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Opinion: Niamh Cullen

Culture Vultures: Niamh Cullen and Emily Anderson review the week in Pop Culture - 29th January 2021

So… in a time of serious and depressing news, we think it is not just important, but vital, to tune out for a brief minute and indulge in the ridiculous circus of the pop culture world which, despite the universe’s best efforts (and our pleas), simply refuses to stop rising to the occasion. Buckle up!

Adele’s magnum opus turns ten

In a new and cruel example of time’s fleeting ability, Ms. Adele Adkin’s career defining, record breaking album 21 turned ten years old this week. A CD feature in many a family car, the fabulously gut-wrenching record entranced a nation when it was released in 2011, making a blazing star out of its sweary, candid narrator. Is there a better song than ‘Set Fire to The Rain’? Realistically, no. Ten years on, Adele has another album (yes, only one more) and an SNL hosting gig on her CV. The question of when her next album will appear is the whisper on every lip, especially after the now divorced Adele threatened a drum and bass record after fans celebrated the split in the spirit of fresh music to cry to. She may be six years out of the game, but if 2015’s Diamond-certified 25 is anything to go on, her next album – whatever tone it takes - is sure to be monumental. Long live divorced Adele! (EA)

Image: Marc E. from Wikimedia Commons

RIP Glasto 2021

Alas, the news we all knew was coming but refused to believe, Glastonbury has confirmed they will not go ahead with the festival this summer. I’m sure the grass on the Somerset farm is buzzing, but for the rest of us it’s deeply disappointing. Last summer the naive hope fuelled us, thinking how we would be back to the festival season in 2021 if we braved through 2020 with nothing but BBC highlights of years passed. So, put the wellies back in storage, the glitter in the bin and the tents into the attic because where Glasto leads we can only fearfully assume more festivals will follow and cancel their promised line ups as well. Sad news, but hey - another round of watching Dolly Parton’s 2014 performance isn’t so bad. (NC)

Image: Krists Luhaers from Unsplash

Clearly, Sabrina does not have her driver’s license

In a fresh twist to the Olivia Rodrigo-High School Musical Boy-Blonde Girl drama, Disney darling Sabrina Carpenter, heavily rumoured to be “that blonde girl” from Rodrigo’s recent smash hit ‘Driver’s License’, has released some arrowed lyrics of her own. The song, entitled ‘Skin’, etches a fairly clear picture of how Carpenter feels about the whole situation, which I can only call slightly confused. She both wishes to be “friends” with her brunette counterpart, but also would like her to know that High School Musical Boy is “all on my skin”. Conflicting. Released exactly two weeks after ‘Driver’s License’, the song has brought about claims that the whole thing is concocted drama, as listeners wonder whether a recorded, produced and greenlit musical response is possible in such a short time span. Either way, the song has added some dimension to the drama, although I doubt Rodrigo, currently sitting at number one for a second consecutive week, will be too fussed. All we need now is a sweeping, apologetic ballad from High School Musical Boy – Joshua T. Bassett – to complete what has been a deliciously distracting trifecta. Maybe that can be next week’s feature. Once again, I take my hat off to teen drama. Chef’s kiss! (EA)

Categorically the worst tattoo of all time

If you have not stared into the tattooed eyes of Nicola Peltz on the back of Brooklyn Beckham’s neck then all I can say is lucky you. For those of us that have seen this tribute to her, there’s an update. Below these eyes (which with the combination of Brooklyn’s hair above makes it all look an awful lot like a Princess Diana tribute (we truly are living through a Dianaissance)), there is an inked letter written by Nicola to Brooklyn calling him her “forever boy”. I also liked how she said “I think you are so incredible” which is a fair statement because she is clearly outlining how SHE thinks this, no-one else necessarily shares this opinion and she doesn’t try to claim otherwise. The end part really feels like vague mental health support on Instagram stories where people on World Mental Health Day say vague recycled lines like “be kind”, without really offering anything constructive or of substance. Nicola tells him to “breathe slow and trust” … trust what exactly? Nicola please WHO OR WHAT ARE WE MEANT TO TRUST? Also, there is taste in referencing 'Breathe Slow’, the iconic single by Alesha Dixon. Here’s hoping this is Nicola’s attempt to put some respect on that iconic song’s name, because it is well deserved. We infer this note is something he really treasures, so much so that he had it tattooed on the back of his neck where he physically cannot read nor ever actually see it unless he is a secret expert contortionist. Well, this is me signing off for the week, lots of love, “Your future wifey” x (NC)

So, another (admittedly slow) week of culture, come and gone. Here’s to another week of spice and intrigue. Until next time!