The Cut Season 2 Episode 2

(image courtesy of our pal and X&HTeam-mate Dominic Wade – more of his work available to view here.)

Right, who had a third UK lockdown, calls for a second Trump impeachment and shots fired in the Capitol Building on their Apocalypse Bingo card? Us neither. Nice to see 2021 is off to a slow and gentle start, eh? Allow us to ease you into the first proper weekend of the new year with our mix of effervescent nerdery. You’ll feel both smarter, cooler and more refreshed. That’s our promise to you or your moneys back.

Lo! This am place. Now am time. This am The Cut.

A spite house is not somewhere to gather and hiss at people you don’t like out of the window (although sometimes we think that might not be such a bad idea). No, the idea is to build a structure with the express and explicit purpose of pissing someone else off. Imagine hating another person enough to drop a house-sized wedge of cash just to give them a stress ulcer. The commitment to the cause is simply mind-blowing.

Tricksters, inventors of stadium house and all round masters of discord The KLF dropped a very sweet New year’s gift to us — a managed rollout of their self-deleted back catalogue on streaming services and the Tube of You. Great to hear the old tunes again in decent quality. The Quietus has an overview of the strange life and curious times of the band most likely to burn a million quid.

Meanwhile Paul Duane, chronicler of all things Drummond, has released a new movie on the latter-day activities of the group. No longer music creators, they are finding new usefulness as pyramid-builders and funeral directors…

We love a good heist story. The planning. The things that go wrong halfway. The hair’s breadth getaway. The inevitable double-cross and betrayal. This story has none of those things but it’s still a thrilling and fascinating recount of Argentina’s most famous bank raid, and the characters who very nearly got away with a fortune…

As mentioned previously, phew, lockdown, eh? Frankly, we’ve never been fans of threequels and the timing of this one just sucks. What are we to do with ourselves? Well, Anneli at Pigletish has a few ideas. One hundred, to be exact…

We interrupt our regular programming to introduce another Readership Compatability Test. Are you the sort of person who would enjoy an exhaustive breakdown of the best pens on offer in five different categories? If not…well, we’ve got our eyes on you, sunshine. Notes are being taken. If it’s a yes then BOY HOWDY HAS WE GOT A TREAT FOR YOUSE.

We were recently introduced to Helen Lewis’ most excellent newsletter, The Bluestocking. Fine chat and insight on culture, criticism and writing. A high and solid recommend. We were especially drawn to this overview of the new TV adaptation of a beloved Terry Prachett Discworld strand. We’d just say, if you’re a fan of the Ahnk-Morpork Watch books, you may want to steer clear…

There is something both creepy and endearing about Twin Strangers, a site which allows you to find and even meet the person who looks almost exactly like you. It’s narcissistic and wildly stalkery, but there’s a sweetness about the joy people have found in seeking out that very special someone. Kottke has more…

Back in the day we were big fans of Elijah Quashie, AKA the Chicken Connoisseur. He applied a steely eye and refined taste to the chicken shops of London and the South-East, rating chips, wings, strip burgers and the general vibe brought to the joint by the bossman on a tightly controlled scale. After a long set of hiatuses, he’s announced a comeback and an expansion of remit. Check your creps and stand by for action!

We have all the time in the world for Nick Cave, especially when he lets his dark gunslinger guise relax to display the goofy side of his nature. For Interview magazine, he reveals some of his lockdown activities. Cute drawings of small fluffy animals feature surprisingly strongly…

For any SF or fantasy writer, world-building is an essential skill. Setting your story in an entirely imaginary universe is a tricky proposition with a ton of potential pitfalls. Too much detail, not enough detail, scientific or geographical implausibility. It’s a proper spiny hog’s nest. Some of our most popular modern skiffy authors share their secrets for putting us in the frame…

And finally, a couple of shouts to X&HTeam-mates with projects in which our Rob had involvement. Firstly, we are delighted to mention a new episode of KaijuFM’s show of chance, coincidence and conversation, Of Dice And Robs. Maythorne and Wickings ramble cheerfully on two of their randomly chosen topics, allowing the chat to wander where it will. It’s a gentle, warm hug of a show.

We’d like to finish up with some excellent news from our pal Simon Aitken. After seven years of work his second feature, Modern Love, is launching on Amazon Prime—appropriately on Valentine’s Day! An anthology film, Simon embraces all sorts of different dramatic techniques to talk about the glorious tribulations surrounding the most universal of subjects. Full disclosure, our Rob has a technical credit on this. We won’t let that stop us from unreservedly recommending Modern Love. Make a date.

Given the events of a week which feels like an accelerated recap of 2020 with an extra dollop of surreal on top, we know it can feel hard to be positive. In times like these, we always turn to the favourite sons of Athens, Georgia (the state who just hammered the last nail into the Republican Party’s hold on the Senate). Crank up the jangularity and holler along, why doncha? We are hope despite the times.

See you in seven. Stay safe.


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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