{{ 'Go back' | translate}}
Njus logo

Motorsports news | Njus New Zeeland


Motorsports The Informant

Mok Zhan Lun seldom makes the headlines, but the soft-spoken trainer was for once basking
'River Radiance (Michael Rodd) scoots clear to an easy first win on Friday night. Mok Zhan Lun seldom makes the headlines, but the soft-spoken trainer was for once basking in the limelight on Friday night after he brought up his 200th winner with New Zealand-bred gelding River Radiance. A former Singapore Training Academy for Racing (STAR) graduate, Mok saddled his first winner Famous Than You on March 26, 2010. While it’s been a long and sometimes grueling journey to reach that milestone, the Singaporean handler was delighted it was behind him and he could now aim for other targets. “I hope I can achieve more after tonight,” said the former Foreign Exchange banker. “I gave this horse a pretty good chance. It all depended on luck. “He had the best jockey (Michael Rodd) on him. Michael told me after his trial that he was pretty confident the horse was in a good shape. “Tonight, I left it to Michael to ride him the way he wanted. There is no definite position he has to be in.” Mok was given a champagne bottle of Moet by Association of Racehorse Trainers Singapore (ARTS) operations manager Debbie Hawkins for his well-earned achievement. A three-year-old by Rip Van Winkle who was sold as yearling through Seaton Park’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock draft, River Radiance ran an eye-catching second to Surpass Natural on debut in a Restricted Maiden race over 1000m. In a change of tactics, Rodd took him straight to the head of affairs from Golden Kid (John Sundradas) and Gamely (Joseph Azzopardi) in the S$75,000 Lim’s Racer 2016 Stakes, a Restricted Maiden-1 race over 1100m. Always travelling on the bit, River Radiance never gave his connections any anxious moments from that point onwards, even if Gamely did issue a decent challenge inside the last furlong, but that elusive maiden win for the Donna Logan-trained three-year-old will again have to wait another day. The Macau-owned River Radiance never showed any signs of letting up as he strolled in by three lengths from Gamely (his 10th placing from 16 starts) with Golden Kid third another 1 ½ lengths away. The winning time was 1min 4.8secs for the 1100m on the Polytrack. Rodd, who was at the third pin of an early treble after saluting earlier aboard Bluestone and Boy Next Door, said he could not be too cocky about his winning chances on Friday night even if he knew he had a good book of rides. “I couldn’t be too confident. Bluestone is only a two-year-old and was at his first run and Boy Next Door won by staying on the inside when he usually comes around horses,” said the in-form Australian jockey. “River Radiance was probably my best chance. I went forward just to keep him out of trouble. “He’s a nice horse, even if he can be a bit unsound, but he won a nice race tonight.” In two starts, River Radiance has already picked up prize cheques worth around S$55,000 for Mr Ho Pui Kim. -STC'

‘It was a bit nuts, mindblowing’: Benee on touring the world and stuffing up

Motorsports The Spinoff

Matthew McAuley sits down with New Zealand’s latest next-big-thing to talk about following up the monster hit ‘Soaked’, her approach to collaboration, and exactly how you go about building a ‘Beneevision’.Although her catalog is still barely more
'Matthew McAuley sits down with New Zealand’s latest next-big-thing to talk about following up the monster hit ‘Soaked’, her approach to collaboration, and exactly how you go about building a ‘Beneevision’. Although her catalog is still barely more than a handful of tracks deep, Auckland-raised proto-popstar Benee seems determined not to waste time. Seeking to capitalise on last year’s monster streaming hit ‘Soaked’ (this week announced as a long-list finalist for the 2019 Silver Scroll awards), June saw her play shows in a handful of Northern Hemisphere destinations. Along with dates in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and New York, she also paid a visit to Spotify’s Stockholm headquarters and shared the stage with fellow Aucklanders Miss June at star-making Los Angeles showcase School Night. Returning to New Zealand didn’t slow things down either – in the same week that she arrived back in the country, the artist born Stella Bennett released her debut EP Fire On Marzz and played only her second ever headline show in her hometown. But where her sold-out mid-2018 debut at low-hundreds-capacity uptown club Neck of the Woods could still be somewhat reasonably described as “intimate”, her second effort – another sellout, but this time at Eden Terrace’s genuinely iconic Powerstation – was anything but.  