THE WORD: Saudade
If you’re into Brazilian music or Portuguese fado, you’ve probably seen the word show up in the titles of various songs on your playlists: saudade. Poignant and wistful, this Portuguese word describes a nostalgic state, or a melancholic longing for something or someone. In a world that’s so doggedly focused on looking ahead and staying positive, it’s refreshing to find a word that celebrates a vague longing or yearning, a word that’s happy and sad at the same time.
Perfect If: You’re looking for a way to describe that inevitable end-of-summer sadness, as well as the yearning to get back to normal after this endless pandemic saga…
THE SHOW: Come From Away
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” A wise woman, Fred Rogers’ mother. Tony and Olivier award-winning musical Come From Away is the story of such helpers, based on real-life accounts of a tiny Newfoundland town that suddenly found itself host to 7,000 stranded airline passengers when planes were grounded on the morning of September 11, 2001. The tight-knit community of Gander overwhelmed the ‘plane people’ with hospitality, welcoming them with open arms, open doors and more casseroles than anyone could count – and forming an island of light on a dark and devastating day. Filmed live on Broadway, the production will be streaming globally via Apple TV+ on 10 September.
Perfect If: You need a break from the headlines, and a reminder that even in the midst of tragedy, there are always helpers.
THE FILM: Dear Evan Hansen
Reprising his performance in a title role he himself helped create, Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winner Ben Platt aims to outdo himself yet again, committing to the silver screen this Broadway musical success. Platt plays the eponymous Evan Hansen, a withdrawn, introspective high school student whose therapeutic habit of writing letters to himself sets him up for a bumpy yet essential journey to find his own place in the world. Directed by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), written for the screen by Tony winner Steven Levenson, and featuring music and lyrics by songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), this film’s got the makings of a landmark coming-of-age story for the social media era.
Perfect If: You’re a sucker for a solid tear-jerker, a good musical number, and Ben Platt – this movie’s got all three.
THE TREND: Indigo
Inspired by major fashion catwalks such as Balenciaga, Ferragamo, Loewe and Dior, the dawn of the autumn season calls for a deep, rich tone: indigo. This colour, falling on the colour wheel between royal blue and violet, can be worn as a monochromatic, head-to-toe look for classic elegance, but is also great for combining with a pop of red, orange or bright pink for a bolder effect. What’s more, indigo is said to promote concentration, creativity and natural intuition, as well as a feeling of serenity and stability. Perfect timing, if you ask us.
Perfect If: You want to banish the late summer blues with a more optimistic – and autumn-appropriate – shade of blue.
THE ALBUM: ‘Dawn’ by Yebba
Dawn, the long-awaited debut album of Yebba, is coming out 10 September. The American singer-songwriter released her first single in 2017, promptly winning a Grammy and going on to collaborate with the likes of PJ Morton, Stormzy, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. However, Yebba doesn’t really need anyone’s seal of approval. Just listen to her songs: her ridiculous vocal control and raw lyrics leave no one indifferent. In the past few months, Yebba has released several singles that have primed us for more – such as the track “Louie Bag”, featuring Smino, in which she talks about refusing to conform to industry norms while dealing with losing her mother to suicide. “It’s for any label that tried to sign me – for all those men talking to me like that,” she has said..
Perfect If: You can’t get enough of that amazing voice.
THE BOOK: Beautiful Country
In her debut book Beautiful Country, Qian Julie Wang takes the perspective of a child living in poverty in one of the richest places on earth. When Wang was seven years old, her family moved from China to ‘Mei Guo’, or “beautiful country”: the United States of America, where they lived as undocumented immigrants for many years. In China, her parents were academic professors, but in New York’s Chinatown, they toil in sweatshops. Pursuing the American dream puts excessive strain on their marriage and health, while young Wang seeks refuge in books and relishes small pleasures, such as seeing the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center.
Perfect If: You want to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges refugees and asylum seekers face when they seek a better future for their children.
THE EVENT: Film Festivals
Can you believe the year is more than halfway over, and we’re already heading into the autumn film festival season? Well it is, and we are. From Venice’s 78th Biennale to Bali’s Balinale, from an annual international film festival in the Big Apple to the 9th edition (and first online iteration) of the Helsinki International Film Festival – brace yourself for an exciting September. Each event promises an incredible array of cinematic gems, as filmmakers across the globe train their cameras on themes as wide-ranging as love, betrayal, grief, hope and anarchy. Expect new and experimental feature films along with restored classics, virtual retrospectives, online screenings and even programmes dedicated to celebrating the films that were selected – but not presented – in 2020 due to events being cancelled.
Perfect If: You look forward to guessing whose directors’ shelves will showcase which glittering statuette.
THE LOCKDOWN PROJECT: ‘Local Valley’ by José González
José González is back: after six years, the Swedish acoustic singer-songwriter is releasing his fourth solo studio album. The impetus for his creative reawakening appears to have been the 2020 lockdown, which the indie folk artist spent surrounded – and inspired – by the idyllic beauty of the Swedish countryside. The album features songs written in Swedish, English and Spanish, from the pensive “El Invento” to the peppy “Swing”, in a collection that González considers his “most accomplished songs to date”.
Perfect If: You wish you, too, could have spent lockdown enjoying a burst of creative energy in the Swedish countryside, but you’ll settle for living vicariously through González.
THE CAUSE: Recycle Week
We all know about it, and we all want to help, but stemming the advance of climate change is no simple task. For 18 years, the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme has hosted a national week in which they partner with huge brands to increase awareness among consumers about the urgency to reduce waste, recycle and live more sustainably. This year, from 20 to 26 September, you can take part, too – right from home. From reusing your morning coffee cup to switching your paper subscriptions to digital, using recycled bags, carrying your groceries or turning a glass bottle into a vase, there are hundreds of ways to cut down on waste and minimise your carbon footprint – and hopefully make these habits part of your life, Recycle Week or not.
Perfect If: As most of us do, you enjoy consuming, but hate the waste.