We are slowly coming out of our bubble. The first in-person meet with members of our affiliate organisation Reading Writers took place this week, a hybrid affair with Zoom folk and room folk—a technical challenge which we just about fumbled through. It was nice to be out and seeing people, but the thought of Covid cases still going up gives us pause. Is this the right thing to do? Is it still too soon to be making this step? We may yet find the bubble closing back around us.
Oh, look, let’s not get too gloomy, though. It’s the weekend. Read all about tacos and medieval tennis and yes go on then Jake Gyllenhaal.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
As readers of this largely Berkshire-based newsletter, you will be delighted to hear the San Francisco Gate has hired a new Taco correspondent. La Dona is a musician and writer with a real sense of purpose. Her personality shines through in her work. She really sold the Food Desk on her review of La Taqueria, and we believe she’ll do the same for you. Who’s hungry?
On the recommendation of internet pixie Laurie Penny we recently started following Funranium Labs. Their main claim to fame is the creation of some of the world’s strongest cold-brew coffee, Black Blood Of The Earth (a must try but handle with care). But Phil B, the man at the heart of the group is also a scientist and thinker who knows a bit about how to navigate the murky inlets and hidden bays of social media without scuttling yourself. This, on trolls and how to keep secrets online, is essential reading.
What connects Genesis frontman Phil Collins and ex-Rotten John Lydon? Well, the following article for one thing. This, from Quillette, is also a sharp and surprisingly moving piece on the nature of fame and rivalry. The Music Desk has long been fascinated by the interstices between prog and punk. The two musical genres share more moving parts than might be obvious.
If we could agitate for a sport to be represented in the 2024 Paris Olympics, it would be this one. It looks like a fun spectator sport and a clear precursor to every racket game played today. The Campaign starts here!
A fine example of autobiography in comics form from Teresa Wong, who does some very clever things with simple page-turn techniques. This is simple but highly effective and quietly moving. A new way to think about what goes on between the gutters of the panels on a comics page—that magical place where the reader becomes a part of the story.
Certain members of the Cut Crew are confirmed Gyllenhaalics and would string up the editorial staff by their innards if they didn’t share this excellent bio of Jake in the Indie. His performance in The Guilty (currently streaming on Netflix) is riveting, holding your attention through the ninety minutes of what is essentially a one-man show.
Another interview, this time with actor Kumail Nanjiani, set to become the breakout star of Marvel’s Eternals this November. He chats frankly about both the physical and mental work that went into his transformation into Bollywood star and immortal warrior Kingo. These performances are never just phoned in, ya know…
Branislav Kropilak takes photos of billboards from unusual angles. They are strangely science-fictiony, ethereal, moody and beautiful. Our words don’t do them justice. Go look.
The food interwebs have been all about Salt Bae this week, boggling at the Instagram chef’s inflated prices and ridiculous food. People clearly go there to be seen and to be seen to spend. But there is a more interesting question to be asked about the high-end dining scene (and sneer or don’t, Salt Bae’s prices make his restaurant a high-end experience). Why does it cost so much to eat at a Michelin-starred joint?
And finally. Choice in the age of streaming services has become a trap. How do you decide what to watch on a Saturday night? At what point do you give up and just pick something at random? Film-maker Charlie Shackleton has leant into this feeling. His film The Afterlight has been designed to be almost impossible to find and watch. We wonder how artists who struggle to get their voices heard feel about this reversal, but it’s an interesting experiment (and one which, with Guardian coverage and a showing at the London Film Festival is almost certain to fail).
One banjo, one oddly-held double bass. Two singers. Some simple dance moves and very clever editing. We are bouncing along to The Dead South this week, and are pleased to introduce you, beloved Readership to In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company. Bounce with us.
See you next Saturday, pardners.