September’s Cultural Roundup

September’s Cultural Roundup


Whether you’re looking for a late-summer read or an album to stick on at a BBQ, SLMan’s monthly edit of the best new books, films and music is here to see you through to autumn...

ALBUM: The Ultra Vivid Lament

The Ultra Vivid Lament is the 14th album from 90s favourites Manic Street Preachers. Musically, the band say the album is inspired by the records they listened to in their formative years (think: Abba, post-Eno Roxy, Echo & The Bunnymen, Fables-era REM, Bowie’s Lodger) though the end result is distinctively Manics. Super fans can opt for the bundle, which gets you the album on CD, cassette, LP and 12” picture disc.



TV: Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali

This forthcoming Netflix documentary about icons Malcom X and Muhammad Ali features never-before-seen archival footage. Inspired by the book Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X written by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith, the documentary examines how a chance meeting – and tragic fallout – saw the pair’s extraordinary bond crack under the weight of distrust and shifting ideals.


BIOGRAPHY: Shackleton by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to traverse the Antarctic was cut short when his ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice. What followed has become legend, and his attempt to survive is one of history’s most gripping adventures. Yet Shackleton’s critics have argued that the expedition was always doomed to fail. However, no previous biographer has experienced even a small taste of the conditions endured by Shackleton and his men. The same cannot be said of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who has been described as “our greatest living explorer”. From Shackleton’s pursuit of adventure as a young merchant seaman through to his rivalry with Captain Scott, Fiennes brings his story viscerally to life – with the author’s own near-death on the ice, 50 years after his subject’s death, providing the proof to silence Shackleton's critics.


DOCUMENTARY: Oasis Knebworth 1996 

On 10th and 11th August 1996, 250,000 music fans went to Knebworth Park to see Oasis play two era-defining shows. The concerts sold out in under a day, with over 2% of the UK population attempting to buy tickets. Featuring a setlist packed with future classics, the concerts were both the pinnacle of the band’s success and the landmark gatherings for a generation. New documentary Oasis Knebworth 1996 is the story of that weekend, told through the eyes of the organisers, the fans who were there and the band themselves. Briefly in cinemas on 23rd and 24th September, make sure to pack your bucket hats. 


NOVEL: Bewilderment by Richard Powers

The remarkable The Overstory earned Richard Powers a Pulitzer Prize. Now his latest novel has been nominated for the Booker – and it hasn’t even come out in the UK yet. Bewilderment follows Theo Byrne, a promising young astrobiologist who has found a way to search for life on other planets. He is also the widowed father of an unusual nine-year-old. Robin is funny, loving and filled with plans; he is also on the verge of being expelled for smashing his friend’s face with a thermos. What can a father do, when the only solution offered to his troubled boy is to put him on psychoactive drugs? Perhaps the answer is to take his son to other planets, while fostering the boy’s desperate crusade to help save this one.


BOOK: Nina Simone’s Gum by Warren Ellis

In 1999, Nina Simone gave a rare performance as part of Nick Cave's Meltdown Festival. After the show, in a state of awe, Cave’s bandmate Warren Ellis crept onto the stage, took Simone’s piece of chewed gum from the piano, wrapped it in her stage towel and put it in his bag. The gum stayed with him for two decades, a sacred object growing in significance with every passing year. In 2019, Cave asked Ellis to contribute it to an exhibition. Worrying the gum would be damaged or lost, Ellis had it cast in silver and gold, sparking a chain of events that no one could have predicted, and that would take him back to his childhood. This new book is the story of how something so small can form beautiful connections between people – and a celebration of artistic process, friendship and understanding.



Nicolas Cage’s unique brilliance has brought him success across almost every genre for over three decades (if you haven’t seen his turn in 2018 horror-thriller Mandy, you must). For his next trick he stars in first-time director Michael Sarnoski’s new film Pig. Cage plays Rob, a truffle hunter living alone in the Oregonian wilderness, who must return to his past in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped. Described by critics as a “masterpiece” that bears comparison to the revenge-driven John Wick franchise, this should be just the thing to entice you back to the cinema if you haven’t been yet.

Watch the trailer here

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