Let’s address the big question first. Yes, this is the last episode of The Cut. The offices will be closing at midnight, the Crew moving on with blessings and happy thoughts to new and exciting adventures.
It’s not the end of the Excuses And Half Truths newsletter, though. Think of this moment as a restart, a chance to address a couple of points which have irritated Editor Rob for a while.
That Editor Rob thing, for a start. It’s time to take ownership, stop hiding behind a (let’s be honest) fictitious office of grizzled journos and wide-eyed juniors. A singular authorial voice is the requirement. Hello. My name is Rob Wickings and from next week I will be your host and patron.
Of course, the annoying fact that New York Magazine already has a newsletter-style supplement called The Cut makes this venture look even more like a copycat. In our defense, the whole thing was set up as a lockdown venture with very little foresight. We have the ability to change things up and be more ourselves. A proper email newsletter will be available in the New Year as well, if you prefer. In fact, this is a chance for you to make your wishes known. Is there anything you’d like me to cover? Are there any tweaks to the service you’d like to see? Hit me up. I’m always listening.
A lot will not change. The winning structure—ten posts with a bit of context, finish with a song—stays. So does the delivery time. Saturday at 10am, just in time for me to relax with Matt and the gang for Saturday Kitchen.
Next week, then, I would be delighted for you to join me for Volume 1, Chapter 1 of The Swipe.
For now, though, one last run through the turnstiles. Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Final Cut.
When you go out, go out classy. A favorite musician of The Cut, Warren Zevon, took control of his passing with charm and dark humour. His final TV appearance was a takeover of David Letterman’s show in October 2002. He was the only guest. It was memorable TV, which this oral history from behind the scenes shows.
Understanding human perception brings up one essential truth—every one of us looks at the world slightly differently. Your colour blue is not ours. Keep that in mind as you read this fascinating bit from Everything Is Amazing on the difficulties involved in coming up with your own personal shade.
The film under discussion in Kevin Power’s notes will become obvious as you read through them. We urge you to read to the end, though. A cheap sequel to a franchise largely viewed at the time as laughable has gathered significant resonance over the years. It deals elegantly with themes of fatherhood, honour and aging, while quoting Melville and Shakespeare. Oh, and it was written in a fortnight flat.
As the new Avatar movie continues to make waves at the box office, one complaint is becoming louder, especially amongst those of us who have a limited amount of—shall we call it biological patience? In short, three hours and fifteen minutes is a long time to spend in a movie theatre without getting caught short. Is it time to bring back that finest of cinema traditions—the intermission?
There’s always time for cat photos. Masayuki Oki tours the many quiet islands of Japan, documenting the lives of the feline population, which frequently outnumber the humans. We for one welcome our adorable overlords.
Film-making is hard work. Even at the low-budget end of the scale, it can take years and a fortune and a barrow full of heartache to get your vision—or some version of it—up in front of people. Imagine doing that during lockdown with three young kids to look after. Actually, there’s no need to imagine it. Let Laura Rees tell you.
The past few months have opened up a lot of people to the notion that social media is really not good for them. Elno Muskrat’s takeover of The Bird Site has condensed and concentrated a general sense of disquiet into a full-on revolt and discussion on how things can improve. Are decentralised networks where no one voice is allowed to dominate the answer? Bit early to say, we reckon, although Mastodon is taking up more of our time (@email@example.com if you’re interested). Katherine Cross made a very good point earlier in the year which could point to the fediverse as a sane path ahead. Traditional social networks are toxic by design…
Everything Taylor Swift does is subject to an insane amount of scrutiny. Even the way she holds her pen is subject to heavy detective work. To be fair, that is one curious grip…
Nudging back to the idea of federated instances for a moment. Cafe Atlas is no one place. Rather, it’s a kind of platonic ideal, a coffee joint where you can sit and think in peace. Think a more caffeinated version of Orwell’s Moon Under Water. Two important points—the quality of coffee is secondary to the vibe. Chains are not invited. Curator Ariel Rubinstein has listed 674 places so far. There are only 44 in the UK. This needs to change. Get your recommendations in, folks.
And finally. We know the New Year is spun as a time for fresh starts and positive action. We also know it can be difficult and bewildering to figure out how to start. By all means try the Dry or Vegan approaches, but why not also spend January taking some actions to happiness? Simple tasks done regularly can quickly build into something great. Whatever you do, however you choose to do it, just know we support you in your quest for betterness in 2023.
Here we are then. Another year over and a new one just begun. Well, about to. You get the idea. As we’re jabbing our thumb hard on the reset button for 2023, this John Lennon classic seems appropriate. Please join us next Saturday for more of the same that’s completely different.
See you in seven, true believers.