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.
Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei – ‘Weaving Medley: Busy Weaving / Julianne Johnson / Open Little Hand / Back Step Cindy (纺织忙 / 小开手)’
On his Freak Zone a few weeks ago, Stuart Maconie asked for recommendations of “alternative country records”. This got me thinking: what country records fall within the parameters of the Freak Zone? Then, by some YouTube algorithmical kismet, via a recommendation in an Alan Jacobs’ newsletter, I heard Abigail Washburn & Wu Fei. I’d found my first recommendation.
Parties can cultivate our connections to others, bring meaning to one another’s lives, and reveal the world with them. They can also confirm one another’s existences, serving as a reminder to friends that they matter, and that one matters to one’s friends. Moreover, the warmth and laughter that authentic partying sparks can help people cope with the chaos of life. De Beauvoir wrote of her wartime parties in occupied Paris: they saved up food stamps and then binged on food, fun and alcohol. They danced, sang, played music and improvised. The artist Dora Maar mimed bullfights, Sartre mimed orchestra-conducting in a cupboard, and Albert Camus banged on saucepan lids as if in a marching band
For those of us now attempting our parties and meet-ups via Zoom. The existentialists at least thought it worth persisting with.
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.
I was lucky enough early March to travel to Edinburgh with Improbotics to perform at the Edinburgh International Improv Festival. After the festival I took advantage of my geographical location to travel by train (and a ferry) to visit friends and family in Scotland and Ireland. Given recent events, and the restrictions currently in place, I’m very thankful I got the opportunity.
For the foreseeable there’s no shows on the horizon (obviously), but attempting a virtual session with Plus Support tonight and The Nursery on Monday; I admit I’m a doubter but have heard good things so willing to be converted. The rest of my time (aside from work work) is to be spent reading and in the watching of TV. Stay safe and keep washing those hands.
- Reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
- Viewing: Lots! Veep, The Righteous Gemstones, Curb, Modern Family, The Trip, Avenue 5 (thanks Sky Comedy), and Inside Number 9
- Music: The Building – Petra | Amigo the Devil – Everything is Fine
- Drinking: Guinness
It’s rare for a sitcom to reach it’s 11th, and final, season and for it to be still as funny as it was in it’s first season. But Modern Family is. Is it too early to start campaigning to bring it back before it has even finished?