We’re pulling up the drawbridge and dropping the portcullis. The world can crash and bang about on the other side of the walls for a while. It’s safe here and if you’re quick, we’ll hold the gate for you. Welcome, brave traveller. Cuppa tea, or something a little stronger?
This week, a feast in the air and from the sea, a hit of romance and a rough guide to The Sandman. Take a pew, pilgrim. We’ve got this.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
This is fun. The guy behind vole.wtf has taken the headlines of the newspapers in 2001: A Space Odyssey and used AI to make stories out of them. It all seems like such a bright and shiny future, unlike the toxic dumpster fire we seem to be living through. Although we do still have grizzly bears, so that’s one positive.
It takes a special kind of person to look at a hot air balloon and see it as a big flying barbecue. A person like Angélique Schmeinck, Dutch chef and, let’s be honest, deranged visionary. She isn’t just offering packed lunches here. The natural end point for the phrase ‘high table’?
Who knew France was threatened with nuclear annihilation by a rogue Pacific state in 1995? The threat was real enough. The aggressor in question? Less so. In a world where borders and boundaries are ever in flux, we shouldn’t be surprised that The Melchizedek Empire made a momentary splash. Nations are, at the most basic definition, agreements between sets of people. This story puts that theory to the point of breaking strain…
Everything we do is based on a decision tree. Should we get out of bed today or not? That decision sets off a branching set of circumstance which could have significant effects on your life. A decision razor is equally important. It enables you to slice through the cruft and figure out which way works best for you. There’s some old saws in this listicle, but a lot of useful stuff too.
The Ninth Art Desk has been vibrating across the office with excitement as the release of Netflix’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman approaches. It’s a complex and involving piece of fantasy which rewards patience, empathy and a willingness to embrace the strange. If you know nothing about the story, it really is best to go in cold. But if you get lost or want a little more background on the plot and huge cast of characters, here’s a handy annotated guide to the world of Dream and The Endless…
Sometimes, the weekend is made for a bizarre culinary challenge. If you’re a bit bored and fancy making a libation which really is outside the ordinary, why not try a clarified milk punch? It’s a sure way to confuse anyone you offer it to!
Joni Mitchell is a true original, and the Music Desk are to a man and woman lifetime fans. Our sorrow at the 2015 news that Joni had suffered from a brain aneurysm and would never play an instrument again was matched by her audience across the globe. Imagine our delighted surprise, then, when she appeared at this year’s Newport Folk Festival and did this…
Genre is always considered a lower form of writing, romance especially so. It gets no love from critics, although successful romantic writers are able to wipe away the tears with fistfuls of money. Literary snobbery always fails to see the bigger picture, focussing on style and fireworks instead of heart and soul. Romance is the most popular and lucrative sector of the publishing market. We get the feeling there’s some jealousy at play.
As a sidebar to the conversation, the recent Dakota Johnson-starring version of Persuasion whipped up howls of outrage for not being particularly true to the book. That, as Henry Oliver points out, is beside the point. The text is robust enough to stand up to different interpretations. And hey, the book isn’t going anywhere…
Of course, the most maligned of all romantic output is the ‘girl’s comic’. It was ever thus. Once again, we note that stories in this genre, particularly in the form of manga, are among the biggest sellers in a big market, massively outperforming all that superhero nonsense. We are happy to report that Rebellion, keeper of the British comics flame, are releasing a compendium of ‘girl’s comics’ strips from the 60s and 70s, featuring some incredibly groovy artwork. This is well worth asking for as a late Christmas gift—or even buying it for that special auntie who still understands the basic truth: Comics Do It Best.
And finally. A staff outing to sunny Weymouth last month was topped off with a visit to the brilliant Rockfish, a proper fish restaurant if ever we saw one. The food was, naturally, delicious. An option for starters in which we indulged featured their range of canned fish. Seems a bit low class? You’ll be having a go at romance comics next! The fish was beautiful, showing off what the Portuguese have known for decades—there’s more to tinned seafood than John West salmon!
We were even happier to see Rockfish sell their canned fish both in the restaurant and online. It may seem pricy, but trust us. With good bread and pickles, a couple of tins makes an excellent meal.
We’re heading back to 1977 for our Exit Music. An episode of Top Of The Pops celebrated all things synth (whether by accident or design we can’t really tell) with an eclectic mix of acts bringing wide-eyed kids the sounds of the future. It’s super-charming if a bit shonky and tin-foil. But we do get Donna Summer at the end, so that’s alright.
See you next Saturday, space-kids.