On my radar: Rose Matafeo’s cultural highlights

The Starstruck ​creator and ​​star reveals her passion for ​Joan Collins,​ J-pop and all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffets

Born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1992, comedian and actor Rose Matafeo started doing standup aged 15 and performed in late-night comedy sketch show Funny Girls. In 2018, she won the best comedy show award at the Edinburgh fringe with her show Horndog. She regularly appears on TV panel shows and in 2020 played the lead in comedy feature film Baby Done. Last year, she created, co-wrote and starred in BBC series Starstruck, a romcom about a young woman who begins a relationship with a world-famous actor played by Nikesh Patel. Season two starts on Monday on BBC Three’s new broadcast channel, with the entire series available on BBC iPlayer.


Spring Awakening (Almeida)

Spring Awakening play Almeida
‘It’s so energetic.’ Photograph: Marc Brenner

My friend Emma got us tickets for the New Year’s Eve matinee of this and it blew my mind. Since then, I’ve been obsessively listening to the soundtrack, then last night I saw it for the second time. It’s a mid-2000s musical based on a German play and it’s about youth and sex and intimacy. It would be reductive to call it horny – it’s so much more than that. It’s so energetic, with an amazing young cast – Stuart Thompson, who plays Moritz in it, is incredible.


World of Wong Kar-Wai (Prince Charles Cinema)

Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express.
Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express. Photograph: Alamy

I’ve been going to the cinema a lot at the moment – well, I always go to the cinema a lot. London is a dream for a person like me: you guys have things like the BFI and smaller cinemas like the Castle or the Rio. There’s a Wong Kar-Wai series at the Prince Charles at the moment and I’ve been to see Chungking Express, Happy Together and In the Mood for Love in the space of two weeks or so. If you can’t see them in real life, you can buy the very expensive Criterion box set.


Akiko Yano

Akiko Yano
‘Very, very inspiring’: Akiko Yano. Photograph: Irohani Konpeitou

I love J-pop – Japanese pop – and I’ve been listening to a lot of Akiko Yano. She’s been very, very inspiring, particularly for her album covers: they’re the coolest things I’ve ever seen. My favourite album by her is Piano Nightly, which is a good entry point, where she does covers of lots of other things. Her music is quite jazzy, with a bit of 80s YMO (Yellow Magic Orchestra) synth, and she’s got an amazing voice. It’s my kind of music – basically, it’s what’s playing in my head when I’m walking around London.


This Is Joan Collins (BBC iPlayer)

Collins with her then husband, Anthony Newley, during the filming of Dr Dolittle (1967).
Collins with her then husband, Anthony Newley, during the filming of Dr Dolittle (1967). Photograph: Bettmann Archive

I really liked this little doco in which Joan Collins narrates her life. I love her: she’s the last of that golden age of Hollywood stars from an era of films I’m obsessed with. My most prized possession is a signed copy of Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?, which is a film she was in with her husband at the time, Anthony Newley, and I’ve got that up on my wall. I walk around doing Joan Collins’s voice a lot to myself in the house. I think I’m nailing the impression.


Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure TV
‘Lovely and friendly and warm.’ Photograph: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

I’m getting into this 90s show: it’s a fish-out-of-water story about a doctor who moves to the middle of nowhere in Alaska, where he meets lots of funny characters. It’s quite lovely and friendly and warm and John Corbett is just so good-looking in it – I hate to focus on the hot guy but he’s stunning. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find. It’s not streaming anywhere, so I bought a box set off a random website and have had to get a DVD player that plays the region code. So good luck if you want to find it.


Indian Veg, London N1

Indian Veg Chapel St N1

I haven’t been out to dinner in so long, but this is the place I really feel like going tonight. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, really pretty cheap, and it’s got very interesting signs on the walls – things such as “Why quitting smoking will make you better at sex” or “Why vitamin C will give you cancer somehow”. It’s wild, but it’s delicious and I love it so much. It actually reminds me a lot of home: they do a banana pakora, which is very similar to a Samoan food called panikeke, which are deep-fried banana pancakes.


Kathryn Bromwich

The GuardianTramp

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