There’s a pretty good chance you don’t need me to tell you that The Crown’s final season is upon us, with the first four episodes dropping last week. How did the Royal Family drama handle Princess Diana’s final days?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Reviewers, across the board, didn’t love it — you can find our review wrap-up here, but The Guardian was the most brutal. Their reviewer broke out the rare one-star review and called the season “the very definition of bad writing”, especially the scenes where ‘Ghost Diana’ returns. Ouch.
Social media is much more positive, as people take the show for what it’s become — a soapy, scandalous take on history — and enjoy the recreations of iconic moments, including of Diana’s amazing wardrobe. And one thing everyone can agree on? Melbourne’s own Elizabeth Debicki excels in Diana’s final moments.
But if you’re all Royal-ed out, we’ve got you covered: from rap legends becoming flautists to your TikTok crush taking centre-stage, find the week’s entertainment news below.
André 3000’s back — and now, he plays flute
Best known as one half of hugely influential Atlanta duo Outkast, André 3000 is regarded as one of the greatest rappers of his generation. But you won’t hear any of his showstopping rhymes on New Blue Sun — the 48-year-old’s new solo album and first full project in 17 years.
Instead, he’s delivered a meditative set of jazz-leaning instrumentals orbiting around his woodwind and flute playing, boasting lengthy song titles like ‘I swear, I Really Wanted To Make A “Rap” Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time’. (And that’s the least bizarre example.)
It’s one of 2023’s most surprising releases, but also one of its most soothing. Who’d a thunk the brains behind ‘Hey Ya!’ was capable of such cosmic ambiance?
— Al Newstead
Rogue Trader comes out
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Former Neighbours star, Rogue Traders frontwoman and Alive singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte has opened up about her new relationship.
In an interview with Stellar magazine and their podcast Something To Talk About, the performer spoke for the first time about her recent split from her Rogue Traders bandmate and husband of 12 years, Cameron McGlinchey.
While she continues to co-parent her two children with her ex, the 48-year-old also revealed she’s in a new relationship with a woman.
While Nat says she was “terrified” about sharing her “beautiful” same-sex relationship with the world, and hasn’t yet publicly identified her partner, she’s found someone “who makes my heart smile and makes me happy”.
Sounds like she’s seeing ‘One Thousand Stars’! Perhaps she’s even breathing one thousand breaths, hearing one thousand voices singing and feeling one thousand heartbeats, too?
— Rachel Rasker
TikTok’s favourite hunky stand-up has a Netflix special
Even if you don’t know Matt Rife’s name, you’ll likely recognise his cheekbones … and abs. The 28-year-old American stand-up has made a name for himself by posting videos of his crowd work to TikTok, racking up more than 17 million followers for his quick wit. And yes, lets be honest, his good looks have a lot to do with it, too.
Now, we can see him outside of short videos, as his first Netflix special, Natural Selection, dropped this Friday — perfect for those who missed tickets to his sold-out Australian tour this January.
His hour-long set has no audience interaction at all. Instead, he sticks to written material, covering everything risqué from new-age healing, social media trolls, cancel culture and plenty of dick jokes.
While some critics aren’t sold — Vulture called it “uninspiring and entirely underwhelming” — it’s immediately jumped up Netflix’s trending charts, second only to The Crown. Sure, some of the viewers are probably just staring at his biceps, but a stream’s a stream.
— Jared Richards
The world loses a literary superstar
Acclaimed UK author AS Byatt has died in London at 87.
Byatt won the Booker Prize in 1990 for her fifth novel, Possession: A Romance, described by the New York Times as a “literary blockbuster”. Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart starred in the 2002 screen adaptation of the novel.
Byatt was born Antonia Susan Drabble in Sheffield in 1936. She published 11 novels and six short story collections in her writing career. She was also known for her literary criticism — particularly of the work of her idol, mentor and friend, Iris Murdoch.
Byatt — appointed CBE in 1990 and made a dame in 1999 — was renowned for her intellect and erudition.
Appearing on ABC RN’s The Book Show in 2009 to discuss her novel The Children’s Book, she said: “The more research you do, the more at ease you are in the world you’re writing about. It doesn’t encumber you; it makes you free.”
— Nicola Heath
Emerging Blak artist makes Paris debut
Dylan Mooney is a legally blind Mackay-born artist is known for his vivid comic-book-inspired digital illustrations, depicting queer and First Nations identities and experiences of love.
His first-ever retrospective, featuring more than 25 of his signature illustrative portraits, has just opened in Paris, with support from the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).
A Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander man, Mooney won this year’s Brisbane Portrait Prize, worth $50,000, for his portrait Still Thriving, which combines digital illustration with Yuwi ochre and ink. If you’re in Sydney, you may have seen the Olympic pool-sized mural of the same work painted on the Top of the Town building, which was unveiled as part of World Pride.
The director of the NGV Tony Ellwood, described Mooney as “one of the most compelling emerging voices in Australian contemporary art”.
Blak Rainbow: The Art of Dylan Mooney is at the Australian Embassy Gallery, Paris until May 24, 2024.
— Anna Freeland
The Matildas win Word of the Year Cup
After making an entire nation obsessed with them at the Women’s World Cup, our beloved Tillies have taken out the coveted Word of the Year, too.
The Strawberry-Kisses loving superstars have taken over from 2022’s word of the year, “teal”, (think: election; teal wave).
I can only assume they celebrated with Australia’s unofficial national anthem (Nikki Webster version).
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— Rachel Rasker
Australian mega-church drama Prosper drops a trailer
Rebecca Gibney and Richard Roxburgh make one powerful husband-and-wife duo in the trailer for Prosper: a new Stan drama about a fictional Australian evangelical church called U Star.
In the series, the actors play Cal and Abi Quinn, leaders of the Sydney megachurch, as it looks to expand into the US.
The drama follows the family’s internal power struggles — promising tears, fires and conniving Christian pop stars. Consider us intrigued.
The series arrives on January 18.
— Jared Richards