It’s All Hallow’s Eve Eve! The second spookiest day of the year. We hope and trust you’re all feeling the chill in your bones as the spirits whirl around us. A few seasonal links for you in amongst our usual level of nonsense. We’re trying not to theme it too heavily.
However, we do have bits on pumpkin carving, haunted houses and ghostwriting so, you know, your mileage may vary.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
But first, a continuation of last week’s musings on chicken nuggets, as we consider the most important part of any cooked breakfast—the hash brown. Or browns, depending on your location. We brook no argument. It’s not a cooked breakfast without a big chip or two.
Why do we carve pumpkins into scary lanterns? Well, up until quite recently, we didn’t. Like the way we celebrate Halloween, the ‘tradition’ is comparatively modern. There’s history there, but not the story you know…
Another nod back to last week, as we join Paul McCartney in a wander around Liverpool, picking up the hints and traces which would become Eleanor Rigby. Lots to enjoy here as he takes us through different versions of the story and characters.
An Englishman’s home is his castle. In the USA, the status of the roof over your head can be far more fraught. The AV Club explore the haunted house story and how it keys into a particular kind of American anxiety…
The source of a story is a mystery to anyone who writes. It often comes to us in quiet moments. While walking, in the bath, sometimes out of dreams. Alongside that phenomenon comes the fear that someone else will have the same idea as you and will get it out there first. You’ll sometimes see that when a spate of films or books in a particular genre all come out at once. Sometimes, artists just have the same dreams at the same time.
Which brings us to New York in 1936, a screening of a surrealist film called Rose Hobart and an unexpected outburst from one member of the audience…
Next time the Cut Crew take a visit to London we will definitely head to Somerset House, where an exhibition is taking place on a truly iconic British publication—The Beano. Over 80 years of comic capers have firmly set it as a cornerstone of our culture, to the point when it can cheerfully satirise the establishment. One exhibit is the cease-and-desist order placed on Jacob Rees-Mogg for copyright infringement on the image of Softy Walter. A very proud moment for all involved…
An important part of any artistic endeavour is the moment when you find your own voice, showing the world how you present as a creative being. There’s one exception to the rule, though. Ghostwriters have to subsume and muffle their voice, pretending instead to be somebody else. Alex Sujong Laughlin writes about her life as a ghost, and what it look for her to break her artistic silence. We think this is the read of the week.
Not many people would call the creation of computer code to be writing. Unless, of course, you’re a coder yourself and can recognise the elegance in a well-crafted programme. A legendary name amongst the Ruby community is a character called why_the_lucky_stiff, whose work revolutionised how the language was taught and could be used. There’s a mystery at the heart of the story as well. Why_ burned hard and bright for a short while then simply disappeared…
We are not gamers, as we may have mentioned. The closest we come to playing is a quick blast of Candy Crush while we’re waiting for a bus. However, we’re becoming more fascinated by gaming itself—its language and the way people use games to process the world around them, building communities out of the strangest connections. We really enjoyed this bit in The Believer about so-called sandbox games, and how the ability to roam free in an never-ending landscape became a balm to many during lockdown.
And finally. A short piece on pianist Jim Dickinson, Wild Horses and the importance of simplicity. Sometimes it’s not about what you put in but what you leave out…
We dedicate this week’s Exit Music to those of us who have eyes beyond Hallowe’en, to the first of November and the opening salvo of Nanowrimo. We will not be ‘doing’ it in the traditional sense this year, but plan to spend the month usefully, picking up and hopefully finishing off some old drafts which we can then actually do something with. Nano is always a special time of year for us—difficult at times, a struggle towards the end of the month but inevitably worth the effort. Good luck to everyone about to begin the road to fifty thousand words. We’re with you. Feel free to chat about the process in the comments or have a moan if you like. We’re with you. Most importantly…Follow Your Bliss.
See you next Saturday, seekers.