And we’re back. We hope you were suitably well-behaved whilst we were off being all windswept and interesting. Thanks for the love you showed last week’s archive post. If you care to go digging there’s plenty more on the site—Excuses And Half Truths has been running for a veeeery long time.
Anyway, let’s have some linkery. This week: singing cars, a simple cut-up and the worst writer in the village.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
Fans of a franchise are never happy unless they can complain about something. Whether a property isn’t truthful enough to the source, too truthful to the source—as long as there’s an element of the material not to their liking, toxic fans will whine loudly and at length. Especially if the VFX doesn’t match their mind-bogglingly high expectations. From the first iteration of Sonic The Hedgehog to She-Hulk, gods help the poor CGI supervisor if the keyboard warriors don’t like your work. However, it’s not all their fault. Budgets and time constraints are brutal. Also, it’s not just the fans they have to please…
Comics, as The Ninth Arts Desk defines it, are a winning combination of script, art and lettering along with the special magic which comes from the interpretation and inner voice the reader brings along. This is an art form where auteur theory can be applied—one person could do everything. But in general, there’s a team in place for every funny-book. The creative team along with an editorial crew work together to bring the magic to the page. However, there’s an increasingly loud school of opinion which places all the glory on the gilded brow of the writer. The script is vital, sure. But it’s literally half the story…
Sandwiches are important. A good sandwich, made with care and great ingredients, can lift your day. We prefer a sarnie to any other kind of lunch-time comestible, and the choice is almost limitless. If you can put some sort of filling inside some sort of bread and have it stay put on the short journey between plate and mouth, you’re golden. We would not dare to make a judgement as to the greatest sandwich of all time. The good citizens of Binghamton in New York State have no such hesitation. For them, if you’re talking about a sandwich, you’re talking about the spiedie.
The crypto crash has become a rich fount of hilarity and tragedy this week as the numbers go through the floor and the technology’s ponzu-scheme roots become clearer. As ever, the idea is good. It’s when people get involved that things go south. The culture which grew around the sector shares much of its DNA with the kind of finance bros who make The Wolf Of Wall Street look like a puppy. Cut Crush and fearsome internet pixie Laurie Penny shares her experiences at a seaborne crypto convention in 2018. It’s a wild ride.
Let’s check out a more wholesome activity. Collage is fun. Making new art from old is deeply satisfying. It can be as simple or complex as you choose. Pick the right two pieces of art and one cut could be all you need.
We’re sort of in the market for a new Cutmobile, which has sent editor Rob down a rabbit-hole of car research. By rabbit-hole we mean of course a vast, echoing underground cathedral. There’s a lot to read about. It’s sensible to look at electric vehicles, or at the very least hybrids. The technology built into the new breed of vehicles is remarkable, and touches every aspect of the driving experience. Right down to the noise the car makes when you put your foot on the pedal.
Like most people, we don’t pick up a pen very often these days. The odd birthday card. The occasional signature on an invoice. Otherwise, it’s all keyboard all the time. This primary interface between person and internet is viewed as the main reason why people stopped writing. Josh Giesbrecht has a different view. The problem, in his opinion, started with one of the greatest innovations in the writing world…
We absolutely loved this portrait of the last years of Jean Rhys. It says so much about her personality and the demons who shared her house and mind. We think her ramshackle cottage and the cluttered mess in her head became a shared space, the borders between each blurring and smearing away. In the end, it didn’t matter where she lived. She was free.
And finally. Most members of The Readership probably won’t know about Biggles, a classic example of pulp hero from the same school of British exceptionalism which brought us Empire-defending brutes like James Bond. His adventures were part of the cultural landscape for boys in the first half of the twentieth century. These days, W. E. John’s stories are barely readable, although they still have a propulsive verve which, if you’re prepared to put on your ‘of it’s time’ goggles, can still be entertaining. Author Charlie Stross offers a thought experiment where he retools Biggles for his particular flavour of expansive SF. Charlie insists he doesn’t have the time or energy to write the book. That’s a darn shame, because we’d read the heck out of it.
In yet another team-building exercise, The Cut Crew zoomed up to Birmingham this week to see Crowded House (as you’ll have noticed from Thursday’s blog entry, available for your reading pleasure right under this one). This makes our choice of Exit Music both really easy and incredibly difficult. There’s a lot of Crowded House to pick from. So we went with the first tune to pop into our head—which isn’t a song of theirs at all. However, it’s not quite that simple.
Nothing Wrong With You comes from The Finn Brothers, Tim and Neil, who were the core members of Crowded House for the moment when the band broke big. Their relationship has always been tempestuous, but the sparks struck from when they bang together are glorious. This track fits perfectly into the Crowded wheelhouse. It’s a lovely tune with gorgeous harmonies and an important message. The whole album which Nothing Wrong With You comes, Everyone Is Here, is well worth your attention. And if it tips you down the slippery slide of Crowdie fandom, then our job is done. It would be lovely to have you.
See you next Saturday.