Well yes so football, apparently. Any excuse to throw beer in the air instead of down your neck which seems to be the more logical place for it to go. For those of you who enjoy such diversions, have a jolly nice time and we hope you get the result you want. As for The Cut… business as usual.
This week, that business includes the race to document the Titanic before it vanishes, an extremely horrible book and the pitfalls of translating English nonsense verse into Chinese.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
The Olympics is, fortunately, just around the corner. We won’t question the logic of staging a huge international sporting contest in a country which has just declared a Covid emergency. We are, however, intrigued by the tussle over gender in sport which has led a couple of leading athletes to be disqualified from competition. As writer Laurie Penny points out, there are interesting comparisons to be drawn about natural physical advantage, which always seem to work in the boy’s favour…
The Titanic is disappearing. Literally eaten away by the actions of the tide and marine life, a race is on to capture as much detail as possible before the ship vanishes into a cloud of rust and fine debris. While we’re all over the idea of space exploration, this seems like a bold step into the unknown indeed.
Kafkaesque is too mild a term for this next story, in which a French woman finds herself in the worst possible scenario—declared dead and unable to prove otherwise. As a cautionary tale about the perils of overzealous bureaucracy, it’s hard to beat.
There are certain books which should never have been created. There’s a strong argument that Mein Kampf should never have seen the right side of a printing press. The idea of an edition of The Koran written in the blood of Saddam Hussein feels like an idea plucked from the brainmeat of Clive Barker or another writer on the more deranged end of the horror spectrum. But it’s real. Worse, no-one can decide for sure what to do with it…
The Forbidden Book Written in the Blood of Saddam Hussein
Ok, things have started to get a little dark. Let’s lighten the mood. We loved the idea of a mischievous spirit gaming the Spotify micropayments system by putting up a short song which, when played, donates a bit of cash to a tree-planting initiative. Add this to all your playlists, Readership, and let’s get some green into the world.
The phrase ‘lost in translation’ is doing some heavy lifting in this piece for The Believer. Chinese is a very precise and straightforward language with little room or patience for nonsense words. Which makes the translation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books a bit of a challenge. ‘Oh frabjous day! Calloo callay!’ Is a tricky one to put into pictograms…
Slaying the Chinese Jabberwock
Cocktails are great. Little sips of happiness. One is a good time. Two is a party. Three is… well, therein lie many stories. The culture of cocktails is rich and expansive and of course, like all such things, missing a chunk of history. Let’s look at the women who were pivotal to the mixological world and yet seem strangely forgotten.
We are not, strange as it may seem, massive gamers. But we are huge comics fans. And gigantic geeks. So the idea of a massive role-playing game where comics creators duke it out over imaginary territory and kudos is very attractive. Brace yourself as we enter the world of War For Rayuba!
The big hum in SFnal circles this week rotates around Isabel Fall’s story I Sexually Identify As An Attack Helicopter. Nominated for a ton of high-level awards, Isabel retracted the story from initial publication for… oh, look, check it out and make up your own mind. The story is highly pertinent to the struggles going on in SF right now and honestly, the arts in general. Is it ever possible to truly express yourself without fear of social media snark?
And finally. Another boost up for our beloved X&HTeammates. We are delighted to share the conversation pal Stuart Wright had on his brilliant Britflicks podcast with pal Simon Aitken about his brilliant anthology movie Modern Love. Stu and Simon are both doing amazing work getting low-budget British film-making out and talked about. The least we can do is share the love, which we do with a big smile because we love them both. Subscribe to Stu’s podcast. Stream Simon’s film. Support British movies.
Rob inserts himself into the feed…
This week’s Exit Music goes out to my nephew George and his lovely partner Frankie who move into their first house this weekend. I wish them all the joy in the world, but it’s still a weird moment to see someone I’ve known from the nappy stage become a homeowner. I could have been around more as an uncle. Hence the choice of track. The one thing you never have enough of is time.
See you next Saturday, time travellers.