On my radar: Ed Gamble’s cultural highlights

Born in Hammersmith in 1986, Ed Gamble is a comedian, writer and actor. He studied philosophy at Durham University and started his career doing standup. Since 2018 he has co-presented the podcast Off Menu with James Acaster and is one of the creators of the 2022 comedy panel show The Island. He is also a regular guest on Mock the Week, Would I Lie to You, QI and Live at the Apollo. In 2019 Gamble won the ninth series of Taskmaster and the following year set up Taskmaster the Podcast. Ed Gamble will be touring the UK with his new standup show, Electric, from 3 September.

1. Album

They Fear Us by Ithaca

They’re an absolutely amazing British band who play metallic hardcore: very heavy, in your face music. I went to see them play live last week and they sounded incredible. Their first album was fantastic – quite extreme – and with this one, they’ve added new layers to their sound. I’m addicted to it. The song I like most is Camera Eats First, but honestly it’s wall to wall bangers. I listen to it at the gym, or walking around. For me it suits any mood, but there’s going to be a lot of people who listen to it and think it suits no mood.

2. TV

The Sandman (Netflix)

This is a TV adaptation of a Neil Gaiman graphic novel, which is an amazingly detailed and rich fantasy story about Morpheus, who controls the dream realm. Netflix have absolutely nailed it. I’m only about five episodes in, but the casting is just incredible: as soon as you get David Thewlis in something, you’ve basically won half the battle. His character, John, is not a nice man, but Thewlis is such a fantastic actor that I can’t stop watching him. And the character of Lucifer is particularly good fun.

3. Podcast

Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV

Sirin Kale and Pandora Sykes present this podcast about how reality TV started and how we got to where we are now. It’s fascinating, because I do like reality TV but obviously it has its downsides and moral grey areas. And they cover that so well while also being passionate about the art form. They go through the different phases and types of reality TV, from Big Brother and Love Island to this awful show called There’s Something About Miriam. Some of it is quite nostalgic, but there’s really shocking stuff in there as well.

4. Restaurant

Fallow, London SW1

The mushroom parfait at Fallow
The mushroom parfait at Fallow. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer

This doesn’t look like a restaurant I would enjoy, in that it’s very close to Piccadilly Circus and looks like a bit of a tourist trap. But the food is exceptional. They’re a low-waste, sustainable restaurant – they grow mushrooms on the roof for the mushroom parfait, which is one of their best dishes, and their signature dish is cod’s head in sriracha butter. Realistically I can’t see everyone suddenly going vegan to save the planet, but the way forward might be a compromise around sustainable eating. And also it’s just delicious.

5. Comic Book

The Magic Order by Mark Millar

I read comic books for a long time, then sort of fell away from them, got more into music and comedy. But I nipped into a comic book shop when I was on honeymoon and got the guy working there to recommend a few things I’d missed. He gave me this. It’s about a secret order of wizards who keep humanity safe – and obviously there’s a bad guy who’s trying to kill them all. It just made me remember what I liked about comics in the first place: it’s a proper romp with amazing characters. It’s got a real beauty to it.

6. Documentary

This Is Gwar (Shudder)

It’s quite appropriate that this film’s on Shudder, which is a horror streaming service. Gwar are a heavy metal band from America who have been going for nearly 40 years. They’re essentially a novelty band: they write their own music but it’s all very silly, they dress as ridiculous invading aliens wearing these huge rubber costumes. When they play live they do insane things like spray the audience with blood. The documentary looks at how they got started and why they’re still going.