10th of January: New Year, Same Blog

Yes I know it’s been a while, but I’m back now aren’t I? No review roundup this week, maybe not next week, as I haven’t really read many books apart from one WW2 history series that I kind of want to review as one, or maybe even put it standalone. We’ll see. Quite light on serious stuff this week.

Song of the week is by a 2015 Mercury Prize winner Benjamin Clementine which makes this about as cool and cutting edge as this blog has ever been. The album seems to sort of avoid big choruses for the most part so because this has one I think it’s my favourite.

As ever, this list is available as a fortnightly newsletter or here on fillingthelonghours dot com. Tell your friends.

  • Interesting article placing the Islamic State in the context of other insurgencies which held territory, instead of giving into their mythology.
  • Well worth skimming this one at least – a Syria analyst rounds up their ten most important developments in the country last year. I pay fairly close attention to events there and can’t say I could have told you more than about three of them.
  • Some nice stories in The Guardian from refugees who settled in the UK in the more or less recent past.
  • Sady Doyle has her critics somewhere on the internet, I’m sure, but I find her one of the most convincing and honest defenders of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Between the election seeming like a foregone conclusion and my not even having a vote there, I don’t really care, but this is good anyway.
  • Very touching and honest accounts of how prison affected their relationships with their fathers even after release.
  • Weight loss doesn’t solve everything, I guess, but this is a funny article.
  • Thump goes deep on a photo of Craig Charles getting well into a DJ set over Christmas.
  • A U.S warship is using a 3D printer to repair spare parts while it’s at sea. The future, man.
  • This might be one of those pieces that strikes me as fascinating and a bit terrifyingly intense but is actually normal to other people? IDK. It’s about a ‘friendship affair’ and whatever the relatability of it, it’s well-written I guess.
  • Love how these tips for people starting university drift between legitimate advice and surreal self-parody and god I don’t miss university in the slightest
  • I was actually livid at this piece (from the author of the M&Ms world one) on the Bake-Off – it started off looking like a savaging, but drifted into being pleasant.
  • One woman spent a year refusing to cede her personal space to men and wrote about it – it’s entertaining!
  • Very interesting writing on how technology and evolving social norms have affected attitudes to monogamy and relationships, but written from within the generation affected by these changes and not as “OMG Tinder is ruining the youth”.
  • Christmas is great and all but Christ, wrapping presents is vile.
  • A retrospective of rap in 2015, mostly centred around Drake which probably limits its scope but is entertaining anyway.
  • The resurgence of Age of Empires 2 is such a strange thing to have happened, and this article finally explains what actually went on.
  • I used to kind of love Die Another Day then found out it was possibly the most reviled of the James Bonds, which hurt my childhood a bit. So I like this defence.
  • Read a load of Star Wars thinkpieces over Christmas, as well as seeing the film another time. I don’t know why this is the only one I’ve saved for you but it’s probably good.

There we go. Have a lovely week (even though it’s January). x

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