19th of June: bad fortnight

Just hasn’t been good, has it? Luckily for you, I think the balance of articles this week leans towards the light-hearted. I’m going on holiday but hopefully this’ll bring you some joy in my absence (yes I do hear myself).

I can’t work out if The Strokes are cool or not tbh. Pitchfork’s review of their recent EP was sort of positive but also dripping in contempt, but then that’s Pitchfork, right? Anyway, they’ve got a new EP out and I really liked it so w/e.

  • I’ve already voted in the referendum, for what little it’s worth, and then I’m out of the country the day of. Will try and resist the temptation to stay up waiting for the results. Anyway. Bleak times, here are some good things to read maybe, unless you’re, rightly, sick of the whole thing. This analysis of why Britain voted to leave was eerily prescient. A look at some of the things EU funds have made possible in the UK. The Leavers don’t seem to know what comes next, and don’t seem to care. Gary Younge pulls a good bait-and-switch on the “voters have been denied an honest debate on immigration” here – good lad. Finally, doesn’t get much more establishment than this, but feel like the FT sums up one good case for a Remain vote – YMMV, obv.
  • The Orlando shooting was horrible and tragic in its own right, but the more you read about the importance of LGBT clubs as a safe space, the sadder it all gets – this was lovely. Meanwhile, the back-and-forth of speculation over the shooter’s identity and motives was absurd and unedifying as ever, but thought David Shariatmadari was nuanced on it.
  • A political science-y, concrete analysis of the balance of forces on gun control in the States. Quite useful context to our immediate “why does this keep happening” responses
  • On the unexpected emotional toll of covering the refugee crisis
  • (FR) Considering Operation Sentinelle and whether it is the best use of military resources
  • Quite a minor story, and probably far from the greatest victim of Republican obstructionism, but this lady was nominated to be an ambassador and died tragically young without the appointment ever being approved by legislators. Just quite sad tbh.
  • I’ve never read the Frog and Toad stories, imagine they’re either before my time or an American thing but this is kind of lovely and sweet (this is me transitioning to the fun part, lads)
  • Meant to share one of these earlier, but it slipped, so you get a Hussein Kesavani double whammy! Two quite funny and entertaining “All the Shit You Have to Deal with…” pieces that also taught me stuff about the young Muslim experience in the UK. The first, on going to the pub, genuinely surprised me in parts (the part about remembering rounds is fascinating and should be so obvious!) and this on Ramadan, is fun.
  • Loosely interesting, despite being packed with a) disgusting heights and b) disgusting rich people, on the people living above 800ft in New York
  • This is kind of beautiful on Hindi, Gaelic, language-learning, and colonialism.
  • Sometimes think extended travel sounds gross and unacceptable. This is quite lovely on friendship through travel, I guess.
  • You’ve probably heard the “Polish cavalry charged against a tank brigade in 1939” thing. You, like me, probably took it at face value. You fool!
  • This looks like it’s going to be an extended ‘yer da’ joke but morphs into something quite poignant and sweet – Golby goes rogue. (remember Dragonite Dad? Undertones of that)
  • Don’t know what to make of this piece on McDonalds as community centre. It’s lovely and speaks to human empathy and the power of community, but it’s also a lot of extremely sad stories and quite a bleak picture. Idk. give them Spoons imo.
  • Iconic stuff here from Sam Diss – which Kanye is the best Kanye? Chop up the beats Kanye? Bad mood Kanye? Find out.
  • Glad to hear Usher is still a sex symbol.
  • On Jay Z’s guest verses as he ages.
  • So this was about as foreign to me as it was to the literal foreigner they’re explaining British nightlife to. IDK. Haven’t lived, I guess. Quite stressful when articles do this to me.
  • Remember Lonelygirl15? That was a weird time.
  • Detailed look at the material aspects of “Peak TV” and how it affects the careers and livelihoods of the people involved from actors to crew.
  • For Game of Thrones people – there was a lot of excitement over the show getting Ian McShane to do the “broken man” speech, but then in the show it was abridged and changed in strange ways – Sean T. Collins discusses the changes here in a more intelligent way than just “books good, show bad” (although.)
  • Finally, some joy – just a little playlist of adverts Matt Berry has voiced. That’s all.

 

Try and have a good week. It’ll be alright, I guess. Probably. Chin up. x

5th of June: Magnetic Spoons

Despite having quit and supposedly put the J.D. Wetherspoon (does my head in that there’s no S there) life behind me, this morning finds your author with a bottomless mug of filter coffee in the Norwich Spoons. Cannot escape this chain.

Obviously, I’m a week, two weeks, endlessly late. I opened my laptop last Sunday morning, hungover and bleary-eyed, and realised I’d built up a backlog of articles the size of a Large Breakfast (the menu is calling to me from the corner of my eye) and could not face it. Soz. I’m here now. Fair warning – it’s honestly too much effort for me to try and seriously organise this in any kind of way. There’s not much war chat so the traditional ranking doesn’t work, but apologies if it’s tonally whiplashy or I accidentally sandwich a serious article in between two about a water-skiing baby or something.

Song of the week is possibly a repeat (I’ve been doing this two years! This isn’t the radio guys, I’m limited and have boring music tastes!) but Yours To Keep is back on Spotify and man alive am I excited.

I’m gonna go get another coffee, despite the clear and present danger of caffeine sickness, so pull up a chair and away we go!

