20th November: At some remove

Timing’s a bit weird on this one, I guess. The last instalment was immediately before the election, and had I posted last week I guess we all still would have been in shock slightly but now this feels like the world we live in. It doesn’t matter too much. I’ve done alright at maintaining my position of minimising the amount of American politics I read about. I’ve still found myself reading more post-mortems than I’d like before realising that life is short. All this pre-amble to say that I’ve tried not to make this list all about Trump.

I settled on the song of the week about ten days ago. There’s a post-election piece later in the list about Marvin Gaye and it made me download What’s Goin On again and TBH as an album it’s kind of… a lot of filler and mumbling? IDK I know it’s a classic. but the title track is just so good. So ‘ave a bit of that.

  • Here’s that good Marvin Gaye thing actually.
  • OK. Two American election #takes and that’s your lot. One of which, odds are you’ll already have seen because most of my regular readers know each other and the author so why bother sharing it? cos it’s good, lads, and contains the line “evil always wins”. Also this from Dan O’Sullivan is good I thought.
  • Think it was Men’s Day yesterday. This one is old, and I might have shared it the first time round, but still think it’s worth reading – on the stiff upper lip killing us lads.
  • Wonderful defence of libraries.
  • This is kind of long and probably states the obvious at times but it’s a good unpicking of the notion of Western civilization.
  • It’s jumper season I guess (so cold) – this is cute.
  • God, remember Neopets? It’s still there, but just… a bit weird.
  • Always here for writing 6,000 words too many on a TV program. This extended critique of Ross from Friends is good.
  • Kinda lovely bit of stuff about bars.
  • This did the rounds after Leonard Cohen died, on the rise of Hallelujah. Bonus: the undercurrent of vicious contempt for Jeff Buckley.
  • This is just like an extended write-up of a PR stunt, but when the PR stunt happens in zero gravity I guess it’s OK.
  • Kind of quietly beautiful this – Golby went back to where he grew up and just wandered around I guess. Got that sort of slight sense of alienation I get when you English people talk about your childhoods like these are all standard experiences. What’s wrong with just playing Morrowind imo.
  • Oobah (not even a proper name) continues his reign of terror at Vice – this time, spending a night out in London without spending anything.

That’s your lot. Bye. x

6th of November: Maybe all the writing was bad this fortnight?

I don’t know what I’ve been doing this fortnight, because I can’t read actual books on the way to work (ty, crowded commuter trains) so all I have is my online #content. Can only assume it’s all been rubbish this week and I have emerged, beaten and bloodied, with these precious gems from the rubble.

Not complaining, mind, I hate having to write up 30-odd articles for you all.  Also there’s no real obvious order here, minimising my workload even further. Delighted.

Song of the week is maybe the weirdest but maybe my favourite of Bon Iver’s new album. It’s a terrible lyric video but it’s technically official so idk.

  • I bought a poppy last week (couldn’t get it on to my coat so it remained in my desk drawer for two days) and felt conflicted about it, like I was letting “them” win. Among the many good critiques of the whole poppy Thing, this one on the Royal British Legion was good. IDK. I’ve managed to pin it on to my winter coat now but I still feel a bit self-conscious because “they” have ruined it.*
  • Thought this essay on black male sexuality in pop culture was incredible.
  • In all fairness, my brief fortnight in a call centre wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the ones depicted here, but I do think there’s interesting points made about the future of low-paid service work.
  • Beth’s columns are always worth reading – this one on how to care for/be a friend to someone with depression is particularly sweet and sensitive
  • I’ve already shared this one with my premium subscribers so IDK if anyone will actually be left to read it. Anyway, it’s by the New Girl showrunner and it’s kind of world-weary and funny but also sharp about sexual assault and how women talk about it to one another. IDK, it made me do some thoughts.**
  • Weirdly, I never really think of Latin Americans as a specific migrant community in London. Dan Hancox is good on how they’re particularly suffering under gentrification.
  • Who reads the small print? This guy (for a week)
  • This piece on the vegan youtuber community is wild (What an exhausting phrase)
  • I like this Ruby Tandoh piece on food and Instagram and how we consume today, but I have one objection, which has always puzzled me with pre-food photography – doesn’t it get cold?
  • On growing up and mum’s recipes
  • Finally, this one might be a bit niche if you haven’t been tangential to American “natsec” Twitter, but I’ve actually interacted briefly with this Caruso fella in the past and unfollowed him several times as it became clear he was a bit of a knob. So this forensic savaging of his record and his behaviour is delicious and brutal.

That’s your lot, lads. Soz. x

*this is, of course, the amorphous they who ruin everything good and pure. I might just mean “the English” here, tbh

**I’m the dad.