is a detailed documentary series on the history of pop music, topic-by-topic. Posthumous hits, Beatles covers, and Christmas No 1s have all been given the treatment. Molanphy also hosts mini episodes called “The Bridge”, which feature chats with other journalists or aficionados and trivia quizzes against listeners. It’s one of several gripping podcasts produced by Slate. Also check out the science-minded Secret History of the Future (currently between seasons), which looks at how events from the past can help us predict the future.

Also On Our Radar

Brian & Roger – hilarious podcast about the misadventures of two divorcees, told entirely in voicemail messages. The Wild – an awe-inspiring podcast from conservationist Chris Morgan, who regales listeners with tales of animal encounters (including his favourite animal, the grizzly bear), and discussions on the natural world.

What To Follow

Cold War Steve

You likely never thought that Phil Mitchell-based political satire would be a thing, but it absolutely is. Cold War Steve creates politics-lampooning collages from pictures of politicians and unlikely celebrities, always with an appearance from our man Phil Mitchell. Between Brexit, Trump, and the madness of modern news, there’s more than enough inspiration.

At first it looks like amusing nonsense, but look more closely and sharp satirical genius soon comes into focus – somewhere between veteran collage artist Peter Kennard and Jim’ll Paint It. It started as a cult social media hit but has caught on in a big way – Cold War Steve even did a cover for Time magazine earlier this year.

Also On Our Radar

@Fesshole – this Twitter account of anonymous confessions will make you laugh out loud or despair for humanity (in a very entertaining way) several times a day. Spoook – a mailing list newsletter on true crime, supernatural goings-on, and other strange stuff that would otherwise pass you by.

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