28th of August: Bank Holiday Reading

Here we are again and that. Got some links to share with you and it’s already past 12 so I’m going to cut the pre-amble cos I want to have breakfast.

Song of the week reappeared in my life because it’s been buried in my gym playlist for years and since we last spoke I have started going to the gym again (yes lads). It’s from Tom Morello’s short-lived second supergroup, Street Sweeper Social Club, and it’s the special edition with a whole extra guitar solo. Naturally I lived for this song when I was 17, but it’s still cool. SSSC are worth checking out – all the tacky lyrics and chunky guitar of Rage, but slightly cooler.

  • The good thing about studying political violence is you sort of get a sense of how bad and intractable things are. Think Fisher does a good job of drawing on that literature to explain how bad Syria is, as if that was in any doubt.
  • There’s a possibility if you described this piece to me (without telling me who wrote it – Heather is good) I’d have rolled my eyes a bit but it’s kind of poignant – a review of a documentary about a group of Syrian refugee women putting on a classical Greek play
  • This is premised as a look at how Trump undermines nuclear orthodoxy and destabilises deterrence but it’s also kind of an intriguing peek into the terrifying logic of deterrence.
  • The small mercy of the sheer violence of the image of armed men undressing an old lady on the beach is that it’s spared us some of the “actually you don’t understand laicité” #takes. Also IDK I’ve gotten better at ignoring irritating opinions because epistemic closure is actually extremely good for my blood pressure. Anyway, this is good and quick (could do with being longer) tbh on the issue, and this is a good interview (in French) with Olivier Roy on the burkini more broadly.
  • Obviously has to be remembered that the author of this piece is a white American lady denied entry to the country, not a Somali asylum seeker, but it’s still a grim look at the realities of border controls. I don’t think she’s unaware of her privilege, and that sort of makes it worse – this was probably a relatively nice experience.
  • Two thoughts occurred reading this piece on how Brexit could still take years – a) exhausting b) They’re going to have to hire loads of civil servants – if I had graduated a year later I probably would have been in contention for a round of the Civil Service Fast Stream with the laxest entry standards ever, but I’d have been three times more indebted and also actively participating in ruining the country so you know. Swings and roundabouts.
  • This is interesting on the policing and security challenges ISIS pose in Europe but with one quibble. You’ll know what I mean when I say that police officer was not sipping whisky like some sort of Raymond Chandler character. That did not happen.
  • I almost want to read this one again it’s wild. The author was in JFK airport when rumours of a shooting caused a mass panic and it was almost as bad as if there had actually been an attack? It’s terrifying but gripping.
  • Bowling is kind of cute and sad somehow, and never more so in the case of this fella who bowled so hard it nearly killed him (apologies and hat tip to Sam Diss)
  • My girlfriend looked over my shoulder and saw me reading this and raised an eyebrow at me but it’s really interesting! How female athletes deal with having boobs, basically.
  • Ticket scalping remains some vile nonsense.
  • The teens with their social media! What are they up to? I don’t know. This was really cute and respectful though – the author actually listened to some teens explain the norms of their social media behaviour and didn’t just make up stuff and judge them.
  • Golby being broken down by the awful Mrs. Brown’s Boys is good enough to get through my no-Golby rule imo.
  • This is wonderful and kind of life-affirming and go read it.
  • The inventor of the Super Soaker had a really interesting life and sounds like a nice guy! So nice all round. (he also has a nice voice if you want to click through to the recording)
  • OK so Vice is doing this series on university, partly as a response to the government’s decision on student grants, partly in a naked attempt to grab some of those sweet sweet “terrified about leaving for uni and googling” clicks. Anyway. Lot of it hasn’t been great because university content is pretty dire. Also, reading about university just makes me feel weird and sad and I hate it. Nevertheless – this piece on how despite fees and everything, university still offers opportunities for working class kids is important, and Golby (sorry) also did an actually useful and entertaining “list of stuff to take to university with you” piece which again, weird and sad but.*
  • On infantilising apps and stuff.
  • I used to love Smooth (it still bangs tbh) and I love that it has become a meme.
  • The Guardian’s Lost Cities series is so good, honestly worth just making yourself a big-ass pot of coffee and working your way through the lot on this fine bank holiday. This one is on a sunken city off the coast of Egypt.
  • Good Beth McColl piece on mindfulness.
  • This is funny – a gathering of ex-girlfriends.
  • I’ve never listened to Kate Nash but still liked this tribute to it cos it’s a good piece.
  • On the other hand, I love Carly Rae Jepsen and I love E-MO-TION but I thought this was maybe a bit overwrought even though I normally like the author? Is it just me? Idk why I even shared it, it’s my list. whatever.

There we have it, lads. Enjoy carnival, or enjoy chilling for the bank holiday, or if you’re not in London or the UK IDK what you do? Have fun regardless x

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