The Swipe Volume 1 Chapter 10

There’s a vicious scrape on the back of my right hand. We bought a new aluminium growhouse for seeds and seedlings, which arrived last week. It’s very smart but of course, I have to put it together. Big boy Meccano. Fiddly but fun. Less so when you run the sharp edge of one of the struts across your paw while getting it out of its box. Not the best of starts.

Still, the gouge is healing nicely—recovery would be quicker if it wasn’t in a place where I can’t help but fiddle with it. And the growhouse is only half built. It’ll be worth it in the end. The best projects need a small injection of work, swearing and a smear of blood-sacrifice to the gods of construction.

Also, I look double-hard now.

In this chapter—ruminations on snacks and leftovers and more than the usual amount of whinging about getting old.

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

Rob is reading…

Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s The Silver Age, picked up and rebuilt from an abortive attempt to publish in the 90s. It’s beautifully crafted, but a bit meandering. I could do with less soap opera and more, yannow, story. Still very much a look, especially if you’re interested in the mythology of Miracleman.

Rob is watching…

Mechanical principles expressed in Lego. Very soothing.

Rob is listening…

to The Tedeschi Trucks Band. The music Derek Trucks coaxes from his SG is nothing short of other-worldly, tapping into Indian and African traditions. It’s all so damn soulful.

Rob is eating…

Glop. Well, OK, not just glop. But we should relish the idea that a burger is not a burger without the condiments.


Featured image by ArtBear: ‪

I do not believe in the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’. If something gives you joy, why should you feel a pang of guilt about it? Embrace your bliss, I say. I will not judge your taste in the weird combos of protein and carb you desire when the need is greatest. I will not speak of the unspeakable abomination I fall upon with squeaks and grunts of pleasure at my most ragged moments. A boy needs his secrets.

Rat Snack, and you been caught

I have long been a fan of Michael Marshall Smith—his novels Only Forward and Spares are lean, sharp and pleasingly surreal jolts of cyberpunky goodness, but his bibliography is long and wide. I’ve read several of his thrillers without realising they were his until the author’s note at the end. On his Substack, he talks about how lashups and leftovers have brought us some of the most popular fast foods around. It’s telling how many of them involve late nights, a little too much booze and a harried chef forced to fall back on their imagination…

Leftovers Of The Gods

Handbrake turn into something a little more cultural. I love this bit on the ferocious Artemesia Gentileschi, which compares her version of Judith With The Head Of Holofernes to the more male-gazey takes on the subject from male contemporaries. Her picture just has so much more drama to it.


Steven Cook is doing great work over at Secret Oranges. I love his insights and memories of the 80s British comic scene. In this bit, he offers up some personal stories of an old family friend. I think we all would have enjoyed Arthur’s company.


I’ve become openly fascinated this year with the mechanics and operations of restaurant front-of-house. It’s easy to glamourise and mythologise a chef, but a waiter or maitre-d’? All they have to do is bring out the food. Right? Yeah, there’s a lot more to it. Essentially, hospitality is the fine art of herding cats. Hungry cats.

Emotional Tetris

In 1961 America nearly lost a chunk of North Carolina to a nuclear accident. One man saved the day (and, let’s be frank, the country) with an act of selfless bravery which would cost him everything. We should all know more about Lt. Jack Revelle.

Broken Arrow

I am getting older, and with that comes the inevitable sense the world is no longer mine. I don’t like the music. I find the entertainment strange and confusing. More and more, I fall back on the tunes and culture I grew up with. I don’t want to be this way, but I suppose it’s inevitable. Like Mehret Biruk, I have discovered the vibe is off.

The Vibe Is Off

In further considerations of the unstoppable progress of time and change, ND Stevenson looks back over a tumultuous few years. Honestly, if I’d been through half of what Nate has, I’d be tired too.


I don’t want to end this week on a low. So let’s all enjoy some rotating sandwiches.

Rotating Sandwiches

The Outro is thrown open to Sault, the mysterious and wildly prolific collective who released five albums in one day in November 2022. The music is neo-soul, hella funky, thoughtful and radical in expression and philosophy. Big music in every sense of the word. I share Untitled (God), one of the newest records, for your appreciation. It feels somehow timeless, which I guess given the thoughts on age and mortality we’ve shared this time around, kinda makes sense.

I’m off to finish the growhouse. See you in seven, true believers.


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

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