Another week down. The shops reopened, but frankly we’re happy behind the walls of our compound, letting all the goodies we need come to us. Queueing, we have decided, is not our bag. We may never shop in the old-fashioned way again. Anyway. Let’s do this. Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
We’ll start with some rotten news so as to get it out of the way. Comics Twitter has rung this week with multiple accusations of predatory behaviour levelled at creators Cameron Stewart and Warren Ellis. Ellis in particular has long been a favourite at Excuses And Half Truths, so this news stings hard. Neither have yet addressed the accusations directly, although Ellis’ primary comms vector is his email newsletter that lands on Sundays. Should make for an interesting read if it arrives. Our stance at The Cut is clear—we stand with, believe and support the women in these cases.
More on the situation from comics retailer Mike Sterling of Progressive Ruin: https://www.progressiveruin.com/2020/06/18/buy-a-cd-said-the-guy-obviously-in-his-50s/
Ugh, that was depressing. Let’s move on. A few years ago, one of X&HT mainstay Rob’s side hustles was writing a blog on ethical fashion. Those of you that have met him and see the way he dresses may be surprised by that. Although he hung up his on-trend writing cloak a while back, our news feeds still tickle with the occasional tip from fashion land. This piece, on the way That Darn Situation has affected the business and will likely complete upend its traditional business structures, is fascinating and speaks to the one big truth we’re all facing—everything is changing, and faster than we can possibly imagine.
Talking of change, the sudden uproot and dunk of Edward Colston’s statue earlier in the month continues to resonate in all sorts of unexpected ways. Our engagement with public artworks has flipped as we discuss and try to contextualise them in ways we would not have considered before. Colston has long been a divisive figure in Bristol’s history—the music venue named after him has been planning to change its name for years, so perhaps we should not have been surprised when the bronze hit the water. Here’s a slightly different interpretation on events from The Quietus, viewing the whole incident and its aftermath as a work of art in its own right.
The video of the week has to be this extraordinary lockdown version of Alien. The invention and lateral thinking that has gone into the set and creature design is simply jaw-dropping. The end result gives a real sense of the original while having it’s own identity. This cheered us up enormously.
We have long been fans of animator Richard Williams. The Readership probably know him best as the mastermind who melded live-action and animation in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. His magnum opus, however, was The Thief And The Cobbler, which remained unfinished at the time of his death. Comic Book Resources takes a deep dive into the history of the project, and a glimpse of what might have been.
A couple of foodie things. This love letter to London wine bar and restaurant 40 Maltby St came to us courtesy of @smugfacelazybones on the Twitter. It’s just the sort of elegiac and evocative food writing we really enjoy. We also recommend signing up for the Vittles newsletter. Some really tasty stuff awaits you.
We also thoroughly enjoyed this Eater video in which chef Nyesha Arrington was challenged to come up with Tacos two ways from the ingredients and materials in her home kitchen. Watching a skilled cook problem-solve and retrofit a recipe is endlessly fascinating to us, and the food Nyesha eventually produces looks so, so good. We were entranced, helped no end by chef Arrington’s engaging and easy camera presence. We think you’ll dig it.
Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings is a great source of thoughtful and insightful essays on art and culture. We have lost days in her archive. This piece on the love letters of Moomin-mamma Tove Jansson is lovely, having something of the atmosphere of the books. Bracing, ethereal and slightly melancholy. Suits the mood of Situation-World, don’t ya think?
And finally. In a screeching doughnut-turn of tone, we were cheered by this set of interviews with the people behind and sometimes inside some of our best-loved TV puppets. Sadly it’s missing the most surreal of them all, Gilbert The Alien, but this is still a lovely wander round some sweet memories of Saturday morning and weekday afternoon telly.
This week’s End Music features Washington sludge-monsters Melvins. Their first TV appearance in 1995 shows them in typically noisy, snarky form, running rings round a hapless interviewer before melting the front row with a caustic blast of grungery. Volume to eleven for this one, please. Further context via Dangerous Minds: https://dangerousminds.net/comments/the_melvins_mind-melting_first_ever_television_appearance
Here endeth the japery. It’s been a weird, slightly sad week for us, with occasional bright spots. We hope yours has been better. Thanks as ever for joining us here at the coalface of the information mines. See you in seven.