It’s been a horrible week. We’re not going to try and sugarcoat it. The day job has been punishing, the news from home and abroad almost unbearable. We’re making the attempt not to let it all roll over us, crushing our bones into the tarmac and greasing its dreadful wheels with our tears. A reset isn’t possible under these circumstances—we need to learn a lesson and find a way forward which doesn’t simply shrug off events.
And also focus on some good things, like the construction and polish of this newsletter. Writing and reading is a balm. We intend to slather it on thickly this weekend. We hope you can join us.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
A couple of Substack links floating around this week. A pivot into good comics and food writing has led us to view the platform much more fondly than in the past. It’s all about how you curate your feed, we guess. First up, in a second hit in two weeks for Roxane Gay’s The Audacity, guest writer Christola Phoenix gives us a lovely urban story of hope, poverty and the numbers game.
Remember VHS? Somewhere in The Cut’s archive we have boxes of the things. Whether they’ll still play if we load them into a machine is a fraught question—the oxide on the tapes on which the signal is carried becomes sticky and prone to breaking off over time, even if it’s carefully stored. The creases and corruption of the carrier have become, for some people, part of the charm. And there’s also thirty years of broadcast ephemera that only really lives on these tapes.
Oh, how we love Nancy and Lee. The perfect pairing of a gruff old geezer with a bruised but hopeful heart and a sweet young girl who’s not as innocent as she seems is a great combination. Compare Nancy Sinatra’s pure tones with Lee Hazlewood’s exquisite song craft and you have an album for the ages. The Music Desk recommends you check this one out.
We have indulged a lot in comfort food this week as a way to lighten our sorrowful mood. Pie, Chinese takeaway, lots of chocolate. And you know what, it really has helped. Preparing and eating a meal you know you’ll enjoy can actually elevate your mood, as this great set of interviews in The Guardian shows.
Sometimes you don’t even need to do the cooking. Watching a show like Diners, Drive-ins And Dives can be a comfort in itself. Allowing the small, homey places with a good local following their chance to shine has innumerable benefits to the business and to the viewer. We always take notes on how to prepare big vats of good-looking stews, sauces and marinades. Then, of course, there’s the host, Guy Fieri, who by refusing to change or be anything other than his big-hearted self, has gradually started to earn the respect of his peers. For the Cut Crew, it’s good to see them catch up. Guy has always been our mayor.
We are all citizens of Flavortown.
A couple of interesting bits on mythical characters, and how their stories came to be told and retold, changing gently over the centuries. let us speak first of a near-forgotten outlaw, the mysterious Fulk Fitzwarin…
If Fulk seems a little familiar, well, myths and legends have a way of intertwining. Which brings us to the most famous fictional bandit of them all. We really enjoyed this overview of a great bit of 80s telly, which had a lot of clever writing and a fat stack of research to fuel the excitement and romance…
Let’s move onto another sort of fictional character. We’re all starting to see that ‘Boris Johnson’ is a construct, an artifice based on the archetype of the affable clown. This is camouflage, of course, disguising a far less acceptable figure whose personal and professional failings have laid this country low. Consider, then, the fictional character we voted to high office and the man behind the clown paint…
Ugh, we need a livener after that. This Substack listicle is quite a neat idea—a compilation of links to good food writers alongside a tasty little quote. Sort of a snack box of delicious nibbly bits. A writerly picky tea. Dig in!
Snack Life or Comfort Food (Slight Return).
The Cut is slightly short this week—we just couldn’t muster up the energy to get your full ten up. Please accept our apologies. We will try to do better. The situation wasn’t helped with the rotten news as we were finishing up that Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode moved on this week. That did pick our Exit Music for today, although we wish we had a happier reason for playing our favourite bit of bombastic, dramatic synth-pop.
See you next Saturday, survivors.