The Swipe Volume 1 Chapter 12

Easter? EASTER? What is this foolishness? At what point did I doze off on the sofa for five minutes to wake and find the year is a quarter over and we’re into Eggmas?

Obviously, the very nature of a weekly newsletter is to track the seasons—it’s a good way to mine the information catacombs for content. Keep it a bit topical, make it look less like you’ve just instructed GPT-4 to scrape up some links and toss in a bit of context ‘in the style of.’

Incidentally, tried that. Did not work. You’re stuck with the real-life second-rate version of Rob while the engineers try to spin up a less prone-to-surrealist-outbursts host.

This week—nothing about eggs, rabbits, Palestinian freedom fighters from two thousand some years ago or murderous woodworking. We’ll save all that for Whitsun.

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

Rob is reading…

Tea From An Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan. A seminal cyberpunk novel, it gets some things about the future wrong while being disturbingly prescient in other regards. You can definitely see some of Zuckerberg’s Metaverse in her setting.

Rob is watching…

Adam Savage making a spaceship from scratch. His enthusiasm for everything from the process to the materials is all up on screen and—I’ll be honest, a lot of this stuff is solidly in my wheelhouse. Perhaps I have a new hobby…

Rob is listening…

To the Yellow Magic Orchestra, in the wake of the news that Ryuchi Sakamoto passed. I didn’t realise that Eric Clapton, of all people, had covered one of their songs. YMO did it better.

Rob is eating…

Home -cured and smoked salmon. A weekend project, but mostly hands off, with a lot of time taken with the fish handing out in a blanket of sugar and salt. The result was worth the wait.

In which a bunch of Guardian writers try the foods they swore they’d keep away from their soft palate for the first time. The results are pretty much as you’d expect, but there’s entertainment to be had in the foods on offer.

Never Have I Ever

While we’re in a foody mood, the New York Times has some excellent tips on how to navigate a menu with confidence. As someone who has followed their guts rather than their brains in fancy restaurants way too many times, this guide is going to come in handy. And hopefully steer me away from the inevitable burger…

How To Order Like A Food Critic

You could, if you were feeling especially omnivorous, view the next post as a food recommendation. Me, I just think exotic molluscs are cool.

Mollusc Of The Year

This tale of the wild excesses of old Hollywood and the crazy lengths one man will go to in the pursuit of a woman would make an incredible film. No-one would believe a word of it to be true, of course, which makes the story all the more wonderful. No Brandos were harmed in the production of this unmade movie.

Waiting For Brando

As a signed-up and proud member of Suella Braverman’s least-liked group, I make sure there is always tofu in the fridge. However, my understanding of what the stuff is and more importantly what a cook can do with it has been shaken to the core by George Stiffman. I am but a beginner in the Tao of bean curd—along with, I suspect, most of the Western world.

You Don’t Know Tofu

It turns out we were all wrong about Amélie. Talk about a delayed plot twist!

Amélie The Spy

We lost Paul O’Grady. It was interesting to see how many of the tributes and obits ignored his fierce (in all senses of the word) political stance. Amanda Holden claimed O’Grady ‘didn’t have a woke bone in his body’—which makes you wonder how well she knew him. Broken Bottle Boy Mic Wright redresses the balance.


I love Marc Singer’s 1993 pen portrait of magician and possible minor deity Ricky Jay. He could do things with cards which seemed to flout reality. He was also a passionate and obsessive student of his chosen art, who suffered greatly because of it. Another larger-than-life figure gone too soon.

Hey, Ricky

The Boss is back on the road. I won’t be going out to see him—the prospect of paying hundreds of pounds to stand in a field and watch a tiny figure run around a stage from a half mile away does not appeal. Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib went to see him on The River Tour in 2016 and had some interesting observations to make about the man and his audience.

Out On The Streets

Craig Mod wanders for a living. His reports on what he finds make for very good and persuasive reading. Let’s put it like this—the New York Time recently published a big list of Places To Visit In 2023. London was top. Craig’s recommendation, the small Japanese city of Morioka, was second.


Lastly, an appeal. The brilliant comic artist Jenni Gyllblad needs an urgent medical procedure for which she has to crowdfund. I see this all the time in the comics field, especially in the States where the cruel state of healthcare means even celebrated and revered creators have to depend on the kindness of strangers to help them out of a hole. Jen is small-press but I’m a fan, and want to help. I hope you can too.

Help Jenni

As ever, I am well behind the curve when it comes to modern music. This track by Biig Piig is new to me, but came out two years ago. Oh well, I may be old and slow, but I get there eventually.

See you in seven, true believers.


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

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