15th of March: A Long-Expected Party

Got some announcements at the end of this one, so feel free to pop down there and check them out before kicking off the list.

Song of the week, by virtue of novelty and of having kicked off a dangerous nostalgic turn, is Muse’s new single, shit politics and all

As ever, this reading list is available as a newsletter or on my blog, you can go to either if you’d prefer.

First up, I wrote a thing! With words! And no links! I reviewed Eyal Weizman’s The Least of All Possible Evils.

  • Two encouraging reports on how ISIS is starting to lose.
  • IDK if I shared this before, but it’s interesting – two journalists report from regime-held Syria
  • Interesting essay on the significance and context behind ISIS smashing monuments up
  • Good report on the widening coalition fighting Boko Haram
  • The founder of CAGE, the now-controversial charity, writes a good defence piece
  • Also a good defence of the nuclear deal with Iran
  • This was worrying me about some of the arguments on climate change, and I still don’t know what the answer is, but Jonathan Freedland is good on the issues with climate activism being a left-only issue
  • On the lack of British stories about race and racism in film
  • Rembert Browne got to meet Barack Obama and wrote a great piece on it (also Obama did a ‘reads mean tweets about himself’ and it was pretty good)
  • Grim on the future of NASA
  • Thought this was lovely, on how different names ‘travel’ (this is that weekly piece I fail to sell but you should read regardless)
  • A history, and a plea to kill, the “nerdy white men’s internet”
  • Intriguing on how ‘build more houses’ has backfired somewhat in France
  • Mostly NSFW, text and (to an extent) images, but these vignettes of sex in the digital age are great oh god it sounds like I’ve just linked to porn. I promise it isn’t.
  • Love these recipes where it’s basically Proust and then you get cool food at the end
  • Fascinating on how game developers balance making adversaries interesting without making them too human to comfortably shoot in the face

About a quarter this week, again.

So almost a year ago to the day, I launched a bold new format for this reading list, taking it to a bullet-pointy, punchy place that has done us very well since then. Since I missed the actual anniversary of the blog, I’m going to treat the subsequent date as the significant one. So what better time to rehaul the thing again than this weekend?

It’s been a year, so about 50-odd lists, possibly upwards of a thousand links, and it has been very fun sharing all these with you. Which is why I’m knocking it on the head (sort of). The reading list was originally to be a crutch to force me to write more, and that didn’t really play out. It’s probably a bit more time commitment than I can really be bothered maintaining in the long run – I miss Sunday mornings. I started thinking about the future of the blog a few weeks back and realised the anniversary was as good a time as any.

But never fear! I still really like compiling stuff and choosing what to share, so I’m just going to do that more. From here on out, these lists are going to come out/up on a monthly basis. This means they’re likely to have more links, but at the same time, I’ll be far more selective with the passage of time – news articles and comment pieces from last week’s debates probably won’t make the cut. I’m also hoping to make it more interesting as a thing to read than just bullet-points. There might be more discussion of the articles, more gifs, more music videos. I might play with fonts*

And there’s every chance this is just the preliminary excuse to the lists fading away. Which would be a shame. But I’ve loved the past year and I really appreciate you all keeping up with it, and I hope you’ll tag along for whatever the next year brings here at fillingthelonghours dot com. I’m going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.

*I definitely won’t

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