Listening to that record, her steep ascension from underground buzz act to the cusp of genuine pop stardom becomes eminently understandable. Produced and co-written by local studio vets Josh Fountain and Djeisan Suskov, i ts established hits and festival-ready skronk-pop anthems come as expected, but the real surprise is in its emotional and tonal range, Benee herself presenting as an artist both surprisingly well-rounded and almost shockingly self-assured. ‘ Glitter’ is the kind of happy downer that’s destined to soundtrack pre-dawn comedowns worldwide, ‘Wishful Thinking’ sounds like The Internet playing a Paramore song (or vice versa), and closing ballad ‘Want Me Back’, maybe the best of the lot, is a genuinely stunning gut-punch, an icey and understated bookend to a set of songs whose sonic palettes generally skew significantly more summery. A few days after the EP’s release and her emphatic return home, on a typically dire mid-winter Auckland afternoon, The Spinoff met with Bennett at Universal Music’s airy uptown office. Possibly still coming down from the high of the previous Friday night, or maybe just hyped up from an apparently fruitful morning spent digging through Real Groovy’s record bins, she was relaxed and openly excited by the previous month’s events, and unguardedly optimistic about what’s to come next. The Spinoff: So you’ve just come back from the Northern Hemisphere, released the EP, and played a sold out show at the Powerstation. Is this just a stopover before you get back out into the world? Benee: I’m going back to LA with Josh Fountain in August. We’re going over there to work with a bunch of producers and people, and make some more music, so yeah I guess this is kind of like a little stop-off. Because after that I’ll be back here, but then straight into festival season with Aussie and the Kiwi summer.  You played School Night when you were in LA, right? How was that? That was pretty fricken fun. The cool thing about it was that all the bands were so different, and like even just me playing at the same gig as Miss June, I was like, “Fuck yeah.” The crowd surprisingly loved, like, everything I think. Was that sort of the buzz of your tour? Like were they all those kind of shows? Yeah, I had a few almost showcase-y things, a couple of little headline ones, and some which only I played. They were, like, a lot smaller, with a lot less people, but they were still really cool. And obviously those were your first Northern Hemisphere shows, did that feel like the culmination of something for you? It was a bit nuts, kind of mindblowing. Some of them were nights that were always going to be people there, but a couple of them – the one I did in New York at Mercury Lounge, that was just for Benee, so it was crazy that people actually came. I was just like, “What are you doing here?!” But yeah, it was pretty crazy. You’ve had a lot of traction online and on streaming platforms; is it weird going out into the world and seeing if that translates, if people are going to come out to the shows and know the songs? The whole streaming thing is so nuts. You can go on Spotify for Artists, and you can see what countries; what percentage of people are listening to your music from where. It’s pretty nuts being able to look at that, and then being able to go and play a show in the States like, “OK, these are the people.”  Did that impact on the way that you planned the tour? Was it based on places where you knew that you had a bit of profile? Yeah, I think so. And they’re even like, some of the places we did, like Stockholm, that’s kind of like the Spotify hub, so I guess it was also targeting areas where they’re kind of looking, where they’ll know that you’re out there. After the success you had with your early singles, did it feel like there was extra pressure on the EP? Were you at all worried that you’d get these songs out and people wouldn’t react to them in the same way that they had those earlier songs? I feel like with ‘Soaked’, which is obviously the one that’s had the most … it’s kind of like, you’re going to compare that success to whatever this gets. But I feel like for me just having it out there, I’m so happy with it, that wasn’t really what I was thinking. Like, it’ll be cool if other people like these as well, but I like them, so just having them out there for people that want to listen to them and like them is what I’m about. So that working relationship, with Josh and Djeisan, is that how you see BENEE going forward? I think like, the whole thing of me going to the States and bringing Josh with me, it’s because we have this good little system going where he gets my sound, and not having ever worked with anyone else, I felt like it would maybe not be the best idea for me to just go in and work with a bunch of random producers in the States. Without someone who really gets my vibe, if you know what I mean? And there’s also, like, this extra layer of confidence with him. I can’t actually imagine what it’d be like going in to work with someone who doesn’t know you at all, or what you’re about. I feel like that can kind of twist the sound a lot. Were you writing songs before you met Josh? I was, but I’ve never really been good at Garageband, and I was using Garageband. I’d always kind of liked to make songs, and I thought I could make a simple beat, but getting into the studio with him taught me the proper craft. I was lacking a few skills, but I have a couple things – I have an unreleased song where I did make the beat, and a bunch of little sample loops, and I kind of semi-produced it, then I brought that into the studio and he turned it into this crazy song. So do you feel like you can go to Josh with a vision and have him work as the kind of conduit to actually make it? Yeah totally, that’s the kind of collaborative process that we have, we’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other. It starts with me going into the studio and playing him a bunch of stuff that I’ve been into – like with ‘Tough Guy’, for example, I was listening to a shit-ton of The Internet and Steve