The couture line that Balenciaga launched this summer is another thing that has permanent residency in my brain. I think that what Demna [Gvasalia, creative director] is doing with sculpture and architecture through fashion is some of the most interesting theatre of our time. It’s like a marriage of Romantic and gothic style – it’s a bit ecclesiastical, almost monastic, and I want it all. There’s this really wonderful circular headpiece that feels like: “I’m going to service, but in the year 3021.”
Michael Phelps knows a thing or two about the benefits of regular sleep. The now-retired competitive swimmer learned the importance of rest and recuperation at an early age, he tells Health in a new interview, which helped him get through years of rigorous athletic training—not to mention earn 28 Olympic medals.
Phelps, 32, has now partnered with Leesa Sleep, a luxury mattress company that also makes a social impact. (For every 10 mattresses sold, Leesa donates one mattress to those in need.) Here, Phelps opens up about how sleep has played a role in his success, the two other self-care habits he credits with helping him become a great dad, plus how he really feels about having a second child on the way.
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Could you feel a noticeable difference the day after a bad night of sleep during training?
Oh, of course. I was groggy. I was negative. I would feel like everything wasn't clicking together. And I knew when I got a good night’s rest because I was peppy, excited, eager, and involved.
How is sleep important to you now that you’ve retired?
I'm still on the road two to three weeks out of the month. I know I have to get sleep because when I'm home, I'm up between six and seven every morning with [my son] Boomer. I take morning duty.
What else keeps you energized and in a good headspace every day?
Sleeping, working out, eating right. Those are the factors that allow me to be a better husband and a better father, a better son, a harder worker. Family dinner is also something we do every night. When [Boomer] eats dinner, we eat something too with him. I try to get him in a habit of eating with us and eating the same foods that we eat.
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Do you carve out me time?
You have to have me time. For me to have that moment of quiet and peacefulness, it’s in the pool. Over the last two days I swam 2,500, 3,000 meters—so two miles in two days. And just those two miles helped me get rid of anything I had in my head, all the negative emotions. If I'm in a bad mood or grumpy around the house, my wife [Nicole] will literally say, “Please go swim. I want you to go swim. Get out of the house and go take care of yourself.”
She must have her me time, too.
Everybody has to. She went to get her nails done today and I was like, “I'm happy you went to get your nails done! That’s good!” For me, it's also going on a golf course. That’s another one of my escapes from everything. The golf course I play at has no cell service besides, like, three holes, so it's perfect. I don't have to respond to anything.
Can you still eat 10,000 calories a day?
No way. I'm not working out as much. I always think that if your body is a high performance car—so imagine you're a Ferrari—you're not going to put unleaded in there. You’re going to put premium gas. So if I want to get the best use out of my body, I'm not going to fill it with crappy food. I'm going to put in nutritious stuff that my body needs. From time to time I might have a little cheat, a cheeseburger here and there, instead of a piece of fish or chicken and veggies. But nine times out of 10, you're going to see me having chicken, fish, or salad.
What has surprised you most about fatherhood?
We've actually found ourselves going to bed earlier!
So aside from an earlier bedtime, have you changed?
The biggest thing [fatherhood] has really taught me is patience. I'm pretty patient, but it's like, he’s a small human. He’s a child that can't tell us what he wants. So when he's crying because of X, Y, or Z, be patient and figure it out. I used to ask my wife, “Honey, what do I do?" And she's like, "Just figure it out!" That's what I'm doing.
What is Boomer like at 18 months?
He’s a really good kid. He's always happy. Watching him grow, he looks like a little boy, he acts like a little boy, like he's almost self-sufficient. He'll take my hand and he'll point to the couch, and I sit down on the couch and he picks up like 15 different toys and plays with all of them. Then he'll pick up a book and he'll come over, climb up on the couch, sit next to me, and open the pages. I'll watch him hit a golf ball, or swing a little foam baseball bat, or throw a football. It's just fun. It’s cool to watch. Every day is something different.
Do you have any nerves about having a second child?
