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Vol. 23 - The Best Show On TV

as well as my recent london favourites and battling imposter syndrome


Happy Sunday, everybody! Are we excited for sticker drop 2 today? As paid subscribers, you will be receiving your link at 5 pm today, so keep an eye on your emails. We have also added a new Rhubarb sticker that hasn’t been launched before! I can also tell you that we have keyrings and hats in the works, and we hope we can introduce those to you sooner rather than later (this whole process has certainly been a test of my patience). As I’m writing this intro, I am plonked on the sofa after not leaving the house for nearly 36 hours as I was struck by some mysterious illness after coming home from running my errands the day before. I have Sens8 on in the background after not having properly watched it for years, and I am tentatively sipping every broth, tea, and juice I can get my hands on. I initially wanted to record this week’s ‘Phone Booth’ segment today, but due to how incoherent I am, I thought it would be best to save us all the pain of having to listen to it. Instead, I took to Instagram to ask you which topics you’d like me to write about, and the overwhelming response was very London-centric. You all want to know the best places to go, things to do, how to find the best area to live, tips for anyone looking to move here…the list goes on. Luckily, I had already started compiling a new list of things to do and places I’ve recently enjoyed in London, so let’s start there.


 

London Lately



It feels like I haven’t done a roundup of things and places I’ve been enjoying in London for a while, and luckily I have a backlog to share with you all. From stuffed dogs and couture to the best-whipped feta, I hope there’s something here for everyone. I am also including some firm favourites I’ve mentioned before, as I am still often asked about the best place for X, Y and Z almost daily, and I’d hate for you guys to miss out.


 

Portraits of Dogs, The Wallace Collection - Visiting this exhibition was a last-minute decision on Easter Sunday. What better way to decompress before cooking and hosting for eight people? There are several rooms filled with portraits, paintings, sculptures and taxidermy celebrating dogs across all centuries and countries. It’s a fairly small exhibition, so tie it into an afternoon with lunch and a stroll around the rest of The Wallace Collection.


Crown to Couture, Kensington Palace - I was invited to this exhibit for work (the video will be on Tiktok tomorrow!), and I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. Firstly, this exhibition is huge. You are taken from room to room across the palace, each grander than the last. You could easily spend a few hours marvelling at all the fabulous Couture. I saw everything from Blake Lively’s infamous Met gala dress the year she co-hosted to Katy Perry’s chandelier outfit. They do a fantastic job of weaving the old with the new.


Fyome, Marylebone - First up, this is dog friendly (hurray!). Henry and I stumbled on this a week after it opened and decided to give it a go for breakfast one day. It’s a Greek cafe/restaurant that does delicious bites and pastries. I had whipped feta on sourdough with parma ham and English pears, and it was fantastic. The service is also wonderful, and the staff are very attentive—the perfect spot for coffee and brunch.


The Pelican, Notting Hill - I’m including this one again as it’s still one of my favourite places to eat in London. I love that it’s unfussy and laidback, but the quality of the food is unmatched. Everything is locally sourced and delicious, and I’ve never had a bad experience. Oh, and it’s also dog friendly.


Cocoro - You’ll see a running theme here with the restaurants I include being dog friendly, but it’s a very important factor when it comes to something worth recommending. Cocoro is one of our favourites for authentic and well-priced Japanese food. The menu is vast, and they cover everything from Ramen and Hotpot to Sushi and Udon.


C&R Cafe - This is tucked down a side alley in Chinatown, and there are two restaurants opposite each other (one side is dog friendly, the other is not), but the food is all the same, and that’s what matters. The laksa and the roti are to die for. The portions are generous, the prices are reasonable, and afterwards, you can walk it off around Chinatown.


Brunswick House, Vauxhall - I went here for a Trudon event, and the food blew me away. Brunswick House is a well-loved Georgian mansion stuffed with antiques (where everything you see is tagged as it’s all available to purchase), and it is also, amazingly, dog friendly. They have plenty of rare wines and a vast menu, and I’ve heard that the Sunday roast is incredible.


Blank Street Coffee - I’m embarrassed to admit that this has become a regular Deliveroo habit. I used to go here for a drink every time I walked to my nail salon as it was on the way, but then I started needing my fix even more regularly to the point where I was ordering from there nearly every day. I loooove their iced matcha with a shot of vanilla syrup. I don’t know what they make it with, but it’s easily the best matcha I’ve had.


Franks Bar, St James’s - This bar is on the lower ground floor of Maison Francois (another dog-friendly favourite) and is the perfect spot for some late-night drinks and oysters. It’s moody and cosy, and the cocktails are fantastic.


La Prairie, Fenwicks - Still one of my favourite facials for lifting, sculpting and glowing and a much cheaper alternative to buying any of the La Prairie products. There’s a big focus on facial massage, and they use a whole range of products to firm and plump and all of the other things you would want to be done to your face.


House of Elemis - The Elemis townhouse does a wide range of treatments, and they are particularly great at more targeted skincare treatments. I recently had their resurfacing facial to target the persistent breakouts around my jaw, that also incorporated a scalp, shoulder and hand massage. They even give you a glass of champagne after your treatment.