Lacy, but then I also heard ‘Wild Thoughts’ by Rihanna on the radio, and the guitar [sings riff] – I brought that in and I played it to Josh and he was like, “Ohhh yeah.” So yeah, me going in there and playing him stuff, and him bringing up a bunch of weird little sounds and making this beat, and then me just writing away, writing melodies, then just bouncing off each other, and then: song. I’ve also seen a bunch of references to ‘The Beneevision’, and this idea that it’s not just the music; that everything that comes out of the Benee project is a part of this artistic ecosystem. Is that something you’ve mapped out, or is it finding shape as you go? I think going into it, like when I first came into the music scene, I always kind of knew that I didn’t want it to be just about the music, because I love physical art so much. And I use, when I talk about the “Beneevision”, I always say it’s like a Jackson Pollock painting, like different materials and stuff just kind of, like, splashed onto a canvas. I think with me being a new artist, who doesn’t have that much out there, it’s kind of like this fresh canvas for people to look at; I want them to have the music, but I want them to have cool art to go with that. And that’s like, probably through more collaborations with artists. Like, even for the EP art, oof, Ricardo Cavalo . That was, like, a dream, and then it happened. And I did a merch collab with Shelley Botticelli – she’s pretty cool, she made this cute little cartoon and we sold like 20 T-shirts at the Powerstation. But I think just, like, making as much [non-music] stuff as possible.  Am I right that the ‘Evil Spider’ artwork was that artist @hotandsad ? Yes! Che!  Are you just constantly on the lookout for people like that, whose work fits into your vision? Totally. I’ll go through Instagram and look at who artists are following, I’m just constantly looking, even for really small artists. And that’s what happened with Che, I just found their Instagram, and I found Bb Gurl which is the music project that they’re doing, which is also really cool. When I found their art I was kind of looking for a kind of anime-ish vibe, but I’m just constantly looking for artists that want to work with me. Do you bring them in and explain what the vision is to you, then kind of just let them do their thing?  Oh, 100%. That’s what I’ve tried to do with everyone, we’ll have a little meeting and I’ll maybe play them a song – like with Ricardo, he listened to the EP – and then it’s kind of just a matter of me being like, “Y’know, the name is this, you could maybe add that somewhere, if you wanted you could put my head in it.” But, like, I kind of want them to do their own thing on it, because I think that’s what people want to see. That’s what I think is good with a collab: allowing them to do their own thing, and if it works then I don’t want to fuck with that. Your shows to date haven’t been at the kind of scale where you’re dealing with major production design, but is that something that’ll come into it too? Oh yeah. I’m starting to start thinking about visuals I could put on a screen, if I have that at a show in the future, but even just lights. I went to the Billie Eilish concert that she did recently, because I’d been to the show she did at the Tuning Fork a few years ago and I wanted to see how it’d changed, because she’s just blown up. But being at her concert and just seeing how the lights play such a massive part in the performance? That show, and even, like, I did this show in London, and this guy played last, and the lights! They were just crazy, it was like this screamo show and it was just nuts, it was so cool. I definitely want all of that stuff. Your set at Laneway this year was pretty crazy – like playing a festival when you’ve only got a couple songs out, and drawing that huge crowd – but I really liked how free it felt. Like during ‘Soaked’, there was this confetti cannon that went off, but because of the wind none of it went anywhere near the stage– I know! It wasn’t the plan, but I’m glad it happened anyway … at least you saw it. I liked how you embraced the chaos of that though. Like it was a choreographed moment which didn’t happen how you’d planned it, but in context it felt kind of fitting. Yeah I like things like that. When things are a bit off, and kind of don’t work, I feel like that’s a vibe. Is that something you like to leave space for in your art? Yeah, I mean I’m always making mistakes and stuffing things up, but I think a “perfect” kind of show isn’t really what I’m aiming for. And I love it when I see musicians that I love, like, stuffing up. It’s the best thing ever. I thought it was quite bold that you you played ‘Soaked’ second last, then closed with ‘Afterlife’, which hadn’t been released at that point. Was that an intentional thing, or is that just how those songs flow for you? I’ve just always liked playing ‘Afterlife’ last, it just works for me. It’s a nice wind-down, because ‘Soaked’ is real, like, “boom, boom”. With ‘Afterlife’, no one really knows it, and I kind of like that. It’s this weird little dream story; it just feels right. Does it feel weird having those songs out there now? Like you held onto them for so long, and now they can take on their own lives? Yeah, totally. Because no one has heard them, and I’m quite close to them because I’ve sung them so many times, it’s quite weird having them out there for people to