Your guide to a better summer

June 19, 2022

From traveling to music, Instep has you covered.

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“London calling, yes, I was there, too/And you know what they said? Well, some of it was true/London calling at the top of the dial/And after all this, won’t you give me a smile? I never felt so much alike, alike, alike, alike” - ‘London Calling’ by The Clash

The summer season is here and has already gone awry as climate change bears marks of mankind’s folly. Losing electricity for hours at a stretch (loadshedding) is another enemy we just can’t defeat, it seems. Here’s Instep’s checklist of things to do while whiling the summer away…

Travel: Within and Without

Travel sounds like a scary word, but it isn’t. It just depends on how prepared you are. Apart from hitting Lonely Planet, which literally spells it out for you, this is a good time to go forth and make merry as tourism picks up again. If planning to go out of the country, pick any place other than London where everyone from Shah Rukh Khan to that annoying friend of a friend like to unwind. Instead, look at destinations across Europe, like Prague, e.g. with its culture of music in the streets.

If travelling abroad is an expensive sojourn for you, you can - with the right research - travel within Pakistan. Pakistani celebrities often update their Instagram from many of these beautiful places. If they can, so can you. Head to the city of saints, Multan or go up North and enjoy the hospitality of the people. But don’t take the urban habits with you such as throwing garbage out of your car window or misbehaving with people who have done nothing to deserve it. Think greenery, think Gilgit-Baltistan or Chitral, beautiful cultures, and people.

A music odyssey

Pakistani audience doesn’t exactly like paying for music when sneakily downloading it is easier. FIA may have shutdown illegal factories at the heart of piracy many moons ago, but that was then. In the digital age, it’s just so much easier to download nearly everything in substantial size. However, with the official entry of Spotify, the global music streaming app, in Pakistan, paying a small fee every month for access to millions of songs, is a good idea. The royalty collected from this goes to the artist. So, ask yourself this, would you be okay if someone took your wages from you for something functional that you do? A similar outlook needs to be applied to music.

As for music itself, our top three picks for the moment include Talal Qureshi, Hasan Raheem and Natasha Noorani’s newest track, ‘Faltu Pyar’, ‘Kyun’ - a collaboration between Karakoram and Hasan Raheem, and Bilal Maqsood’s ‘Naya Naya’.

Fashion scene

Fashion is an amalgamation of trends. But style is inherent. You could be stylish in many ways without losing your own identity. To that end, look at designers like Riffat Aliani, brands like Manto or HEF clothing. Let’s say if that doesn’t appeal to you, the one-of-its-kind Khaadi outlet in Dolmen Mall, Karachi is another way to go. Several economical Pakistani brands offering a different kind of fashion including androgynous clothing are emerging online so look around. And for the sake of fashion, stop buying that overpriced lawn that is anathema to the real growth of organic, pioneering fashion.

Binge-watch but carefully

We all binge-watch but spending hours watching a show like Criminal Minds or Hitler’s Circle of Evil will give you nightmares. Trust us, we’ve tried it.

The idea is to do some research and then watch. Also remember, not every good project is on Netflix so you should look around.

The First Lady features Gillian Anderson as Eleanor Roosevelt (woohoo!), Viola Davis as Michelle Obama (double woohoo!) and Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford (triple woohoo?). The series has been released by Showtime and reviews suggest that come awards season, these actors will most probably get nominations and take home some trophies.

If you’re stuck with Netflix and have no other choice, one great fun activity is watching older movies like The Guilty where Jake Gyllenhaal will keep you glued to the film until the end. Almost Famous, apart from being a great film to watch or watch again, will make you realize that there was a time in your life where you and I could actually bear Kate Hudson.

Books: Reel to real

While we’re on the subject of the first ladies of the United States of The Armed, now is the time to hunt down a copy of Michelle Obama’s Becoming. First released in 2018, it will answer all your questions about the life of the woman, including facts such as she will never, ever run for office of the president of America. And that’s just one detail from a book that is outselling Barack Obama’s first post-presidency book, A Promised Land.

Another curious book to score is Will Smith’s, simply titled Will. It is written with the help of Mark Manson (an author himself with books like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****). The book has come at a time when Will Smith foolishly and shamelessly went to slap Chris Rock during the last Oscars for making fun of his wife. Loads of people can take jokes in their stride but Will couldn’t (funny or not). It’s created a disturbance within the family and a nightmare in Will Smith’s career. The irony is he won Best Actor that night and could’ve used the podium to say his piece.

Since his book is written with the help of Mark Manson, we suggest you also grab a copy of both his books: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a **** and Everything is *****d.

Sports: tennis

What about sports? Football and cricket certainly hold value to Pakistani fans. But there’s one sport that’s unlike the aforementioned. A much more elegant sport to follow is tennis. And right now, some unlikely things are happening. If any tennis player can dethrone the big three: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic from the spot of world number one in tennis and do it at least two times, it’s Daniil Medvedev, the Russian pro-tennis player. At the moment, he is the number one player in official rankings and may very well make Novak Djokovic work hard to get that title back.

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