Adding another one is going to be completely different and a huge change. But it's like, we didn't plan for number one, and we didn't really plan on having a second one this early, so we're just going with it and we're going to make the best of it.
What are some of your current fitness goals, unrelated to swimming?
Right now I bike about 100 miles a week. We live in Scottsdale, and when I'm home I ride outdoors about 100 miles a week. When I'm on the road, I try to get on a bike or do some kind of cardio when I'm at the hotel. I try to do anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour and a half of cardio a day. I want to get back to under 200 pounds. I was 195 when I competed in Rio, and I'm flirting with 200. At points I was as heavy as 215. I want to stay around 200 for a month or two. I'd also like to try to lift more.
Do you have any gym peeves?
I think the biggest thing is finding a gym that you can go to where the people aren't taking selfies in the mirror. If I’m going to a gym, I'm doing it for me, to get in shape.
Which female athletes inspire you right now?
Getting to know Lindsey Vonn a little bit, and watching her go through her struggles and injuries and get ready for another games, is really exciting. Obviously I'm biased because of the swimming aspect, but I also love watching Katie Ledecky. I would like to be able to work with her and help her more. I know she's got her head on right. In my eyes, she's probably the best female swimmer that the world has ever seen.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Leeds Festival: Bad Boy Chiller Crew get Yorkshire bouncing
Bad Boy Chiller crew may have started out as a bit of a joke online but on Friday they provided some serious party vibes as Leeds Festival got under way.
Bradford’s notorious bassline collective got a sea of bucket hats bouncing with their infectious energy and hilarious stage presence.
The rap-dance collective brought their dads/friends onstage for a rave, while downing booze in between spitting bars.
But they were enjoying themselves for so long organisers pulled the plug.
Having overrun, the fun-loving outfit had their microphones, decks and music silenced, drawing boos from revellers as they stormed off to make room for a “No Leeds on a Dead Planet” public service video about environmental concerns around the event.
West Yorkshire Police later said they arrested two people following an incident on stage at Leeds Festival shortly after 16:00 BST on Friday.
The pair were subsequently bailed, pending further enquiries.
In recent years, the rap trio, comprised of Gareth “GK” Kelly, Kane Welsh and Sam “Clive” Robinson have have been not so quietly working their way up the bill at their home county festival, rapping over old school dance beats.
They’ve gone from starting in the BBC Music Introducing tent to one of the main stages, where they looked very at home, leading the crowd in a chorus of “oggy oggy oggy”s.
Dressed in their crispest white shirts and big red ties, the local rappers – who recently starred in their own ITV2 docu-series – raced through verses from their recent mixtape and debut album, including 450 and BMW, as well new track When It Rains, It Pours (thankfully it didn’t, as the clouds covered the Yorkshire sun for the first time on Friday).
They raced through beer, cider and vodka at an (alarmingly) equally rapid rate, as a family friend known affectionately as Kitchen Steve twirled a cane in a head-masterly fashion and Kelly’s dad Hopper, wearing a Burberry outfit, threw out some serious shapes and hip shakes.
One Twitter user commented: “Omg! Bad Boy Chiller Crew. What is this?! It’s like [Welsh act] Goldie Lookin Chain on speed. There is even a ‘Bez'”.
Robinson even appeared to have had an influence on, or at least reflect, some of the festival-goers’ fashion senses, with mullets adorning the heads of young men at Branham Park, for possibly the first time in decades.
Rap music from around the UK regions, not just the capital, has become more prominent on the bill here in recent years. “It’s tongue-in-cheek funny and unashamedly Yorkshire,” wrote the BBC’s Will Chalk about Bad Boy Chiller Crew – who recently launched a fans for foodbanks initiative – in an interview two years ago, when they were just starting their journey to where they are now.
Earlier on Friday, emo rocker Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith brought the first big singalong of the day as the crowds began to arrive in the searing heat, with one of the songs of last year, her viral hit Meet Me at the Spot.
She followed it up with a new one of her own, Hover Like a Goddess. “Every woman is a goddess,” she beamed, drawing loud cheers.
