2021, done. That was a wild ride, right? All the fun of 2020 with an added layer of paranoia, existential dread and looming societal collapse. Who’d have thought we’d become so skilled at the fine art of the Latty Flow, plunging swabs down our throats and up our noses with as much grace and aplomb as such activities can allow?
But here we are in 2022, by the grace of an entirely arbitrary time-reckoning system. Reset count to zero, brush that dirt off your shoulder, face the sunrise. After much discussion amongst the many Desks, we have decided not to offer a review or best-of list for last year. Why should our tastes be any more interesting or relevant than yours? If you’d like to educate us in your favourite music, film, telly or perhaps even comic of the last twelve months, then please do. You know we love to hear from you.
We start 2022 with a positive mental attitude, an eye on the future and a drink in either paw. We hope you can do the same, Readership.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is Season 3 of The Cut.
So may we start. The opening one-shot sequence to Leos Carax and Sparks’ amazing psychodrama musical Annette took seventeen tries to get right. How come? Well, let’s take a peek at take nine. Perseverance will out. Keep an eye on Ron and his struggle with his jacket…
Book banning is wrong. It feels weird even writing that sentence. It’s one of those self-evident truths, a constant like gravity or the importance of vaccines. It’s unfortunate that some blinkered types view any challenge to their limited world view as one which should be erased. Handily, censorship is self defeating, as a group of American parents found out after trying to purge their local library of problematic titles. It seems that the best way to get people interested in a book is to make it more difficult to get hold of.
Hawkeye on Disney+ has been, rightfully, a hit with fans and critics. It’s a perfect mix of drama, comedy and action and the Christmas-in-New- York setting is just glorious. Of course, we need to acknowledge the huge debt the programme owes to the Matt Fraction and David Aja comics run (still one of the Ninth Art Desk’s favourites EVAR) both in terms of visual style and bravura storytelling. Here’s a breakdown of what makes the series so special.
OK, before you start on the hoary ole goats on the Music Desk honking on about grime, a couple of side notes. Editor Rob has roots in the area of East London in which the genre was born. Also, this article is as much about food as music, two of this newsletter’s enduring loves. Thirdly, any opportunity to play the sheer unapologetic joy that is Jaxor’s tribute to cheap street eats ‘Junior Spesh’ has to be grabbed with both mitts. ‘One pound and fifty pence, fifty pence, fifty pence…’
Here’s a way to spend January positively, without all that Dry or Vegan self-flagellation. Now is not the time to deny yourself. Instead, grab a drinkie and a snackeroo and spend a little bit of every day with some cracking short films from around the world. You will find something to love in this list, trust us.
Here’s a brilliant short comic on other strategies for the liminal period before the world grinds back into motion from Emily Flake at The Nib. We feel this strip has much value for all of us at this difficult time of year.
Kristine Howard AKA Web Goddess is one of the OG bloggers, dishing up fresh links and news you can use since the year 2000. Like us, she started and just kinda never stopped. We love this recent travelogue cataloguing her trip with husband The Snook to Moominland by train and sea. It almost feels like you’re tagging along. Also, we really wanna go to Moominland now.
We plan to include more short fiction in Season 3 of The Cut. A little light reading is good for the soul. If nothing else, it gives us another vector of interesting material to dig out for your hungry, hungry eyes. So may we start with this lovely piece of SF from Jenifer K. Leigh, looking forward to a future where humans and dolphins co-exist as partners in a world changed for the better.
The 1954 SF story The Cold Equations is held up as a great example of the genre, highlighting the extreme hazards of space travel. The story is, to be frank, spectacularly bleak. It’s true that space is overwhelmingly hostile to us. Interplanetary travel, let alone interstellar, is so fraught with death traps that we are genuinely better off letting robots do all the work. But, as Cory Doctorow points out, The Cold Equations is unnecessarily cruel, the science based on a very specific set of circumstances engineered by the author. Worth bearing in mind when you’re confronted with any no-good-choice scenario. Screw you, Kobayashi Maru.
And finally. It would be foolish of us to simply ignore the ongoing spectre of The Omichron Variant (still sounds like a Star Trek episode to us) as we hop over the kerb and into the traffic stream of 2022. How do we navigate this strange new territory? Comedian Richard Herring has A Modest Proposal which could become government policy. Don’t tell us your anti-vaccer rellies haven’t mentioned something similar over the past few months…
And finally finally. We could turn our back on 2021, damning it as the shittiest of all shit-shows, the clumpiest of clusterfucks. We shouldn’t forget the achievements made in sport, music, art, film, literature and all the other things which bring us joy which were accomplished in the face of and under the constraints of a global pandemic. A lot of good stuff happened in 2021. As Ian Dunt points out, one achievement shines out above all others, and it’s one which will influence how this year goes.
Always a delight when the Cut’s Bespoke Musical Algorithm comes up with the perfect choice of Exit Music for the week. Not only is this a top tune with the perfect title, it’s also a cat video.
Come on. You know we like to spoil you.
See you next Saturday, newbies.