The Swipe Volume 1 Chapter 6

Valentine’s Day is looming, which for the sensible romantic means one thing–finding the best supermarket meal deal (preferably complete with wine) so you and your beloved can settle in for a quiet evening, shunning the scrum of amateurs who feel they have to be performative about a date night. If you’re a Co-op member there are some cracking choices for sixteen quid, I hear.

But before I don the silk undies and grip a rose between my teeth, there is the matter of this week’s Swipe to offload. For you, because I love you, enjoy some unusual architecture, The Books That Belong On The Shelf With No Name and some thoughts on happiness.

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

Rob is reading…

I don’t think you ever read the Tao Te Ching. It’s more a guideline for life, a map to our interior spaces. Short thought-bombs to consider and answer as honestly as you can–with the understanding the answer might not be correct or may even change the next time the question is asked. I have Ursula Le Guin’s translation/reframing on my bedside table, and try to read a random koan whenever I feel the need for a little soul food. Speaking of which…

The things of this world exist, they are;
you can’t refuse them.
To bear and not to own; to act and not lay claim;
to do the work and let it go:
for just letting it go
is what makes it stay.

From Chapter 2 of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Ursula K. LeGuin translation, 1997.

Rob is watching…

Lockwood & Co. 70s dystopian British kid’s TV meets Ghostbusters. Ex-Adam And Joe Joe Cornish knows his genre, understand what works and how to twist the material to keep things interesting. Kudos for having mad scientist George (played with the right level of goofy charm by Ali Hadji-Heshmati) relax with a vintage copy of The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, 2000AD. The show is impeccably acted, propulsive and hella creepy—in a good way.

Rob is listening…

To acid house. I won’t say going back to my roots, but it was a scene when I was at the age when I could have gone raving. It really wasn’t my thing. I was a rock kid at college. It’s only now I’ve grown up that I can start to admire the music. Deliberately simple, repetitive but evolving beats, textures and structures which lead the listener or devotee to a very specific headspace. I’m not one for sweaty crowded clubs, so I believe I’ll never hear the music in the way it was intended. It’s great driving tunage, though.

Rob is eating…


I’ve featured the writings of Failed International Rock Star Michael M in a previous edition of The Cut. He posts very sparsely, but when he does it’s worth the wait. Here are some stories of wild times he spent with his band We Are The Physics recording sessions for BBC local radio, and the particular challenges they can present…

Plastic Bag

The Cultural Tutor asked their Readership to show each other (and us, as interested bystanders) some favourite examples of local architecture. There are some gems in the resulting collection, which ranges from Rochester in Kent to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Drink this lot in.

The People’s Palaces

Swearing. We all do it. Yes, you do, don’t fib. Especially when you’re behind the wheel of a car. Shocking, I tells you. Shocking. As the joy of the curse word has been a part of our linguistic armoury since we had a language to speak of (no pun intended) surely we should embrace and celebrate this important element of communication. Fuck yes, of course we should.

Big And Clever

While we’re on the subject, my pal Kim has possibly the best way to say it with swears. Get some for your crafty friends or elderly relatives. You know it makes sense.

Sweary Cross Stitch

The New York Times has an incredible portrait of Wynonna Judd, folowing her on tour following the death of her mother and co-star in country behemoth The Judds, Naomi. It’s a tale of survival, fortitude and grace under the most unbelievable pressure. If you don’t know much about The Judds and their music, you’re going to want to know more after reading this.

Content warning for self-harm and suicide.

Have Mercy

Here is your biweekly reminder to snag a subscription to Vittles. No other food-based newsletter is doing it as well, as throughly or as sweetly as this. Who’s for a pint?

Nine Ways Of Looking At A Pint Of Guinness

One good thing about making The Swipe a personal statement is that I can be more vocal about the things which matter to me. For example, the appalling clusterfuck of Brexit, which has set this country back decades in everything from trade to international reputation to the state of our politics to the North/South/young/old divide to…

You get the idea.

Stefaan De Rynck, aide to the European team tasked with negotiating Brexit, takes us through the bumper-car ride which led to a conclusion which seems far from settled. This is a very different view from the one presented to us in the UK press.

Inside The Deal

If after reading that you feel the urge to bash the heck out of something, I can recommend a go on a good old fashioned manual typewriter. Five minutes on an Olivetti will crack the knots out of your knuckles. An upcoming book on all things keyboard really digs into the piece of hardware which has become the primary communication vector or the 21st century. We use ’em every day in many different forms.

Shift Happens

I’m delighted to announce the Kickstarter for Shift Happens has gone live, smashing the funding target in a little over 24 Hours. It’s a bit of a treat package, but if you’re as obsessed with the interface between brain, hand and machine, you may just find you’re worth it.

The Kickstarter

I was chatting to a pal at Reading Writers the other day (hey, Kelli!) about genre. More specifically, how you decide or even know what genre your story slots into. The good news is, it doesn’t have to fit at all. There’s always room on The Shelf With No Name!

The Books That Belong On The Shelf With No Name

Let us move back to the sweary side of town and spend a little time with Sam Delaney, ex lad-mag editor. He’s been through the wringer, seen it all, done most of it. A man of appetite and uncontrollable urges which were not so gently destroying him. He got a grip and found a way through, in his own way. He’s great at decoding some of the faux-spiritual nonsense which passes for mental health advice. The ideas are fine. It’s the definition which could use some work…

Psychobabble Decoded

The Last Word goes to author Helen Garner, who at the age of 80 has come to a few conclusions on the pursuit and maintenance of happiness. It’s a little shot of calm wisdom to close out this chapter. I took a lot from it. I hope you do too.

Helen Garner On Happiness

My plea last week for a week without the loss of a great musical figure was met with the disdain and belligerent cruelty I should perhaps have expected from The Powers That Be. One of the true greats moved over on Thursday, which admittedly gave me the excuse to put a long list of incredible songs on my never-ending playlist. Feels appropriate for Annual Restaurant, Card and Flower Shop Appreciation Day to run the credits over this one, from a woman who knew all about the beauty and brutality of love. So long, Burt. You did us proud.

See you in seven, true lovers.


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

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