While this month of December has been all about getting into the Christmas spirit, we can't help but reminisce into the past as we tip into the New Year. This has clearly been expressed through what we're watching, listening and reading, whether it be Saltburn for god knows how many times this month, or listening to some MGMT, it has definitely been a month of Y2K. Whether you're looking for a new podcast or a book to enter the New Year's with, the RUSSH team shares their recommendations from December 2023, below.
Watch… I watched Lost in Translation for the first time this month and – perhaps it was the fact that I was in a particularly melancholic mood – but I fell completely in love with it. It fits into that category of films where nothing really happens, but it seems to strike a particular mood that was equal parts charming and moving. I have a deep love for the cynicism of Bill Murray, and of course a young Scarlett Johansson is enigmatic. I was researching hotels to stay at in Tokyo before the credits even started rolling.
Read… I recently discovered that Spotify has audiobooks available and hit play on Julia Fox’s self-narrated memoir Down the Drain. She’s instantly captivating and leads such an interesting life – I would highly recommend soundtracking your next commute to work with it. I’m also nearing the end of Marisa Meltzer’s Glossy, a book detailing the rise and rise of Glossier founder Emily Weiss. It’s a pretty quick and easy read, and while learning about the ins and outs of DTC beauty brands and their enigmatic founders is interesting, I’m particularly enamoured by Meltzer’s apt analysis of #girlboss culture, 2010s beauty trends and new-age feminism.
Listen… Watching Saltburn (twice now) has sent me on a 2000s indie music kick – from the likes of MGMT and Bloc Party. It’s a certain kind of nostalgia for my own life at the age of probably 10 or 12 years old, and damn I forgot how catchy those tunes really were.
Creative Studio and Campaign Manager
Watch… Broad City. I was in need of constant dopamine hits this busy December, and Ilana and Abbi’s adventures, encapsulated into 20 minute episodes, were perfect for this. I reactivated Stan just for them, and it was so worth it.
Read… My credit card numbers. All I did this month was shop for myself and for Christmas presents, and so it’s safe to say I’ve memorised the over-used bugger.
Listen… The Broski Report by Brittany Broski. Obsessed. Hanging on every word. I only listen to podcasts in the car, so driving with Ms Broski is like a long road trip with a friend; full of gossip and boys mixed in with music reviews and film in-depth analysis. Also saved Suki Waterhouse’s Moves and it’s a good song to take me between episodes.
Assistant to Editor In Chief
Watch… I watched Fleabag for the first time and it was a great script, however, I just was left hanging and flustered there wasn’t more to it. Priscilla and Poor Things are definitely on my list of movies to watch as soon as they come out.
Read… Because I was so flustered with the ending of Fleabag, I'm going to start reading the book. I have lots of questions that need answers.
Listen… I think there are a few of us in the office listening to Brittany Broski, me included of course. She is like your rogue harmless friend that is always up for a good time, while also having some of the best breakdowns and analysis on movies. Thanks to Saltburn I'm still in my 2000’s playlist so a little bit of MGMT is in the mix when I'm not listening to Broski.
Arts and Culture Editor
Watch… Priscilla. I was very lucky to get to an early screening of the film. It’s stifling, quiet, slow-paced and conjures the isolation Priscilla must have experienced in her marriage. I wouldn’t call it a damning portrait of Elvis but I appreciate how Sofia Coppola has filled in the gaps that more flattering studies have glossed over. It’s much more human! Unsurprisingly, no one does girlhood like Coppola and the costumes alone are reason to see it. I would encourage everyone to book tickets to The Australian Ballet’s production of Swan Lake too, if they can.
Read… I’ve begun reading Sara Saleh’s Songs for the Dead and the Living in an effort to encounter more Palestinian perspectives. Also on the list is The Parisian by Isabella Hammad. The Guardian published an email exchange between Hammad and Sally Rooney recently, where they discussed solidarity with Palestine, shame, and the importance of language; it's an essential read.
Listen… I have to be honest, I’ve struggled to listen to new music this year, preferring to plug into audiobooks or podcasts (2023 was the year of the audiobook). Since it’s December, I want to shout out the artists that have cut through the stalemate: Lolahol, Ethel Cain, Caroline Polachek, and PJ Harvey.
Watch… The Curse. It makes me so deeply uncomfortable yet I cannot stop watching. Eco homes, Indigenous art, reality TV and TikTok curses combine in a melting pot of Nathan Fielder strangeness with his wife, played by Emma Stone, showing some dark character development.
Read… My best friends gave me a copy of Paradoxia by Lydia Lunch at our annual early Christmas lunch. I shall be re-reading this very visceral book over the holidays, but not in front of any in-laws…
Listen…I’m late to the party on Esther Perel but I have been enjoying listening to Mating in Captivity whilst I do my end of year house cleanse. Additionally, some more Margo Guryan popped up in my music deep drives, I ought to stay away from you is perfect 60s sad girl pop.
Watch... She Said. A film released last year that I only just got around to watching, it follows the story of the two New York Times journalists who uncovered the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations. If you’ve watched Spotlight or The Post then this sits in a similar vein.
Read... Fleishman Is In Trouble. I’m about halfway through this one and the thing I’m enjoying the most is author Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s writing style. It tells the story of a newly divorced man and the transition into single life – the apps, the loneliness and everything else that comes along with that. It’s relatable, intriguing and overall a fairly easy read. Perfect for summer holidays. Google also informed me that it’s been made into a television series so let's add that to my watch list as well.
Listen... For the past week in particular I’ve been trying to get myself into a “it’s almost summer holidays, get excited” mood and therefore have been pulling out some 80s and 90s bangers. My go to at the moment is a Spotify Radio based off of CeCe Peniston’s Finally. If you’re looking for something more chill then you can’t go wrong with The Teskey Brothers.
Digital Strategy Director
Watch... I’m starting to make my way through all of the awards season films. I’ve of course seen Saltburn. I’ve also made my way through Killers of the Flower Moon, Air and Past Lives. I very much recommend Past Lives if you haven’t seen it.
Read... December has been too chaotic for me to dive into anything new. When life gets crazy, I turn to comfort reads so I have the safety of knowing what’s going to happen. I’ve retreated into childhood and picked up some of my old Emily Rodda books. They’re supremely comforting for a racing mind.
Listen... Ever since Saltburn put Sophie Ellis Bexter’s Murder on the Dancefloor in my head on repeat, I’ve made a mini Saltburn playlist on Apple Music. It includes Arcade Fire, Bloc Party and The Killers of course.
Watch... I’ve made the unhinged decision to watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills over the break. I’m currently on season two and want to blast through all of it so I can finally participate in my friendship group chats. I’d also love to watch all the films I’ve missed this year: Past Lives, Saltburn (I know, I know…) and All Of Us Strangers.
Read... Bri Lee sent me a copy of her upcoming book, The Work, and I can’t wait to dive in. She’s witty, nuanced, funny and curious all at once. I know I’m going to love it.
Listen... There’s only a few more days of Christmas carols left in me… after that I’ll be moving on to some easy summer music from my all-time favourite artists. I love Matt Corby, The Lagoons, Flight Facilities, Van Morrison and Neil Young. If you’re nursing a holiday hangover, this playlist is also hilarious but excellent.