3rd of April: Can I Be Bothered?

Guess the answer to that is yes! I started compiling links this morning and realised taking the train to my girlfriend’s without a book means I get a lot of article-reading done! Consequently, lots of good reads for you all today! And proportionate levels of despair as I faced the prospect of writing this all – but here we are!

As promised last week, one off Kendrick’s new mix-tape untitled unmastered. Except it’s kind of all so good, with so many stand-out moments, that I struggled to pick. Could have gone for the (apparently) bit where he does a Drake impression to take the piss, or Cee-Lo Green’s guest appearance, or any point where he says “get God on the phone” or “levitate”, but I went with (I honestly hate the naming conventions I had to Rap Genius to work out which one I wanted) untitled 5. Got pretty Anna Wise singing and the first verse is incredible. Game-changer here, I’m having to link to Spotify as it’s not on Youtube! Enjoy.

  • Oddly, I saved this article, on the challenges and failings of Belgian institutions and politics that have made it one of the biggest sources of European foreign fighters, just after it was published, when Brussels was shut down for a day – I read it while watching the BBC reporting live on the recent attacks there. Anyway, it’s an interesting article and clearly speaks of a problem that wasn’t solved.
  • Never know what to make of Brazilian politics but this, from Jacobin* (more on them later) is a decent outline, capturing the complexity and different interests involved in the slow-rolling crisis there
  • Think this long article on the arms trade has some limitations (confession: I don’t remember what didn’t sit well with me anymore), but it’s as good a leftist critique as I’ve seen in a while
  • Tend to find criticism of the UN frustrating a lot of the time, but as this good piece from a departing senior official reminds me, there’s a lot to criticise! The article is good because it is written with lots of understanding of how the UN works and fails, and because there are concrete reforms of a kind of boring nature suggested.
  • God-awful headline, but interesting profile of the British ambassador to Ukraine and how she’s faced homophobia (and sexism!) in her career and in her postings
  • Very interesting review (by the Ask Polly author) of the memoirs of the mother of the Columbine shooters
  • Hadn’t heard a peep about this shooting outside the Sé cathedral in Sao Paulo. BuzzFeed went to investigate who the ‘hero’ was before his death – quite poignant
  • Cool, slightly surprising profile of an American border guard
  • Very cruel but funny letter to mid-level government officials who are going to be out of a job when Obama’s term ends
  • Apparently MSG is fine for your health, and it’s largely the victim of bad science and racism!
  • Kind of resisted clicking this one went it got circulated just because of how bad the Spectator is but it’s actually a really good account of how ‘political correctness’ improves people’s lives and it being published in that vile magazine is pretty decent
  • Cool feature on Jacobin magazine and its success – written in quite a pleasant tone. Somewhat surprising, given Vox and Jacobin’s politics and outlooks – I imagine there’s no love between them somehow.
  • Fascinating (somewhat dispiriting) on getting plastic out of the oceans, and a very bittersweet feature on how climate scientists cope with despair
  • Two decent articles on “Keep Calm and Carry On” – one is an interview with Owen Hatherley, the author of the other. I think he’s plugging a book.
  • Drifts a little bit at times, but very interesting on the psychology of public toilets. Could have done with less of the “maybe it’s because they’re scared of becoming gay” angle but. (good marketing here, you’re going to have to read the article to find out how wilfully misleading that sentence was)
  • Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Joel Golby. Anyone I’ve ever cooked for will know I’m cripplingly dependent on Jamie Oliver. So I was naturally very nervous when I found out which side of the “Is Jamie Oliver Bad” debate Golby was arguing in this piece. It’s good though.
  • I like this on “the internet’s boyfriends”
  • Fascinating bit of archaeology which uncovered the site of a massive Bronze Age battle
  • This, on adapting Japanese dating sims etc. for Western audiences, is kind of really creepy but there’s an interesting issue of translation and cultural differences within it
  • Little bit of history, on the massive exercises the U.S. Army carried out before WW2
  • Feels kind of odd getting Golby to do a serious piece, but I guess interviewing one of the survivors of that plane crash that had to eat other passengers to live is sort of his wheelhouse.
  • Chip critic is an incredible job and I want it.
  • Possibly just because this article gives me hope of being able to spin a stint behind the bar of a Spoons into some similarly buzzword-y and empowering stories, but I really like it! On the big lessons learned from working as a short-order chef.
  • This would have been more useful last weekend as it’s now the third of April, but a reminder that April Fools is bad. It’s history, here, and a classic Golby** takedown, here.
  • What do music genres really even mean these days? IDK read this article to find out
  •  Both of these articles are sort of interestingly positioned on the edges of PR strategies, I reckon. Possibly because Rihanna’s seems less cynical and annoying, I kind of prefer this review of her tour and how “real” it is. This one’s a bit old, and it’s on Taylor Swift, and I think it could have done with going a bit deeper, but it’s interesting enough if you take it as a description of her PR re-branding exercise kind of thing.
  • Speaking of brands, interesting feature on Brewdog – they do sound exhausting!
  • Not exhausting: The Lonely Island. I liked this little tribute to them (even though they’re not dead and even though the author’s love for them started about five years before I’d ever heard of them)
  • Really cool little look at how adaptations of just two comic book scenes misinterpreted them entirely and the perils of adaptation. IDK might not be interesting if you’ve not read Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns. If you haven’t maybe go do that and come back.
  • Finally, possibly NSFW, but quite funny on the people and bots replying to the Pope’s tweets.

And there we have it! Have a good week/fortnight xx

* and from an author I just realised I know. Spooky

**look if I’m going to break the no-Golby rule I imposed on myself, might as well go all out and break it three times. I was actually going to post a fourth thing by him but his personal site is broken so you’re safe!

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