2nd of August: Return to Form

This is more like it. Spent two days without a computer, for one of which I was bed-ridden, and all of a sudden, lots to share with you. I should clearly become a more regular visitor to the chicken shop over the road.

Song of the week is mildly embarrassing, but it got stuck in my head about 48 hours ago, and hasn’t left, so I’m inflicting it on you. It’s the song from the end of the Italian Job, guys. At least I’ve given it you lot in context of the film, I’ve just been listening to it on loop on Spotify.

As ever, the reading list is 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.

  • Quite a lot of grim stuff up ahead so even though this, thematically, should come later, I’m going to kick us off here with a smile. Three Chechen girls have been arrested1 for hustling thousands of dollars out of ISIS militants by posing as potential brides.
  • Two high-level Afghan militants have either died or have had their deaths revealed this week – this is interesting on what the ambiguity around Mullah Omar, leader of the Afghan Taliban, meant for dealing with them
  • After a pretty horrific act of settler terrorism in the West Bank, Jonathan Freedland and Max Fisher point out the obvious link between disgusting hate speech, discriminatory policies, and acts of violence
  • Interesting perspective on the nuclear deal and Iran’s post-revolutionary history
  • Back to ISIS. A fascinating, detailed account of ISIS’ takeover and rule, written by a former resident of Mosul. A sort of general overview of what we know, or don’t know, about ISIS. And the really quite upsetting story, in part because I thought they were still alive, of the only survivor of the forty Indian construction workers taken hostage when Mosul fell.
  • Good critique of Obama’s worn-out discourse on Africa, and the baffling story of the Gambian-Americans who tried to come home and overthrow a dictator
  • Strong pieces from the Guardian on the ‘migrant crisis’ at a European and British level.
  • Fascinating, on the small-time drug dealer who became a hero during Hurricane Katrina
  • This collection of thoughts from doctors on how they’d like to be treated at the end of their lives is interesting, if a bit one-note, but it reminded me of this harrowing but wonderful New Yorker piece on a similar note, which I read a while back2
  • Interesting, this. All-round terrible person and mediocre writer Brendan O’Neill has got some opinions on London I kind of mostly agree with, while probably all right person and excellent writer Joel Golby has got some I kind of don’t. I will forgive him for the paragraph about Herbert, though. Also, this is interesting, on what is officially the cheapest city for Londoners to commute from.
  • None of this struck me as even remotely familiar but this reminiscence on working in a call centre is kind of lovely
  • Bit bleak but kind of cool – on the possible end of morning-drinking in Manhattan
  • Absolutely ridiculously long, even for Golby, but this “list of every type of friend you have in your life right now” is very funny3
  • Nice history of Sid Meier’s Pirates

And there we are! Another list over, and now I’m off to work. Have a lovely week all. X


1even this is pretty grim tbh they should have been given medals

2I think I read it possibly the week after knocking the reading list on the head, and I immediately considered reviving it

3stick around for the “gym friend” at least

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