  • Kind of figured we’d hear about this sort of thing from Vanuatu or Bangladesh first, but Louisiana is also disappearing into the sea, and the government is having to consider how to resettle whole communities of climate refugees.
  • It is/was mental health awareness week, and Joe.co.uk (who appear to be one of those online men’s magazines that pop up every now and then and it’s hard to say if they’re more GQ or Nuts) did some really great articles. Carl Anka wrote about unemployment and depression twice, once as advice, once as personal anecdote, and both are really good. This piece on the author’s brother’s suicide is moving and important, despite, I think not being the first time I’ve read the story.
  • On a similar note, the wonderful Beth McColl (who seems to have stepped up from good tweets to good articles) wrote about antidepressants.
  • Interview with a little old lady who used to kill Nazis
  • This is cruel and mean and led Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch to start Twitter beef with Sam Kriss so it’s all A-OK in my book.
  • Sweet article about a banana-based faux pas and the Somali diaspora
  • Couple of articles on online recipe collections – on why BBC Food must stay (tbh I hate it it never has what I want from it – bin it imo) and what allrecipes.com reveals about people’s diets.
  • Jamie Oliver is the worst probably but also kind of irresistible. I liked this interview with him.
  • Sometimes I link an article on here even though I kind of thing it’ll only appeal to me, really, and that doesn’t matter because I’m the only one reading this thing (while writing, I’m not a loon who goes back to re-read myself (often) but I think that little buzz of “I want to share this” is what I missed when I binned this hell project for a while and why I honestly might never stop writing this stupid list even if it never takes off and makes me famous. Love to share good #content. There’s no link in this paragraph, just a little aside for you. Think the coffee is getting to me and making me chatty.
  • Bim Adewunmi on Chris Evans and American masculinity is a great combo and maybe it’s a bit silly but I love it.
  • Speaking of pecs, this is sort of reassuring on the difference between being fit and just having good-ass muscles. Of course, I’m reassured despite being neither fit nor muscled so that’s not much use.
  • I don’t think Spotify Discover Weekly is that good (it keeps “discovering” stuff like Marvin Gaye or Michael Jackson, like… well done?) but this is still very interesting on how it works.
  • OK I’m splicing this in because it’s honestly so important and powerful that I’m cheating and adding it on Sunday as I finish the post. That means it doesn’t naturally flow as it should and I’m sorry for that but if I wait till next list you’ll all have read it. Probably little bit of a content warning on this, it’s explicit and unsparing but after her rapist received a light sentence, this graduate read out a statement to him in court. It’s breathtaking and upsetting, off you go.
  • Sam Diss being quite elegiac and beautiful on West Ham’s last game at their stadium.
  • As someone who dreams of a smart-house and a Roomba and a thermostat that turns on when I am five minutes from home etc. etc. this was an upsetting read. Though it did feature a picture of a cat getting bantered off by a little robot so. EDIT: I’m reliably informed it was actually a cute dog so less satisfying but probably cuter.
  • This fella beat the all-you-can-eat restaurant game and is a hero. Sat here, feeling ill from trying to get my money’s worth out of free coffee refills, I only wish I was more like him.
  • Do you want to lose your whole afternoon on reddit and come out of it feeling really unsettled and creeped out? Do you? Good! There’s this weird story being posted in fragments across the different sub-reddits and threads and it’s developed a cult following and it’s so sinister and weird and yeah I was late for work the other week cos I was just reading it in full.
  • Game of Thrones is a bit lacklustre this season (it’s one thing for them to start overtaking the books but why are they now legging it to the end so quickly) so maybe just use this article on Blac Chyna’s rise to get your fix of dynastic intrigue. It’s some Littlefinger stuff, honestly.
  • You should probably get a password manager. So should I. lazy tho innit.
  • I was in the Radiohead queue nightmare too! This is interesting on online ticket touts and their scummy lives.
  • Honestly so excited to share this with you, lads. It is pure joy. The video makes me giggle, the cheap electronica makes my heart soar, and the absolute despair of the surrounding text is the icing on the cake. You thought I was joking earlier when I said “water-skiing baby”, didn’t you? Fools.
  • Beautiful writing on ‘letting go’ and also beautiful writing on loneliness
  • Idk it’s kind of weird and terrifying that people need like, encryption for just some pictures of their bits and it’s a sad state of affairs but… probably encrypt your bits I guess.
  • Oh man so this one is ridiculous and sort of almost a parody of white guilt but the thing is I do get stressed about which skin-tone emojis to use!
  • I love Ta-Nehisi Coates and this slightly sad story about him trying to move back to Brooklyn is moving and stuff. Idk feel like I’d probably read about him painting his fence or whatever, not fussed. But this is another one of those ones that might just appeal to me!
  • Some reflections on Battlefield 1 (why are games allowed to disregard numbering conventions so flagrantly) and war videogames. This one is thoughtful, this one is based on some maybe dubious history. I just think it’s a very exciting trailer tbh.
  • Something about this piece bothered me when I read it but w/e it’s still high-minded New Yorker writing about Game of Thrones. Also this analysis of the different contexts the books and TV have been created and understood in the past twenty years is very incisive and helpful.

Omg I’m done! 1200 words! Enjoy! Future-me is hopefully off to a barbecue! I’ll see you all (all three of you) whenever I get round to writing another one of these awful things. xoxo