Week Notes 2021-06

  • Above, the trailer for the new Adam Curtis series. I know, Curtis can sometimes be criticised for being more style than substance; but damn it if I don’t love that style. It’s just nice to lose yourself in that heady mix for an hour or so. Even if afterwards you’re not quite sure what you’ve learned.
  • If you’re watching it too then I can recommend rereading Adam Curtis: Social media is a scam from the Idler from a couple of years ago.
  • On a slightly different note, Two songs from The Muppet Movie is a rather beautiful essay about Muppet song lyrics:

It is a song about what you can and can’t believe in after a life filled with missed chances, casual cruelties, and dead family and friends. It’s a song shot full of the melancholy many of us remember most clearly in our own childhoods that has never gone away. It is every heartbreak you have ever had, every injury suffered to your body, mind, and pride. It is how you think about friendship and community when your community is broken and your friends are all so very far away. It is not about a cohort of happy dreamers. It is about how you care for your child inside when all your illusions are gone. It is the last illusion you keep, because without it, you would have nothing left.

  • Elsewhere, I’ve been reading a lot about writing practices, including Cory Doctorow on blogging for two decades.
  • And Oliver Burkeman on how to make writing less hard.
  • Plus, how to spend a year itself publishing RPGs (I’m not about to start self publish any role playing games but these kind of logs of the effort and processes people go through do fascinate me).
  • I also dipped into Seth Godin’s new book, The Practice: Ship creative work.
  • My reading slowed down a bunch this past fortnight as my mind was on other things. But I picked up The News of the World after reading good things about the Tom Hanks film recently. I think I’m a fan of Westerns now!
  • Finally this week, I watched a couple of weird documentaries.
  • First: A Glitch in the Matrix, directed by Rodney Ascher who also made one of my all-time favourite documentaries, Room 237. This new effort is not nearly as good as Room 237, but I do think some people are completely missing the point of this new film in the same way they misinterpreted Room 237. I’m going to have to write a bit more about this at some point because it frustrates me and fascinates me in equal measure.
  • The other doc was Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story directed by Steve Sullivan, from 2018. Recommended by a friend after we talked about King Rocker – A film about Robert Lloyd & The Nightingales (by Stewart Lee), this is essential for anyone who grew up watching Frank Sidebottom and wondering who the man behind the head was.
  • Music this week: a nice little single called… Lockdown 🙂

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