By the time this episode drops, the Cut Crew will be on retreat, comfortably snugged into a big cottage by the sea, somewhere far from Reading. It will be a time of healing, a chance to regain perspective, a moment to reflect and re-energise as the world swings into whatever it’s deciding to call normal this week. We hope, Readership, you’re able to find your own path through the woods and out into the sunshine.
In this episode—purple Smurfs, Duke Ellington’s tips on creativity and the costumes of Ferris Bueller.
If (time) = NOW and (place) = HERE then (this) = … anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
We think by now you know how fascinated we are by the mutagenic properties of language. How words can change their meaning, how pronunciation shifts. How do you say ‘Uranus?’ When exactly did we start every sentence with ‘So…’? No phenomenon more clearly shows this mutation than the Italian New Jersey accent. Even if you’re no Sopranos fan, we think you’re gonna dig this…
The Smurfs. Harmless, sweet cartoon characters, cleanly-drawn but simplistic creations with nothing to bring us but entertainment. Right? Nah, come on. This is comics we’re talking about, and you know by now The Ninth Art always has a lesson for us. Join Comic Book Bin in a look back at the story of the Purple Smurfs, a cautionary tale with very powerful links to The Situation…
Two-Tone is forty! How old do you feel right now, cos the greying heads of the Music Desk have just drooped a little lower with an audible groan. As a massive new exhibition on the scene, the fashion and the music launches in Coventry, let’s take a look at the history of a movement which even now stands as an exemplar of what you can do with a dream and a handful of killer beats.
We were delighted to see one of our local celebrity chefs, Tom Kerridge, team up with food hero Marcus Rashford to bring us a new series of easy introductory cooking vids. The pair have a lot in common—both suffered food poverty when they were boys and both understand how important it is to feed kids well. Tom tells us more about the new project and how it felt to teach Marcus how to peel a carrot…
In The Situation, many of us have found comfort in the establishment and nurturing of ritual. Whether it be a series of workouts with Joe Wicks, the same walk round the park every day or simply checking in with friends and family at a given time each week, applying structure to a seemingly formless stretch of time really can help us cope. Food, of course, can be part of that ritual. The Guardian chats to a few people who achieve serenity through repetition at breakfast or lunch….
Quizzes have become a big deal through The Situation. Again, this can be part of developing a ritual, if you’re doing it with the same people every week. We’re a nation of quizzers anyway, so the boom in online question-mastery should be no idea. Writing a quiz is an art on itself and can often reveal more than the setter thinks about their likes and personality. Journalist Martin Belam, who’s just started up a new weekly session for The Guardian, discusses the perks and pitfalls…
One more on finding structure in the everyday Situation from a frequent favourite of ours, Austin Kleon. The idea and mechanics of work has taken a huge swerve into unknown territory. Events like the commute, the lunchtime sandwich, the quick pint before home time have vanished from our lives for the most part. The work day depends on good connectivity but has become at the same time much less connected. With nods to journalist Studs Turkel and cartoonist Richard Scarry, Austin asks a really important question—what do people do all day?
“I remember once talking to Jane Fonda,” Rossellini recalls, “and she talked about how we women are born having to interpret an ideal of beauty that isn’t created by women; rather it is an impersonation of woman.”
Isabella Rossellini on absolutely ferocious form. That’s all you need to know.
As writers and film fans who grew up in the John Hughes era, how could we not be influenced by movies like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? They showed us places and people who were and were not like us all at once, where a dance party during detention or singing ‘Twist And Shout’ at a parade were, somehow, achievable. We have a confession to make—this interview with the costume designer on both films, Marilyn Vance, went into the link-list this week almost sight unseen. It’s quintessential Cut fodder.
And finally. Subtle Maneuvers is another newsletter which comes with a hearty recommendation from the editorial desk. This article, on how jazz legend Duke Ellington took inspiration from everything around him, spoke very strongly to us as a way to keep us creative and engaged. It’s easier now than ever to shut yourself off from the world. There’s no need for it. Just keep your eyes and ears open and let the world give you clues.
An example of that very thing. Martin Belam, the quizmaster we talked about earlier, regularly talks about Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties. You know, the thing where everyone presses play on an agreed album at the same time and live-tweets about it. Martin was discussing this week’s record, but we’d missed the part where he said what it was. So we clicked on the provided link and were transported back to our youth, and a piece of music which spoke so clearly about our travels this week although we hadn’t heard it in years. Synchronicity or what? A gift from the cosmos. We couldn’t resist dropping it as our Exit Music.
See you next Saturday, road warriors.