The Swipe Volume 1 Chapter 2

Look! A logo! I must be taking the rebrand seriously. I’ll be monetizing the joint next. HI GUYS LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE etc etc. Launching next week—Swipe Blue. A nominal extra charge gets you undefinable ‘benefits’ and the nagging feeling you’re the victim of a big fat con. Kidding. We will always be free at the point of use. I do this for the love of links.

On the subject of which… this week I offer booze, wrestling and cyberpunk’s ground zero. You’re welcome.

Wherever you are, whenever you are, however you are, welcome to The Swipe.

Rob is reading…

A Waiter In Paris by Edward Chisholm. An interesting take on the Kitchen Confidential genre of food writing. The book flips the focus to front of house, only to show the wait-staff are just as swashbuckling and hard-living as the cooks on the line…

Rob is watching…

Our Flag Means Death. Still finding its feet after a couple of eps, and very dependent on the klutzy charm of Rhys Darby, but a very pleasant diversion nonetheless. Also poking my toe into the infinity pool of The White Lotus. I can see what the fuss is about. Just not sure I can warm to it. Not bailing quite yet, mostly because anything with Jennifer Coolidge is worthy of attention. I mean I stuck with several seasons of Two Broke Girls thanks to her.

Rob is listening…

to The Mountain Goats. John Darnielle is one prolific dude. Like other hardworking bands such as King Lizard And The Gizzard Wizard or Guided By Voices, by the time you think you’ve got a handle on the work, new records arrive. What we have here is a cornucopia of folky poppy goodness. Start with this 2019 performance for KEXP then find your own path through the woods.

Rob is eating…

Fish Finger Katsu from Jack Monroe’s new book, Thrifty Kitchen. One of those little moments of inspired culinary genius. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

The USA Gilead is becoming a more oppressive place to live by the day, clamping down on or wiping out people’s rights while claiming the new restrictions are all about freedom. Fortunately, not everyone is meekly bowing their heads. In Texas, for example, the push towards banning books featuring gay, non-binary or non-white characters in school libraries is stumbling under the face of firm, polite but immovable opposition.

Freedom To Read

Charles Addams would have been 100 this year. The hit Netflix series starring his greatest creations has re-sparked interest in the ooky, kooky cartoonist. About time too, I say!

The World Of Addams

Here’s a fascinating Twitter thread (well, let’s try and stay positive about the platform even in the face of the shutdown of third-party apps which made the devolving experience slightly less rage-inducing) on the first appearance of Stockholm Syndrome. You know, the mental state where kidnapper’s victims (usually female) fall in love with their captors (mostly male). Spoiler alert—it’s not a real syndrome.

Stockholm Syndrome

Robin Sloan has written a story with a synthesiser attached. It’s an incredible example of how to use the internet in unusual but strangely affecting ways. I’ll be frank. The experience was deeply moving for me. Read the story. Play the tune. You’ll see what I mean.

In The Stacks (Maisie’s Song)

Now, wrestling has never been an entertainment medium I’ve followed closely. I do appreciate the hard work and skill which goes into the performances, and the theatricality of the experience does hold a certain charm. The New York Times talks to a rising star on the scene, who is as far from the musclebound punk of tradition as you can get.

Beware The Curse Of Danhausen

This important and useful list of the meanest cats in literature is a very handy guide for future reading. Is it possible I’m trying to squeeze in a cat link into every chapter of The Swipe? You’ll just have to watch and see…

Nine Mean Cats

The uniquely British move towards weird abbreviations has escalated massively over the last couple of years. And it really is a British-only thing. English is a uniquely malleable language, able to take on all measure of twists and distortions. Dazed Digital offers an investy gee.

Abbra Vees

William Gibson wrote Fragments Of A Hologram Rose in 1976. It would prove to be the seed for cyberpunk, a truly forward-looking SF sub-genre which owed nothing to the space-operas and red-menace allegories of old. Instead, it keyed into the uncertain dread of a computerized future. The story still feels fresh and relevant today. As Gibson himself has said, the future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.

Fragments Of A Hologram Rose

‘…it is this boozeletter’s carefully considered editorial position that alcohol is meant to be drank and enjoyed, not hermetically sealed in the climate-controlled bowels of a suburban fortress owned by T-Mobile’s largest wholesaler.’

Dave Infanti’s Fingers is a fantastic newsletter for those of us interested in the wider discussions to be had around booze culture. He investy gees the new trend amongst the mega-rich for wine rooms and whisky cellars. The conclusion? The more money you have, the weirder you become…

Booze Rooms

La hora de vermút [vermouth hour] was a melancholic moment at dusk before laborers hopped on the train to face their families.”

I’ve become more and more fascinated by amaros and vermouths—complex drinks with wild flavour profiles. There’s an incredible range of herbal concoctions to try, and a rich history to explore. Punch Drink takes a tour of Buenos Aires to see how life rolls in Aperitivo Town.

Aperitivo Town

Last week, we talked about the defence of the spaces we use to create our art. Some are more mythical than others. They don’t have to be particularly glamourous. Take the writing shed in which Roald Dahl weaved his magic…

The Writing Space Of Our Dreams

The Outro has to go to Jeff Beck, who moved on this week. He was a bonafide genius, with a touch and control of his instrument unlike any other string-slinger. Check out his version of A Day In The Life and prepare to be amazed.

See you in seven, true believers.


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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