What with the current dubious state of journalism, media (social and other), and the 24-hour news cycle, I find myself ever more thankful when Delayed Gratification magazine lands on the mat. They promise a lot and they make good on that promise. The current issue has an interactive artwork by Olafur Eliasson on the front cover. What more could you want? I can’t recommend it enough. For local news? If you’re in South-East London, you can’t go wrong with 853.
I added more books to the reading pile:
- The Thurber Carnival, James Thurber
- Mainlines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste, Lester Bangs
- They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Hanif Abdurraquib
- Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down: Rock ‘n’ Roll War Stories, Allan Jones
Articles / essays (some recent, some oldish) I’ve read which are worth a mention:
- The jokes always saved us: humour in the time of Stalin
- The Bleak Humour of Tehran’s One and Only Standup Comic
- State of Satire
- Uber’s Path of Destruction
- Running Free: Looking Back 40 Years To The Birth Of NWOBHM
- How the Rolling Stones Made Tequila a Hit
- Sanity to Longevity: Improv’s Struggle with Playing Live Online
Music documentaries I’ve watched:
And the plan is to continue in this way until the situation changes.
Keep keeping safe.
As the amount of time we’re to spend keeping to ourselves is unknown – and following Alan Jacob’s suggestion to take some time in the current situation to read short stories and essays – I pulled all the short story collections off my “to read” shelf.
The plan is to not read collection after collection but to choose one story at a time from a particular collection, and then read that story in one sitting.
If I ever buy you a present it will be a safe bet that I will buy you books. It’s what I know.
I recently finished reading Hannah Fry’s book Hello World: How to Be Human In the Age of the Machine. It’s a clear, non-technical, myth deflating look at AI and the digital, similar to Tom Chatfield’s book How to Thrive in the Digital Age (2012) and the radio show The Digital Human, both of which I’ve extolled the virtues of.
Magnolia Electric Co. – Song For Willie
I recently finished reading Erin Osmon’s book Jason Molina: Riding With the Ghost. There’s a lot to recommend it: details such as Jason’s teenage bands having reassuringly teenage band names (Chronic Insanity anyone?), my hope fulfilled the book would look at the Midwest music scene (subject for Osmon’s next book maybe please?), and the excellent analysis of Jason’s music throughout.
Early Day Miners – Sans Revival
I’m looking forward to the paperback publication of Erin Osman’s Jason Molina: Riding With The Ghost. Not just because the book is about Molina, but because I’ve always thought there’s a book to be had in writing about the bands that sprung up in the Midwest during the late 90s and early zeros; bands like Songs: Ohia and Early Day Miners, who both released records on the Secretly Canadian label; and looking at the blurb to Osman’s book, she might have written it.
As I recently mentioned the preface to the novel I Hate The Internet (though, yes, Kobek does call it a “note”), here’s another good one (and tellingly on the same subject) from Doug Stanhope’s book Digging Up Mother: A Love Story.
Towards the end of Stanhope’s book, when he writes about his mother’s last few hours, it resonated with a book I read last summer: Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal. Both books deal with the death of a parent: a mother in Stanhope’s case; a father in Gawande’s. They deal with it very differently mind you.
And though I say Stanhope’s account is excellent, timely, and necessary, so as to push against any chance of a narrative forming about how you should deal with, or react to, death and dying; this doesn’t mean I think it’s any better, or preferable to, Gawande’s account, or the way Gawande deals with his father’s death – no one knows how, when the time comes, just how they will react: as Stanhope acknowledges, ‘maybe we’re just different.’
But what comes across in both books – the best way I can describe it – is the trust that is established, in the end, between the person living and the one dying. That’s not a trust the books suggest, by any means, is easily won or everyone will achieve. But
Stanhope and Gawande at least give us a chance to see it exists, and that it might be achievable to the extent our different situations and circumstances allow.
Reading: Either Side of Winter, Benjamin Markovits
Jarett Kobek has just published a new novel. I finished reading his last novel, I Hate The Internet, recently and liked it, so will be looking to read this new one.
I Hate the Internet the UK edition has a great note at the start:
I still feel (perhaps sadly to some?) a sense of anticipation and excitement when I’m just about to start a new book. This note definitely added to that.
The note is also a good indication to what to expect from the novel.
Reading: Digging Up Mother: A Love Story, Doug Stanhope