19th of July: Morning Shift

“Gabriel if you were going to choose to bring back this time-consuming weekly endeavour, shouldn’t you have a) given yourself a week’s head-start to start collecting articles and b) chosen a week where you weren’t working Saturday evening and Sunday morning?”

“Who are you, go away.”

Saw the Scorsese Rolling Stones concert with Mum in the Ferney cinema years and years ago and not only does the whole live album around it still hold up but the Buddy Guy cameo remains incredible. Volume on that man.

Just like in the old days, this list will be available in two formats – a weekly email newsletter, and a weekly blog. I’d like to start strong and get stronger so if you enjoy anything you find this week, or you’ve got fond memories of the halcyon days of like… March, then please pass it on to a friend you love or several people you hate, I’m not fussed where my #numbers come from.

A warning – I am basically just rummaging through my history here to find some gems for you all. This will be a short list but I hope that means it’ll be all gold as most of these have stuck with me for weeks.

Interestingly, none of them are even remotely international relations-y, which doesn’t say great things about the calibre and staying power of security writing. Anyway, there’s normally more here.

  • These three pieces should really be read together, so it’s convenient that I’ve had to wait to share them all with you. Black men, British and American, reflect on raising sons and brothers in deeply racist societies. Ta-Nehisi Coates, in a breath-taking excerpt from his new book. Gary Younge, in an incredible farewell to America. Carl Anka, technically writing to his brother as he heads to university, but, for my British-university slanting readership, a valuable reminder that this stuff doesn’t stop at the Atlantic. Beautiful, upsetting, powerful writing, off you go.
  • This profile of Nina Simone goes deep and is beautiful and quietly sad
  • By complete coincidence, I read that one on the night-bus home one night, and then the next, read this review of the Amy Winehouse documentary that planted the seeds for a bittersweet week of listening to Amy and reading about her to remind myself of what we lost. This is a great comparison of a few recent music biopics, and this is great on how we obscure female genius.
  • I have only glancing interest in grime and tennis, but these profiles are pretty great – Skepta and Serena Williams.
  • “Oh Gabriel,” you say, “When will you concede that the sea is actually not that bad?” Mate1.
  • More on the fact that the sea and nature generally are Actually Bad – what it will look like when nature slaps the whole Pacific Northwest into the dust. Chilling.
  • Rather beautiful account of how lunch with Jacques Pépin saved an author’s life2
  • Film Crit Hulk wrote about Kanye and I didn’t restart the blog immediately to inform you all of this. Stunned you lot didn’t hunt me down tbh.
  • IDK what to say about this one I don’t know if I’ve just read enough of Tom’s work that I’m inured to it – this one is called “The M&Ms Store in the Age of Minions” and it’s kind of spectacular
  • Reckon this was my favourite response to that irritating-seeming viral video about offline dating (I didn’t watch it, obv.)
  • Vice has gone from being home of “We did this edgy thing and wrote it up in a problematic way” pieces to home of some of my favourite stuff on the Internet, so a quick selection. Tough to choose which Joel Golby piece to give you here as he’s genuinely become my favourite, but I think it has to be this lyrical and transcendent bit of whinging about working in the summer. As to Sam Kriss, struggled a bit here, partly because he’s more dispersed, but went with one on the Tube strike, and one on the spate of “I’m leaving London and for some reason you care” pieces the other week. Finally, this might be my favourite thing possibly ever, really. Absolutely lyrical misery about going out3.

Reckon I’ll leave it at that, lads. Won’t even try and bring back the old “does Gabriel exclusively read men” feature from before because the answer remains “yeah” and I can’t face that right now.

If you’re new, I hope this has been of some value to you and I hope to see you again next week when, I promise, there’ll be some stuff about Greece and Syria and that.

As to the loyal returnees, I’m not promising anything. You know how this works.

Lovely to be back, see you next week. X

1 upsettingly, of course, this story turns out to essentially be one of basic human cruelty towards migrants so it’s no bad thing that banning the sea would end all life on earth

2 IDK I’m duty bound to accept the melodrama

3 hazy memories of reaching 1AM and reading passages of this out loud to my flatmates and demanding they acknowledge its acute truth. it is t o o real.


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