listen to. Especially ‘Afterlife’ in particular, that one is one that people probably won’t get at first listen, they probably need a bit of context on what that dream was about, before they’ll get it. But I don’t know, it’s kind of fun having them out there. Whether they get good or bad reactions, I’m interested to see what people think about them. Your lyrics are obviously very personal; is there any part of you that worries about people misconstruing or misunderstanding what these songs are about? I don’t know – I like it being out there, and I like people knowing what it’s about, but I like that they can also have their own interpretation of what I’m saying. Like with ‘Afterlife’ again, I don’t know what someone would think that song’s about without me telling them. But I like that, I reckon it’s cool. And I love it when I can make up my own thing for songs that I’m listening to – with some songs I don’t really go that into depth in telling people what they’re about, because I’d rather they just do their own thing with it. I think it’s really fascinating that you have this really multimedia, multi-faceted vision for what you’re doing across all of these formats, but that you’re also really comfortable with it being open for interpretation. I reckon, yeah, they’re out there on their own now. I’ve babied them, they’re my little friends, and now they’re out there. Little babies going out into the world, and making new friends, and having people hate them. They’re like little people. It’s such a healthy way to approach writing such personal music. Well for like, ’Want Me Back’ – that’s such a sad, vulnerable song. And I think it was kind of just, me knowing how much it meant to me, and how much emotion poured into it, I was like “Oh, maybe people who like my other music won’t like it, because my other music’s more bouncy and fun.” But when it’s kind of beyond that point, I think you don’t actually need to care whether people are going to like it or not. For me, at least, it’s like, put it out there and see who can connect with it, what people will do with it. Is there anything you hope people will get from it? I think the biggest thing for me personally listening to music, and what I hope people get out of mine, is just relating to stuff. It’s a simple thing, but when I hear music and it fits a mood that I’m in, or something – I listen to James Blake and Bon Iver when I’m really sad, and some of those lyrics just hit home; I hope that some of my music can do that for someone else. It’s the best thing ever when you hear something and you’re like, “It gets me, this music gets me.” The above has been edited for clarity and brevity.'

Missing Fleabag? Here’s why you should watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend next

Motorsports The Spinoff

You’ve watched all twelve episodes of Fleabag three times now – where to from here? Laura Vincent has your next obsession sorted.It must be just splendid to be Phoebe Waller-Bridge in 2019, with absolutely everyone (including celebrities like Joss
'You’ve watched all twelve episodes of Fleabag three times now – where to from here? Laura Vincent has your next obsession sorted . It must be just splendid to be Phoebe Waller-Bridge in 2019, with absolutely everyone (including celebrities like Joss Whedon, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Minnie Driver) going mad for Fleabag, the show she created and stars in. It is, on the other hand, apparently a terrible time for anyone who has finished watching the show’s second and final season. People are falling over themselves with praise, unable to ululate superlatives fast enough, swearing to give up writing since there’s no point even trying when something as stellar as Fleabag exists, simply lacerated with misery now that the show has ended while forlornly contemplating what’s left of their dull futures. I’m not exaggerating about the exaggerating: to quote the aforementioned Joss Whedon, creator of B uffy The Vampire Slayer , “how do I watch anything else or make anything else or live my life or breathe or feel or care.” Fleabag (which you can watch on Amazon Prime) is part of that resolutely British tradition where every TV show is seemingly competing to have the least output across the longest period of time. This series in its entirety took almost three years to deliver us 12 episodes of 22 minutes each. If you, too, are feeling bereft and crestfallen at the snuffing of this show’s brief, flickering candle, and are yearning for more dark, women-led, quality writing for the medium of television, may I make a suggestion? It’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a musical comedy about mental health and misleading romantic tropes! Before you argue that not one of those words sounds appealing, I freely concede that it’s not, at first glance, anything like Fleabag . Whereas Fleabag has quiet Anglo-repression, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gives you colour, noise and American brashness. Whereas Fleabag delights in the subtleties of unhappiness, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend likes to explain the jokes with an emphatic wink. Whereas Fleabag’s tenure was clipped, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ran for four seasons from 2015 to April of this year, with a total of 62 hour-long episodes (the first three seasons are on Netflix now). And whereas Fleabag had an