The Cut Season 2 Episode 3

Dunno about you, Readership, but we are starting to get a bit bored with this whole living in interesting times bit. We’d rather read about history, not find ourselves living it. We assume you’re covered when it comes to the Trump thing and the Covid thing and the Brexit thing. That’s not why you’re here. You’re after some hot links to archive Soviet science fiction movies, or to read about the bars at the South Pole, or to check out the un-nerving return of Seinfeld, right? Well, you, our loves, have come to the right time and place.

This is The Cut, and we haven’t had our breakfast yet.

Our featured image this week is by Michael Bennett, a shutterbug specialising in a pleasingly bleak style of British seaside photography. Mixing social realism and a sharp eye for tiny stories, his work commissioned for a gallery in Llandudno was a little too accurate a portrayal of life in the North Wales town in the late seventies for their tastes. Mothballed until 2019, we’re only now getting the chance to enjoy Bennett’s gritty, luminous images. More after the link…

No less an authority than Alex DiCampi bigged up this post by Kim O’Connor for Shelfdust, calling it ‘absolutely, hands down, the best article about making comics you will ever read.’ Who are we to argue with the Mighty One? If you follow the Ninth Art, we recommend you grab a seltzer and a snack and dig the heck in, pilgrim.

A Sharper Image: Kim O’Connor on Spawn #1

In YES YET ANOTHER of our Readership Compatability Tests (all we really care about is your undying and unquestioning loyalty), we want to know how interested you are in a big list of Soviet science fiction movies over the last sixty years. All free to stream, all very much your bag if you like it slow, bleak and desperately meaningful ‘entertainment’. Yes, of course Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Aleksi German’s Hard To Be A God are in here. What kinda mooks do you take us for? Go get some!

Some TV shows have the perfect ending, and any attempt to rebuild or carry on seems both pointless and money-grubbing. Does anyone really want a Sex And The City reboot? Nah, thought not. We have to admit we’re intrigued by editor Dominick Nero’s take on a return to the dark world of Seinfeld. He’s doubling down on the evil at the show’s heart by making a follow up based on Twin Peaks-The Return. This is both really bloody odd and utterly bloody perfect. We recommend, especially if you feel you’ve been getting too much sleep lately…

Liminal space. Sounds kinda science-fictiony, and in some ways it is. Best described as the zones we enter while travelling, liminal space includes airports, bus stations, train termini—in other words, places to pass through that you never really want to get stuck in for any length of time. Earnest Pettie takes a look at the architecture of and prevailing mood hanging over such places, and considers how they sum up the times in which we find ourselves…

We all know fake news is something to be avoided, but it comes in all shapes and forms and can sneak up on you. A lot of the more stunning photos of the natural world which pop up on our timelines are nothing of the sort. Heavily manipulated or even CGI renders, they’re posted for the most unscrupulous of reasons—cold, hard cash. The Halifax Examiner talks to PicsPedant, one guy kicking against the pricks…

Debunking fake supermoons and other internet garbage

George Saunder’s last novel, Lincoln In The Bardo, won all the awards and rightly so. Saunders is a writer at the height of his powers, so it’s especially pleasing to see his new book examining the process, art and grunt work behind getting words on the page. George being George, there’s more to it than that, of course…

George Saunders on the Vitality of Fiction in Increasingly Turbulent Times

There are rough bars, the joints with reputations and clientele where you have to earn the right to admission. Then there are the bars that service the community who work one of the toughest gigs there is—Antarctica. Run on an honour and barter system, they are tended by folk who kinda fall into the gig and realise they can make a difference—or at least snag some serious kudos. Atlas Obscura talks to Philip Broughton, who, despite protestations, is the kind of guy who is perfect for the role. Why else would he have brought Angostura bitters to the South Pole?

Hit Netflix show The Queen’s Gambit has rekindled an interest in a game which seems to slip in and out of fashion like the tide. But how much do you really know about chess? We have dug into the archives of gaming site Rock Paper Shotgun, where the brilliant Kieron Gillen gives an important overview on all you need to know. Drop the fact that chess was invented in 1958 by Mr. Chess into your next Zoom social and see how impressed people are!

7-in-1 Magnetic Family Game: Chess

Und schlussendlich. Last week marked both the anniversary of David Bowie’s birth and death. There is still a school of opinion thinking he was holding the line against a tsunami of evil which has flooded the world since he passed five years ago. Is it a coincidence that Domuld Tromp and Bruxit happened after his rise to the higher plane? We’ll leave that to you, Readership. You’re all smart cookies. You don’t need us to show you which way the wind blows.

We have to have a bit of Bowie as our Exit Music. Which is of course, a hard ask. So much to choose from! Tempting as it would be to drop The Laughing Gnome or something from his godawful Tin Machine era on you, we choose to embrace the singular pleasure of his flirtation with drum ‘n’ bass, which provided us with a song we feel is a perfect sum-up of so many of his recurrent themes. The alien. The lost. The voice calling desperately to a home so, so far away. More Ziggy and Thomas Newton than Major Tom, but full of an unfathomable yearning meshed with, let’s be frank, a proper CHOON. And holy smokes, that video’s an eye-popper.

Little wonder he’s still so loved.

See you in seven, starchildren.

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

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