Leave the park. OK, stay in the park but don’t leave your lodge. Prepare to be judged if you hold hands in public. See that queue? The really big one? Join it. And for goodness’ sake, whatever you do, do not hold up a blank piece of paper in view of the police. It’s a breach of the peace, apparently.
One thing’s for sure. When we Britons drop our usual reserve and lose our marbles, we really go for it. We could all do with a good long sit down and a think about what we’re doing. Not in the queue, of course. The queue must always be moving.
This week, in the place which feels increasingly like a rare refuge for the sane on this loony-balls planet: Ducks! Swordfighting! Uncle Roger! Anal beads!
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
We begin with a farewell. Jean-Luc Godard finally got sick of it all (honestly, we’re not sure if we can blame him at this point) and chose to punch his own ticket at an assisted exit lounge in Switzerland. Ever the smart film-maker, he knew when to say cut. Godard was incredibly important—he helped to reinvent cinema in the 60s, allowing film to become a more complex and ambiguous medium. Writers and directors across the globe mourned his loss. If you have an interest in cinema, you should be a little bit sad too.
Last time, we linked to a Cory Doctorow piece on how to squirrel out time for writing. His heart’s in the right place. For many, though, the notion of a spare fifteen minutes is a wild and improbable dream. Won’t somebody think of the mothers?
Cooking is a joyful, creative enterprise with a delightful end game. But sometimes you just want someone else to do the work for you. Especially when it comes to pizza. Especially if you live in Rome. This, from Rebecca May Johnson in The London Magazine, is another fine example, after Ganzeer’s ode to Mexico City which we linked to recently, of travel writing which takes you places while also making you hungry.
If you do want to cook, there’s increasing pressure to turn the whole thing into a performance. Editor Rob shamefacedly admits to Instagramming moments at the hob or sexy oven-opening reveals. Yes, we know, pathetic. But look, you don’t have to show off. Dinner can just be dinner. And the ‘Gram will never let you taste the food you’re showing off. That’s for you and the loved ones for whom you get in the kitchen in the first place.
We’ve mentioned Uncle Roger before. The mischievous food critic and bane of Jamie Oliver is gleefully insulting to any TV chef who dares to muck around with his beloved fried rice or ramen noodles. He’s filthy, funny and frequently absolutely right on how the simple stuff should be done. He may have met his match though, when he travelled to New York to meet up with chef Esther Choi. She knew just how to deal with him…
Right, this one’s a deep dive. Writers Venkatesh Rao and Ian Cheng tag-team a wide-ranging discussion on world-building, and how it relates to more than just the setting of your story. Worlding hooks into every part of your narrative. The conversation gets quite serious but there are gems in every short chapter. Venk and Ian are not afraid to poke fun at themselves, either. We were utterly immersed and enlivened by the discourse. We hope you will be as well.
Kate Beaton is one of our favourite cartoonists. Her loose, profane and hilarious Hark, A Vagrant! strips were the products of a brain gorged on knowledge and fizzing with the need to play around with it. Her latest work is no less remarkable. Ducks is a memoir of her time spent as a worker in Canadian tar sands. It’s possibly the best graphic novel of the year. Read her chat with the New York Times, then go grab the book. You will not regret it.
Comics people suffer more than most from imposter syndrome. They put sooo much pressure on themselves and never really feel they got it bang on—that a work was abandoned instead of finished. Getting it done rather than getting it right. So it was a tonic to see this rundown of artists sharing that one page where all the stars aligned. There is some beautiful work here.
Squeals of glee and excited running about from the Book Desk followed the release this week of Tamsin Muir’s Nona The Ninth, the last in her Locked Tomb Trilogy. It’s the perfect book for our slide into spooky season—there are witches and skeletons and wild science-fictional magic and, most importantly, sword fights. Tor spoke to Lissa Harris, who made sure those epic battles had just the right ring of blade on blade…
(The last two links come courtesy of Kieron Gillan’s newsletter, by the way, which you should be reading).
Apparently some people have problems with the casting decisions made on popular adaptations of books or comics to the screen. These problems have little to do with whether the actor in question is good or convincing in the role. You know where we’re going with this.
AAAAnd finally. You can absolutely tell that the moment which made journalist Anugraha Sundaravelu’s week came as this story dropped into her lap. What an opening paragraph. As ledes go, we won’t see better in 2022.
Exit Music time. Jenny Lewis’ Acid Tongue popped into our feed this week and stopped us dead in our tracks. It feels like a tune which could have been written any time since the sixties. A song of universal feelings, of longing, regret and survival. Dunno about you lot, but we’re feeling all of that this week.
We’re not through the foolishness yet, and have the nasty feeling there’s lots more to come. Keep it together and look out for each other, Readership. If you need it, build yourself a fire.
See you next Saturday.