alarmingly charismatic Hot Priest, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also has an alarmingly charismatic hot priest. Wait, what? Let’s explore these connections further. Both shows have titles that hold you at a distance The title of Fleabag is never explained or even mentioned in the show itself. It’s not a pleasant word, but it does catch the eye and somehow conveys the simmering messiness that pervades the series. There’s also a strange tenderness to it, as it comes from a family nickname for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and became a stand-in moniker for her unnamed lead character (and will be how I refer to her from here on.) The term “crazy ex-girlfriend”, on the other hand, is used to directly describe Rebecca Bunch, the lead character portrayed by show creator Rachel Bloom, but as she argues back in the season one theme song, “that’s a sexist term” and “the situation’s a lot more nuanced than that.” The idea is unpacked further as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend progresses, with the second season’s theme song claiming “when you call her crazy, you’re just calling her in love” and the third season’s song (yes, the series has a new theme song and credits sequence for each season) reflecting helplessly upon the mess that has ensued: “you do, you don’t wanna be crazy, to clarify, yes, no on the crazy — we hope this helps!” Essentially, Bloom and Waller-Bridge are both setting you up for subverted expectations before you’ve even started the show. Paula is one of the few people who see Rebecca for who she is. Both shows play with reality and form Fleabag delights in breaking the fourth wall, which can undercut the tension or ramp it up spectacularly depending on which way Waller-Bridge decides to move her knife, and it’s rather delicious receiving her droll asides or knowing glances in the middle of sex scenes, fights, or dull conversations. We accept it as part of the reality of the show, so it’s startling when the Hot Priest character can also see her attention sliding towards us, the viewers. Hot Priest is the only character who sees when Fleabag breaks the fourth wall. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ’s brand of heightened reality takes the form of musical numbers which are presented as Rebecca Bunch’s way of making sense of the world. They too become the show’s reality until, in the very last episode, Rebecca’s best friend Paula shocks us by asking Rebecca, just as she’s clearly about to drift off into another song fantasy, “what are you doing ?”. The songs that punctuate Crazy Ex-Girlfriend aren’t just exceptionally well-written and often note-perfect genre parodies, about subjects you didn’t even know you needed songs for (‘Don’t Be A Lawyer’; ‘The Sexy Getting-Ready Song’; ‘I Gave You A UTI’). They’re also a brilliant vehicle for plot development, while showing off the talents of the sublimely talented cast. In both cases there’s something about a protagonist being caught in the act of being a protagonist that’s completely disarming, but also an effective way of showing who really sees and understands them the most. Hot Priest sees Fleabag! Both shows have one relationship that’s more important than the rest – and it’s not necessarily the relationship you think it will be I love Fleabag most when she’s with her sister Claire, a character who makes you both cheer and cry “kindly, step on my neck!” whenever she fills the screen with her perpetual frosty vexation. Their often reluctant and largely incremental unity is immensely rewarding, especially in the series finale when Claire  – aloof and taciturn Claire! –  tells Fleabag “the only person I’d run through an airport for is you”. I think it’s important that this references a trope most commonly used in romantic situations  –  it shows that their relationship is the real happy ending (or as close as we get) of the series. Meanwhile, the very title of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend implies a heavy focus on romance, but through it all it’s Rebecca and Paula’s friendship that anchors the story and provides the show with its emotional heart. They progress through mutual codependency and willingly terrible decisions (as Paula rousingly sings, “Face your fears! Run with scissors!”), to develop a wonderful relationship based on trust. They see each other’s potential and want nothing but the best for them  –  a true love story. True friendship, truly. Both shows’ creators play fearless, exhilaratingly heedless lead characters You’re not necessarily supposed to like these characters or agree with their actions, but they are nevertheless unsettlingly compelling. (Rachel Bloom described Rebecca Bunch as a “bubbly Walter White” and there’s definitely a resemblance, as Rebecca creates more and more layers of frantic deception. There’s less romantic comedy in Breaking Bad , though). Definitely a good person. From “well, since we’re here” sex to questionable business ventures to bone-clenchingly awkward public displays of defiance, Rebecca and Fleabag both barrel through life, and their creators are not afraid to bare themselves in highly specific and not always metaphorical ways. Fleabag looks us dead in the eyes to narrate the anal sex she’s having in the show’s first three minutes; Rebecca gets taunted by her crush’s sexually adventurous yoga instructor girlfriend who claims “anal doesn’t hurt at all, most times I prefer it”. Fleabag is nonplussed as her lover yells during sex about how small her breasts are; Rebecca sings a song called ‘Heavy Boobs’ in which she calmly and repeatedly instructs us that the titular body parts are merely “sacks of yellow fat.” Fleabag runs into a lover while shopping for tampons, and when he gamely says “I hope it’s a light flow” she replies “oh, it never is. It. Never. Is.”