Friday, July 3, 2015

Read it

I'm officially on holidays for a week from today, which means I have time to actually read a lot more journalism, particularly long-form, than I usually do when I'm paging through papers or scrolling through websites for just long enough to be sure I have a vague idea of what's going on everywhere without letting anything sink too far into my brain.

My break is getting off to a great start because so far I've read two terrific reads on two subjects I didn't think I cared about: Roger Federer and, um, I guess... America?

Brian Phillips doesn't mention the debt he owes to David Foster Wallace in his own version for Grantland but to me it's hard to avoid comparisons between Phillips' very good read and DFW'a wonderfully titled and by-now classic essay "Roger Federer as Religious Experience". I don't know though, maybe it's just because I don't read a lot about Federer and there's no comparison to be made.

Either way Phillips has some gorgeous prose and it's well worth reading the whole thing. If this opening doesn't hook you in it's probably not for you:
"Early on in Adam Roberts’s 2014 meta-sci-fi submarine-disaster novel, Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea, a French nuclear sub called the Plongeur begins to sink in the North Atlantic. The startled crew tries to regain command of the vessel, but nothing works. The controls don’t respond. The diver who’s sent out to reconnoiter the exterior of the ship with a flashlight doesn’t come back. The Plongeur is built to withstand pressure to a depth of a thousand meters or so. Beyond that, it will be crushed. And even if it isn’t, even if it somehow holds together against what Roberts calls “the unspeakable pressures of the profound deep,” it will build up so much speed as it falls that it will shatter when it hits the ocean floor."
Then there's Gary Younge's "Farewell to America" for The Guardian. This one shocked me because I wasn't sure there was anything new to read on this topic. Whether Younge's saying something new or saying something old, just beautifully, I'm not sure. It's a tremendous piece of writing though - get into it:
For the past couple of years the summers, like hurricanes, have had names. Not single names like Katrina or Floyd – but full names like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown. Like hurricanes, their arrival was both predictable and predicted, and yet somehow, when they landed, the effect was still shocking.
We do not yet know the name that will be attached to this particular season. He is still out there, playing Call of Duty, finding a way to feed his family or working to pay off his student loans. He (and it probably will be a he) has no idea that his days are numbered; and we have no idea what the number of those days will be.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Signs the rebooted Total Recall is not a great movie

1. Jessica Biel.
2. Kate Beckinsale.
3. Mark Bomback.
4. I love Philip K Dick short stories, have loved Colin Farrell in some things and have a certain nostalgic fondness for the original, yet I haaaaaaated it.

N.B: I couldn't quite bear to post a screenshot from this shitty movie so enjoy a slice of Farrell being cute in the lovely movie, In Bruges. I maybe need to see that movie again.

Things I wanted to say to the women having breakfast on the table next to me this morning:

1. You're so right: Mariah Carey and James Packer makes sense, somehow.

2. Jamie Dornan was underrated in 50 Shades of Grey. No, I also will (probably) not be reading Grey.

3. Can we be friends?

Monday, June 29, 2015


"Apparently every Disney woman is a clone/direct descendant of some primordial creature with huge round cheeks and a disturbingly small nose, because there is no other explanation (yes there is(it’s lazy sexism)) for the incredible lack of diversity among these female faces."

(Read the whole thing here)

Because otherwise I would need to have a long lie down

I choose to believe the "Manscriminate" campaign is a parody.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

As ever

The Guardian's Hadley Freedman is a delight.
A few weeks ago I read about a fashion advert that has been banned by the ASA. But what confuses me is why the advert existed in the first place. It seems to show a very ill girl lying on the floor – why would that sell clothes?Patrick, by emailAh, Patrick, Patrick, Patrick. I do not know what you do in life, Patrick, as your email was tantalisingly succinct, but I do know that you have – unwittingly, I suspect – taken on the role of truth-teller in this instance. Not for nothing does the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes use fashion as a metaphor and you, Patrick, are the young boy pointing your finger at the king’s nudity.
(You can and should read the whole thing here)

The Three Switches: a puzzle

Downstairs in a house are three identical on-off switches. One of them controls the lamp in the attic. The puzzle is to work out which switch controls the lamp.The rules are as follows. You are allowed to manipulate the switches all you like, and then you are allowed only one trip to the attic. How do you do it?
I don't know what's more tragic: that I didn't solve it or that I didn't solve it, despite having heard it once before.

Monday, June 15, 2015

"...white spiders..." (Hee!)

A semi-broke homebody's guide to turning that frown upside down after a rough day:

1. Make a big pot of dhaal makhani.

2. Taste-test elderly open bottle of wine.

3. Decide wine is okay.

4. Drink wine.

5. Eat a sensibly-portioned bowl of dhaal.

6. Eat a little more dhaal.

7. Soooo much more dhaal.

8. Lie on couch to watch Silicon Valley.

Overheard in the office

"Honestly any kind of rare disease is really okay with me."

Friday, June 12, 2015

Now I think about it "Pratt Train" sounds like a euphemism for... something.

I'm not sure when I got onboard the Chris Pratt train but apparently that happened. It's not even like I really want to do to him the things I want to do to, say, Tom Hardy. It's more like I'd like to be friends and hang out, maybe see a movie some time. Or go full Misery and tie him to the bed: EITHER WAY.

Questions and answers via Extreme Fan Club.