Bastille did an early set on Friday evening, having just released an extended version of their latest album Give Me the Future.
They told the BBC that performing at the double header Reading and Leeds Festivals 10 years ago in a smaller tent – and hearing one of their softer songs sung back to them with gusto – was the first time they thought they were really on to something as a band.
“We had to stop because I was it was so blown away, it just was just so overwhelming,” said singer and songwriter Dan Smith.
“That was kind of amazing moment, as particularly as back 10 years ago, Reading and Leeds was much more like rock and heavy music. So as a as a weird little cinematic indie band, and being the massive cynic that I am, I was like, ‘what’s the crowd gonna make of us?’
“So to have that first experience all those years ago was pretty surreal.”
The Leeds leg of the Bank Holiday weekender was officially opened on Thursday evening by up-and-coming Sunderland indie rocker Tom A Smith, who recently supported Sir Elton John. Afterwards he told the BBC it was “without doubt the best [gig] I’ve ever done”.
“We had mosh pits and people singing my songs back,” said Smith. “It was absolutely insane, what an experience.”
Reading and Leeds Festivals take place across two sites and will feature headline performances at each from artists including The 1975, Dave, Arctic Monkeys and Megan Thee Stallion.
On my radar: Moses Sumney’s cultural highlights
theguardian– Singer-songwriter Moses Sumney, 29, grew up between Ghana and California and studied creative writing and poetry at UCLA. His piercing falsetto and genre-defying music have brought him critical acclaim, starting with his self-recorded 2014 EP Mid-City Island, followed in 2017 by his debut album, Aromanticism, and the 2020 double album Græ. Sumney has collaborated with musicians including Bon Iver and James Blake and toured with Solange and Sufjan Stevens. His latest project is Blackalachia, a self-directed concert film created in association with WePresent, shot over two days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, where he lives.
Selling Sunset (Netflix)
I pity anyone who hasn’t seen this show. It’s a reality show about a real estate agency in west Hollywood, and it follows the lives and deals of the people who work there, predominantly the female staff who are all ridiculously Barbie-ish – essentially “career Barbie on crack”. It’s incredible. I love reality TV – it tells us a lot about humanity. Reality shows are always inherently dated, so they’re a great capsule of the modern era.
Don’t Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty by Yeule
I don’t know what it is about this song, but I’m addicted to it. Yeule is a Singaporean artist based in London who’s kind of new on the scene, and this song is just so hypnotising – it hints and winks at hyperpop while being an absolutely heart-shattering folk tune. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of a lot of different genres, and it’s stunning. I have a lot of playlists – for driving, for chilling at night, a morning playlist, a folk playlist – and this is in all of them.
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
I’m currently reading this – I put off reading it because it looks like a self-help book – but it’s really fascinating. The author is an artist who works largely in digital art and the book is about how to free yourself from the capitalist trappings of the workforce – not necessarily saying “quit your job”, but suggesting a new path for work. It asks the question: how can we construct our identities apart from defining ourselves by what we do and by our income? It’s a very radical book, and it’s often a hard read. But it has been mind-shifting.
Western North Carolina
I’ve been travelling a lot for work, so I’ve been thinking about how much I would prefer to spend my time in western North Carolina, particularly in the mountains, where I live. I think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I first arrived in Asheville when I was on tour and knew immediately I wanted to live here. You turn around, 360 degrees in any direction, and you’re surrounded by trees, by the sound of animals, and that’s really a rare feeling for anyone who’s spent most of their life, as I have, living in the city.
Eve’s Bayou (Kasi Lemmons, 1997)
This stars a young Jurnee Smollett, who recently had a resurgence with Lovecraft Country. She’s 10 years old in the film, which is set in a fictional small town in Louisiana. Samuel L Jackson stars as the patriarch of the family, who is maybe cheating on his wife, his daughter sets out to kill him and punish him, perhaps through witchcraft. It was incredibly critically acclaimed and subsequently snubbed by every major award ceremony. It’s a gorgeous, heartbreaking film. I first saw it last year and I think about it every day.
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