. Meanly, roughly once a month, Rebecca breaks into a song called ‘Period Sex ‘ . Think of a place, any place: they’ll both go there. Both shows get dark, dark, dark Without giving away specifics, Fleabag and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are equally unflinching in their portrayals of where our brains can lead us and in their use of black comedy to process it. They also certainly don’t hold back on winding up a season in a way that makes you fall to your knees and cry “ damn that is emotionally draining quality television!” Both explore the general difficulty of existence While they’re coming at it from different directions, both shows really capture the exhaustion that comes from just being yourself. There’s a fantastic scene at the end of Fleabag’s first season where she uses the word “fuck” interchangeably to mean sex and also “to ruin” and wonders if everyone feels like she does or if she’s completely alone. After all her wit and wry nods to us, she just comes undone, and the display of sheer emotion, of the grief, the guilt, of everything she’s been holding onto, is incredibly affecting. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is excellent at conveying the absolute tiring slog that is trying to get from day to day not knowing what’s wrong with you or how to even find out. Its exploration of mental health issues is unbelievably impressive, and there’s not much it leaves out, from the side-effects and surprising normality of Fluoxetine and Citalopram, to that clouds-parting feeling of finally getting an accurate diagnosis. Mood. Both shows have incredible therapists played by amazing actors In Fleabag , we get the wonderful Fiona Shaw who calmly and shrewdly takes in Fleabag saying things like “I spent most of my adult life using sex to deflect from the screaming void inside my empty heart” and “I’m very horny and your little scarf isn’t helping” and “I want to fuck a priest.” The therapist’s response? “I understand.” Fiona Shaw as Fleabag’s amazing therapist. Therapist: “Do you really want to fuck the priest, or do you want to fuck God?” Fleabag: “ Can you fuck God?” Therapist: “ Oh yes .” In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend it’s the excellent Michael Hyatt (who you probably know from The Wire ) as the long-suffering Doctor Akopian. She dispenses wise advice like “sometimes love isn’t a person, it’s a passion,” and “if you make an appointment and get help, I won’t press charges,” and admirably persists with Rebecca despite no initial evidence that she is taking any of Dr Akopian’s teaching on board. Both shows have disconcertingly unlikeable maternal characters played by amazing actors Fleabag is not only working through the recent death of her mother, but also her father’s new relationship with her truly awful godmother, played by the stalwart Olivia Colman. Colman seems like a sweetheart in real life and yet she’s so convincingly despicable in Fleabag , a clear testament to both the writing and her acting. In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend , Rebecca has a highly unsteady relationship with her terrifying mother who is both withholding and overbearing at the same time, equal parts La Mer and manipulation, played with stern gusto by Broadway legend Tovah Feldshuh. Both shows have  –  as promised  –  a Hot Priest The second Andrew Scott appeared on Fleabag as the sweary, self-deprecating Hot Priest, otherwise sensible people found themselves rushing to social media to blurt out uncouth statements like “ he could break my fourth wall. ” He has everyone positively frothing at the mouth at how exquisitely verboten he is, and I admit, I am not immune. I mean, he is astonishingly entrancing, isn’t he, as he tortures himself with his feelings for both God and Fleabag? But excuse me, do you have a minute to talk about the Good News that is Rene Gube as Father Brah in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ? Yes, this is Father Brah. Praise be. He’s funny (“Please, Mr Brah was my father. I’m Father Brah,”) he’s wise (“two things is a lot for one brain”), he offers solemn counsel and looks heart-flutteringly hot while doing it. And he, too, is a bad boy of the cloth who doesn’t play by the rules, albeit in a very legal and Californian way. Baptism, please. Both Fleabag and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are not without their faults, some minor and some glaring, and I believe strongly that there’s space for criticism of both. But I also understand that sense of overwhelming connection to someone’s work, of having parts of you that were hidden deep inside suddenly articulated on screen in full colour, and I definitely get that gulping-for-air sadness at something you love being over and done with. So if you’re craving more effervescent bleakness with a bonus worldview-challengingly handsome priest on the side, then Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could just be the next show to cleverly and methodically ruin your life.'