Masaj - A recent favourite of mine that I am dying to go back to once my schedule allows. I would say this place is more bodywork than massage, and it takes a much more holistic approach to the body. I met Paulina here, who has become my go-to for any treatment. She is wonderfully insightful and kind and fantastic at what she does.


 

Film Club



Unsurprisingly, I watch a lot of film and tv. Film has always had more of an impact on me, leading me to feel indifferent towards most TV shows. Bar The OA (and more recently Succession), I tend to watch most series and place them on a sliding scale from ‘that was great, I’ll recommend that at some point whilst making small talk with someone’ to ‘that was dogshit, how am I gonna get that time back?’. I usually find myself longing for something a little more than most shows have to offer. When am I going to be moved to my core? Why haven’t these characters reduced me to tears?? Why don’t I want to listen to the soundtrack obsessively??? Wait, I haven’t felt the need to dissect the dialogue, the mise-en-scene and the choice of camera angles??? And then, in swoops A24 with a surprising collaboration with Netflix to serve us all with ‘Beef’. I’d seen the trailers and thought, ‘Oh, that looks like a fun little revenge comedy - Steven and Ali? What a hoot! Maybe I’ll watch that in a few weeks when I’m bored’. As I do with most things, I took to Letterboxd to see what everyone was saying about it. I saw the 4.5-star rating (anything 4 and above on that damn website is basically a standing ovation) and then saw a handful of the most popular reviews, and I knew I needed to clear my calendar and watch episode 1 immediately. I’m SO glad I did because this is the best TV show I have seen in forever (bar Succession and The OA, obvs).





I wasn’t prepared for the journey this show would take. Firstly, it’s a predominately Asian cast (something that I will always champion), but Beef doesn’t do this as a means to tick boxes and perpetuate stereotypes. Everyone in this show is awful. They have so many unlikeable qualities, and they are deeply flawed people, but they are nuanced, fully-formed characters and not just there to fulfil a stereotype. In an interview with Ali Wong, she mentioned that the cast being predominately Asian meant that they could avoid the classic trope of referring to a character as ‘The Asian one’, as is the case with many films. Steven Yeun plays a depressed, failing contractor who gets into a road rage incident in a carpark with Ali Wong’s character. She plays a successful entrepreneur with a nice house, rich husband, adorable daughter…you get the picture. These two characters have nothing in common but still somehow feel safe exposing the deepest, darkest parts of their character to one another.After Ali flips Steven off, Steven decides to find out exactly who she is and exact his revenge. As you see this start to play out in episodes 1 and 2, you’d be right in thinking, ‘Oh, what a silly little revenge comedy; this will be lighthearted, slapstick fun in traditional Netflix style’. WRONG. Firstly, it’s A24, and if you have ever watched anything A24, you’ll know to expect something out of the ordinary (take Everything, Everywhere All at Once, Midsommar, and After Yang, for example). This show will make you unsure whether you want to laugh or cry. It shows the ugliest sides of being human and approaches it with patience and understanding. Every single cast member gives a hell of a performance, and Steven reduced me to tears more times than I would care to admit. God, that man is so annoyingly talented. I don’t normally like Ali Wong from a stand-up perspective, but she was also fantastic in this. I think a sign of good writing is being able to write entirely unlikeable characters that still have an emotional impact on the audience, and that’s part of the reason why Beef is so brilliant (similarly with Succession too). If you want to be delighted, devastated and experience an existential crisis all in ten short episodes, please suspend all judgements that you may have had about Beef and give it a chance. If you have already seen it, can we PLEASE discuss a theory about the last episode?


 


BEEF SPOILERS - KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING

I polled this theory on Instagram, and the split was pretty much 50/50, but I have a theory that Amy and Danny die overnight when they take those poisonous berries, and when we see them finally leave to find help, that’s actually them crossing over to the other side. Why, I hear you ask? Well;

  • They both have flashbacks/flashforwards in the run-up to the last episode of the ground between them, where they eventually ‘die’. These scenes make no sense until you see the final scene, but it is very much alluding to a final resting place or things being buried, and it’s a location they both see in dreams and daydreams.

  • As they leave together, they walk through a narrow tunnel towards the light. This seems extremely symbolic and totally out of place from the location they were in.

  • They both seem to receive ‘closure’ or a last dying wish once they decide to leave and find help. Danny gets a text from Paul, confirming that he is actually alive. George comes to save Amy after not checking to see if she was safe in the aftermath of what happened at Jordan’s house. They both get the things that were troubling them the most before this whole debacle took place.

  • In episode one, Amy tells her daughter June that whenever she has a bad dream, she thinks of a happy time. She describes the day that June was born and how it was just the two of them in the hospital bed, with no one around and the city in silence - ‘No meetings, no emails, no pretending’. Amy then says that she wishes she could have stayed there forever. This seems to parallel the very last scene, where she lays in the hospital bed with Danny, just the two of them, with no one around. We see time passing through the window, and we are unsure as to how long they’ve been there together (hours, days, weeks??). Both of these scenes feel very ‘circle of life’ with the births and ‘deaths’ happening in the hospital bed in the first and last episodes of the series.


