15th of May: Dedication in Absentia

When you read this, I will not be in London, hunched over my laptop in a dark room on my own, but having a lovely birthday weekend at the beach.

To compensate for you all being so sad while I’m borderline happy, I decided to schedule a reading list to go up in my absence. Alas, I’ve not been reading much recently, as my current job doesn’t involve any substantial commute, so not much to be getting on with. Just checked and all my library books are overdue and all. Nightmare. Anyway.

Song of the week should probably be off Radiohead’s new album, but that’s too obvious and I’ve not heard anything beyond the singles (first, decent, second, quietly spectacular, is my informed review.) So went with a song picked at random off my favourite album of theirs. idk.

  • This is so weird! From the incompetence and farce of it all to the very uncomfortable sensation of being inside a photo-realistic FPS game, this Go-Pro video of a failed ISIS attack from the perspective of an ISIS fighter is unsettling and compelling. The analysis surrounding it is helpful too.
  • Meant to include this last time, and events have moved on somewhat, but thought this was decent and balanced on the Labour anti-semitism thing
  • Good defence of giving money to the homeless
  • Horrifying (in a kind of minor but also quite serious way) tale of Apple Music thieving libraries
  • One of those borderline-TMI (deliberately) accounts of IUD-insertion – fair warning, the worst part is when she spoils developments in Broad City, which was rude.
  • Thought this’d be lighter on The Thick of It (which I still haven’t seen!) when I started reading it but it’s still a really interesting article on comedy and satire and Armando Ianucci and the incredible Veep.
  • Good bit of embedded reporting in a fried chicken shop
  • Dwarf Fortress is another one of those that’s more interesting to read about, it seems, than to play. Good, in-depth interview, with its creator
  • The different ways 90s TV shows got drugs wrong sound hilarious tbh – had forgotten the absurd Fresh Prince plot just cos of how Real and Moving Will’s apology was
  • Clickhole has started to leave me behind me a bit but I liked pretending I was friends with Don and Roger
  • Tanks, LEGO, LEGO tanks! A technical achievement if nothing else
  • If you’re like me, you’re a disgrace who still can’t roll a burrito. Get wiser.

Hope you’re enjoying your weekends xxxx

May 1st: Only Space War

Wish I had handled those cloud articles last time around now, I’ve got to leave for work in about an hour. Happy May Day everyone, hope you enjoy your bank holiday weekend and that.

Partly because of time constraints, partly because it’s an odd set of topics this week, the usual “death-to-videogames” spectrum I normally order these in is a bit shaky, so probably worth skimming the lot. And apologies if I trivialise anything serious or genocidal by sandwiching it in between articles about games or comics.

Probably done this song of the week before because it’s pretty obvious, and by the time you read this it’ll be inaccurate, but IDC I’m late for work. It’s also beautiful so.

  • British politics has been very dispiriting and ugly this week, hasn’t it? To the point where the first link this week was about an ugly story I had forgotten about! Haven’t even got anything on vile Zac Goldsmith. Even though I think student politics is irrelevant and mostly bad, I liked this on the importance of the new NUS President in the face of attempts to demonise her
  • The Labour anti-semitism thing, eh? Lots of bad faith all round. Very difficult to articulate defences etc. without minimising or deflecting, as everyone has found (what a way for Livingstone to end his career though) Liked this from Sam Kriss on the topic, and while I think some of the surrounding arguments are shaky, this post does good work in looking at the evidence of Corbyn’s ‘antisemitism problem’ (Spoiler alert: it’s thin stuff)
  • Fascinating long read on Angola’s civil war and how it drew in the world and broke apartheid’s back (just realised this article invalidates the title of this week’s post oh well)
  • What is this piece? I don’t know! I eventually clocked it was about the weird life of working in Silicon Valley startups. It’s bitter and a bit sad and funny and so surreal what are these people up to.
  • Having seen many a sitcom episode on the perils of wedding plus-ones but been sort of baffled and weirded out by the concept in real life (twice as many guests? Strangers?), I liked this defence of them
  • Interview with the landlady of The French House, apparently  a Soho institution – imagine it’ll be luxury flats by July.
  • Having never played Minecraft, found this on how it’s influencing kids and the way they play and think very interesting
  • Never watched Catastrophe either! Liked this profile of Sharon Horgan though
  • These are two long-ish articles in the Guardian on food that are kind of unlikely to tell you anything you’ve not heard before but are still fairly interesting and well-told. On sugar, and on portions. The latter has a nice bit with celebrity chefs discussing their diets and portion control, though skip Gizzi Erskine who is so quirky I wanted to die reading it.
  • This is super long, like, it took me two days and I was bed-ridden* and of fairly narrow relevance. If you’ve heard anything about these Reactionaries they have now – I vaguely remember a prominent member of a guitar forum I used to frequent who I imagine would count – this is a decent, rigorous rebuttal of lots of their beliefs, which have a tendency to be so out-there and vile that you don’t really have counter-arguments ready.
  • Bit NSFW, I imagine, but given popular cultural associations of drugs and sex work, thought this was very interesting inside perspective on how those two actually interact.
  • Rather lovely by the New Statesman’s (I know) Stephen Bush on luck and literacy
  • To be expected from people who care this much about animals I guess, but dog shows are weird!
  • Your semi-regular reminder, as events heat up in virtual space, that EVE:Online sounds super boring to play but is absolutely fascinating to read about. On the current war brewing, and on a big manoeuvre in a past one.
  • More roads = more traffic – pedestrianise the lot imo
  • Feel a bit odd including these but I think they’re kind of lovely as tributes and as articles about being widowed (two different links there, sorry). I was moved and interested separately from having followed the author on Twitter a couple of years (with no idea he was a widower!) so think they’ll appeal I guess.
  • Prince stuff! Not much, still got obituaries sitting in my queue somewhere. You’ve probably all read an explanation from one site or another of why Prince is so hard to listen to online (Tidal, FFS) but here’s one**. Naturally, the only tribute I currently have is from the showrunner of New Girl, who recalled what it was like creating the episode he starred in. Finally, if you haven’t seen his solo on this performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, go for it – ignore all the chat around it tbh, it’s just Vox trying to disguise some shameless content aggregating. Finally, it isn’t just a trick of your imagination – lots of beloved celebrities are dying this year.
  • This is dark and bittersweet on The Sims, popularity, exploring sexuality, and all that fun teenage stuff.
  • Really long, intelligent chat about The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Kind of weird to think about the hospitality industry as something anyone does for more than minimum wage and for longer than is strictly necessary but this is nice on maitre d’s
  • Another thing I did while laid up – watch this half an hour case that Independence Day was Actually Good. IDK why. I agree! But wish it had been an article, as video is such a vile way to convey information.
  • On the other hand, this analysis of how Rihanna controls her image, particularly in music videos, is good and interesting
  • Drawing serious military lessons from the original trilogy of Star Wars cool
  • Think the enduring mythology of Paris is more interesting than the city itself, tbh. This is cool on the evolving relationship of Black Americans to the city.
  • This is like High Rise and Last Man In Tower and Judge Dredd but it’s real! Ponte City in Johannesburg – odd.
  • What is this? I don’t know. It’s probably offensive, sorry. It’s absurd and doesn’t deserve to be an article, but pursuing a Kanye lyric this far deserves a link imo.

There we go. Hope you have a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon. I’ll be the one pouring your pints (literally all of you separately).

*admittedly I mostly used that time to play Company of Heroes 2 – climbing that ladder, lads

**seriously think I saw one on every site on the Internet about 48 hours after his death. Content marches on.