We’re told to go out. We’re told to stay in. We’re told we can gather in groups. No, not that many people. The Situation changes with every passing day. Is there nothing on which you can depend?
Just us, o Readership. The Cut’s record of dependability, of delivering what we say when we say, speaks for itself. That’ll probably fall over next week. Until it does we are the only publication you can trust.
This week, free jazz against fascism, the joy of rice and a profile of the actor everyone hated. Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
A wide-ranging music section this week. We begin in Tupelo, the town with a righteous claim to fame–it’s produced more Elvis tribute artists than anywhere else. What, you think they just come out of thin air? There’s training involved here, folks! There’s hairstyle instruction! It’s a competitive field, and the rewards are manifold…
It would be easy to diss Mariah Carey. She is a figure ripe for parody and ridicule. But that hasn’t stopped her from becoming an iconic singer and recording artist with a trunkful of hits. She’s also done it her way, writing her own tunes and living her life as it suits her best. You may not be a fan of her music, but after reading this Vulture profile you may be more appreciative of the woman.
Marc Bolan was the very definition of the star that shone brightly for far too short a time. A prime architect of glam rock, an early and enthusiastic supporter of punk rock and the guy who could rock a feather boa like no-one else. With the release of a covers album of his music, Alexis Petrides looks at the man and the glitter bomb he exploded over the seventies. There’s even a helpful Spotify playlist of deep cuts to get you in the mood.
To close out the music section, a quick look at a loose but ferocious collection of musicians using free jazz as a form of anti-fascist protest in Denmark. We can’t help but think bringing the noise is an excellent way of turning the tables on a very nasty resurgence in far-right agitation.
Right, we’ve got the tunes, let’s head to the kitchen. Who here likes fried rice? Mmhmm, thought so. How about pancakes? Yes, as expected. In that case, my hungries, have we got a treat for you!
For such a simple food, rice is surprisingly contetious. We linked in Issue 12 to the irascible Uncle Roger and his horrified reaction to Western takes on egg fried rice. Best not to get involved in any discussion on jollof–as Jamie Oliver discovered, the one point on which Ghanaian and Nigerian opinion meshes on the subject is how badly he messed up the iconic African rice dish when he tried to make it. The Guardian looks more closely at one of the world’s staple foods, and how different cultures treat the grain.
Yes, yes, we know, a lot of Guardian links in this week’s Cut. We will not apologise for including this brilliant piece on rewilding farmer Derek Gow. Pressure on the land has never been higher as an increasing population demands cheap food. Returning rural landscapes to a better natural balance instead of trying and failing to bend it to our will has real and quick-to-see benefits for everyone and everything. Bring back the beavers!
We start our entertainment section with a review of a movie featuring an absolute cracker of a cast. Who wouldn’t want to see an action thriller starring John Rhys-Davies, Laura Dern and George Clooney? Grab your popcorn and settle back, Readership. Let’s enjoy Grizzly 2!
Hannah Berry is Britain’s current Comics Laureate. Her work is funny, sharply-crafted and thoughtful. In this article for the British Council, she’s clear-eyed but sombre on the state of the comics nation and the challenges anyone who wants to make a living in the Realm of The Ninth Art will face. Now more than ever, it’s tough to be a star of the gutters. As Jack Kirby said, ‘comics will break your heart.’
Rex Harrison made a living portraying a particular kind of Englishman–the stiff upper lip personified. A little cold, emotionally distant but with a warm core. Away from the stage and cinema screen, Harrison was all that and less, with hardly any sense of redeeming features. The warmth he brought to his roles was replaced by a block of ice. In short, he was a monster and universally disliked. Graham McCann profiles him for the British Comedy Guide. We remain astonished that he got as far as he did with the attitude he presented to the world.
One for the writers among us. Punctuation is a vital part of clear communication–the difference between ‘let’s eat, Grandma’ and ‘let’s eat Grandma.’ For many, though, proper punctuation is just not that big a deal. Why sweat a misplaced apostrophe? We at The Cut understand both stances, realising that language is an ever-changing situation. It’s still important to understand the rules in order to break them, we feel. And a little historical perspective never hurt. Therefore, although we appreciate this is not for everyone, we urge you to check this look at the history and evolution of punctuation.
This week’s Exit Music is brought to you by the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series. Or rather, the new iteration now that musical artists can’t cram into Bob Boilen’s office to play and sing. The acclaimed series of short, intimate shows is now being recorded by musicians at home, but it was clear viewers missed the iconic backdrop of shelves crammed with memorabilia.
How then, do Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas look as if they’re in Seattle as they present two recent songs? The answer is refreshingly low-tech, and worth sticking around to the end to see. Also, we like Billie’s way with a tune.
See you in seven.