 

The Club Corner

a weekly feature in which I take recurring topics and questions from my DM’s and try my best to answer them - on today’s menu, we have;


‘How do you deal with Imposter Syndrome?’


Firstly, thank you for your many suggestions as to what I should write about in this newsletter, and I have banked all of your fabulous ideas for future issues. The reason I chose this one, however, is because I had a bit of a strange moment last week that I think ties into this question quite well. Please bear with me whilst I get to the point here.


 

I love to use polls and question boxes on my Instagram stories, and I often swipe up to see the results of whatever strange questions I’ve asked you guys. However, last week when I did so, it gave me pause. I saw the name of someone I’d known for many years (we grew up together, went to school together etc.) at the top of my story who I knew didn’t follow me. I went through all of my 15-odd stories that day to see that they’d viewed every single one. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, right? Who cares if someone you haven’t seen or spoken to for years is lurking on your Instagram profile? At my last count, it had been over a decade since I had even seen this person, so why the fuck did it matter? Well, immediately, my brain jumped to the conclusion that something I’d posted had gone into a group chat filled with people who knew me once upon a time. I have no doubt that when I first started popping up on people’s FYPs that, many a video of mine was circulated amongst said group chats. Not to say that the commentary was necessarily bad, but at some point, I’m sure some judgement was passed. When I first started on social media, I had an irrational fear that people from school or that people who knew me in real life would see it and laugh at me, despite not talking to them for many years. Why is it that my brain immediately jumped to that conclusion? Why was I so concerned about being perceived by people I no longer knew? I knew that I genuinely didn’t care and that my rational mind was telling me that their opinion had no effect on what I was doing (which is just a cold, hard fact). However, I think a key component of these feelings came down to imposter syndrome. I’ve felt this in all stages of my life. I thought I didn’t deserve to have the things I had or be in the positions I was in. I assumed everybody was either mocking or judging me because they knew I somehow didn’t make the cut and that I would one day be exposed as a useless, incompetent failure. In this instance, my immediate reaction was to assume that I was being laughed at or judged for not being good enough because of what I do, even though this wasn’t a thought that permeated my daily life. This feeling reached an all-time high when I worked in Finance, which surprises me as I assumed it would be at its worse now. I genuinely believe that anyone who is remotely self-aware suffers from a bit of imposter syndrome. It’s human to have self-doubt, and no one is going to be as hard on you as, well, you. It can be easy for something small to set off this train of thought (for example, a rogue Instagram story viewer) or something far more robust, such as a DM I once received telling me that it didn’t seem fair that I was being given the opportunities I’m being given because I ‘didn’t really do much’. No matter how or where your Imposter Syndrome triggers are coming from, I’m going to share something that helped me work through it, and, ironically, it was something I learned during my Finance days. I like to call it ‘MWM Syndrome’, aka ‘Mediocre, White Man Syndrome’. For years I witnessed MWM Syndrome play out in different variations. I saw female managers who were 10x more intelligent and more capable than the men above them be talked down to and berated by MWM, who managed to always be so confidently wrong in what they were spewing. I realised that a lot of these men hadn’t particularly earned their positions through skill and knowledge but more a combination of arrogance, relationships, and blind confidence that no one seemed to question. I often witnessed these men in senior positions not knowing the basics of the job they were in, and again, happy to be so confidently wrong that it baffled me. It seemed as though they never assumed they were anything but brilliant because no one had told them otherwise. They’d never had a reason to doubt themselves. They saw everything they had achieved and felt it was deserved. Whether that was true or not didn’t matter; it’s what they believed. I decided to draw inspiration from the MWM's lack of self-awareness whenever I have a faltering moment of self-doubt. It reminds me that I am as deserving and capable as anyone else, and whether that’s actually true or not doesn’t matter. It has to be something that I choose to believe. A little bit of MWM delusion is key.


 

Watch, Read, Listen



  • Whilst recently talking about shows that Netflix has done dirty, I’m now encouraging all of you to watch The OA and Sens8. I’m currently rewatching the latter for the first time in years, as I never actually finished it the first time around. The paranoid side of me believes shows like these are cancelled for reasons bigger than budgets and viewer interest.

  • Watch everybody’s favourite TV man-child (aka Kieran Culkin) on Hot Ones.

  • An article by The Cut on ‘Quiet Luxury’ and how it’s just a freshly rebranded form of elitism, tied up in a bow by The Row. This is the perfect follow on from this brilliant post by BryanBoy on the subject.

  • If you are still looking for some things to do in London this month, check out these recommendations from Time Out London.


 


And that’s all from the twenty-third issue of The Rhubarb Society! If there’s anything you’re keen for me to discuss, or if you have a podcast topic you’d like me to talk about, please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below, via email or in my DMs. If there’s anyone you think would be an excellent fit for The Rhubarb Society, please do extend the invitation below.


Love,

Tamsin and Rhubarb

xoxo

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