25th of September: Wrestling With Chrome

Chrome is crashing constantly so compiling this week’s list has been like pulling teeth. Just so you know the effort I go to for you.

I’ve been listening to Runaway a lot recently, more so than I have in ages, and it’s so good. But also, my thumb keeps slipping on Spotify and giving me the other Runaway. Which is also kind of really good too? Which is nice cos normally when you slip and pick the wrong song on Spotify it’s a stupid string quartet cover version.

  • Kind of grimly interesting on how the US government has reformed its approach to the families of hostages
  • Among certain circles, British decolonisation and counterinsurgency is sort of held up as a model of “hearts and minds” COIN. This history of the brutal and sordid war in Malaya sort of punctures that eight billion times.
  • Speaking of sordid! We’re still selling arms to Saudi Arabia and contorting ourselves into knots to justify it. I wish I had been writing my dissertation this year rather than last year this is much juicier than “technically India was doing some mass killings in the 90s”.
  • This refugee housing project in Athens is kind of inspiring and nice.
  • Little reappraisal of the blitz from Richard Overy, probably interesting to me and me alone but oh well it’s my blog
  • So another author came out with a high profile and misguided intervention about appropriation and identity politics that I didn’t bother to engage with because life is so short, like I feel death’s cold hand on my shoulder every time I consider wasting my time with these rants. But anyway there were a couple of measured responses at least – from Nesrine Malik and Jia Tolentino.
  • New book out this week, The Good Immigrant, sounds interesting and valuable. Conveniently, loads of the essays contained in it have been published elsewhere. You’ve probably seen this thing by Riz Ahmed on airport security, it’s good. And this by Kieran Yates on being in between two worlds is really great.
  • Kinda beautiful little story about working as a cleaner I guess?
  • Oh god why am I reading and sharing U.S election stuff again death’s cold hand is tight on my shoulder – anyway. Seen a lot of disingenuous shit about young people being about to hand the election to Trump. This was quite sharp on the bad logic of those calls.
  • This is nuanced and interesting about porn. It’s in The New Yorker! So it’s classy and refined, but it is about porn so IDK careful where you click.
  • On [ugh] athleisure. But actually pretty fascinating on evolving vestimentary norms and class and gender and stuff and also yoga pants.
  • Had never heard of the Lucas Plan, tellingly. Sounds amazing.
  • Honestly this is kind of US-centric from the title on down but it’s a little bit of an amazing tirade against autumn or “fall”. It’s good.
  • ugh Freshers’ content.* But this is actually Emily Reynolds being really good and gentle on taking care of your head when you leave for university and I probably wish I had had it in 2011. Alas I am not followed by many youths so this is not really saving a life. Also this little bit of #content was quite amusing and #relatable and I hate everything.**
  • There’s a bit in here where someone suggests deporting the whole UCL campus to the countryside. Not unrelated to my previous point on Freshers, but I say to that plan: good. Anyway it’s important and eye-opening on cycling infrastructure and how much of an uphill struggle reforms to make London more liveable are. Also it’s about that god-awful road that runs through UCL so some nostalgia value for all my alumni readers.
  • This is lovely. Literally just eighty million words by someone out to drink their first ever coke but it’s so good.
  • Stumbled across this very cool and pretty website, Roads & Kingdoms the other day. Largely travel writing, I think. Worth having a trawl through this it’s all kind of fascinating. I pulled out this one about a ruined palace in Kabul and this one about meal planning in the Antarctic.
  • Sort of bleak account of Real Madrid’s (and I imagine other clubs’) youth academy
  • I liked this by Carl Anka on the value of the player character in the new FIFA being a black guy.
  • Some nerdery here on how Wales played the FIFA rankings to set themselves up for the Euros.
  • Cool tribute to The Blueprint, fifteen years on.
  • This “history” of Use Your Illusion seems to mostly just be quotes from Slash’s autobiography which is disappointing but still.
  • Don’t think I’ve ever read something properly about Kanye and 50 Cent’s rivalry but this is cool.
  • IDK, art. On the one hand the story of this woman who sought out famous photographers to take her picture is bizarre and interesting, but on the other, *fart noises*
  • Is Usher making a comeback? That’d be nice, I miss him.
  • Deep dives on celebrity gossip news are so compelling to me IDK why. On the end of Brangelina [ugh].
  • This article needed about fifty more photos of cool book covers because book covers are great but still quite interesting on re-editions and re-brandings of old-ass classics.
  • There’s probably a more mature response to all these luxury flat owners complaining that the Tate’s viewing platform overlooks their apartment but my main reaction is “lol rekt”. Sorry.

That’s that! Have a lovely Sunday! xx

*I wish some of the lowest parts of my life weren’t tied up with such regularly re-hashable forms of content. Every September, till I die probably? I’ll be compelled to read more shit lists and relive the whole sorry time.

**I was the keen little nerd that set up a Facebook group for Max Rayne house before leaving for university. Don’t know why. I remember developing deep and abiding hatreds of several people in my halls of residence that never really faded and don’t think I ever got anything positive out of the group. Just a little bit of fun anecdote for you there, loyal readers.

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