The Cut 🔪Issue 24

It is a week when Phil Collins’ ex-wife barricaded herself in his mansion with armed guards at the door, a woodworking show featured a face-tatted Nazi sympathiser, and one-time Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani was caught with his hands down his kecks in the presence of an actress in the new Borat movie. Frankly, we can’t compete with that. Come, hide under the covers with us and enjoy some writing that won’t make you feel like the abyss is staring into you.

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.

Continue reading The Cut 🔪Issue 24

The Cut 🗡️Issue 23

We had a link from Wired as the opener this week, on how the work/life balance has become irretrievably skewed (https://www.wired.com/story/how-work-became-an-inescapable-hellhole/ if you’re interested) but we realised you all know this already. So let’s put that nonsense to one side and instead centre up the nonsense you have come to know and love over the last several months.

This week, scary sound effects, an iconic bus route and a really rather funky musical instrument you can all play.

Now is the time, here is the place. This is The Cut.

Continue reading The Cut 🗡️Issue 23

The Cut 🪒 Issue 21

Michaelmas has come and gone. The nights are starting to draw in. We are heading into spooky season… like things weren’t freaky enough already. Oh well. Draw the curtains, pull up to a bottle and join us as we flag up the pings on our radar this week. We have a metal god, a robust response to some poorly-judged street art and a song that could well be the anthem of 2020.

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.


Continue reading The Cut 🪒 Issue 21

The Cut 🔪 Issue 19

Let’s see if we’ve got this right. It is now unlawful to meet in groups of more than six people unless you’re working, travelling to work, in school or grouse shooting. There were people on our feeds this week wondering how problematic it would be to give their kids and their friends shotguns so planned birthday parties could go ahead. And that’s not even the weirdest thing to happen this week. Best crack on with it, then.

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.

As far as we’re concerned, the big news this week was the announcement of possible life signs on Venus. For a second there the SF geeks on staff got very excited and started babbling about Edgar Rice Burroughs, rain-infested jungles and green-skinned alien princesses. Sadly, the situation isn’t quite as pulptastic as all that, but the discovery and implications are nevertheless extremely exciting. Science Focus has a decently straightforward breakdown on the news and what happens next.

https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/did-we-find-signs-of-alien-life-in-the-clouds-of-venus-heres-what-the-experts-say/

We kick off our film section with a look at a parallel movie universe. No, not one where cowboy movies make a big comeback instead of superhero flicks. This is all the more fascinating… because it’s real! Race movies, the studios that made them and the stars they created were big business for forty years in the early part of the twentieth century. They were, however, almost invisible to the mainstream. Messy Nessy Chic gives us the skinny on this marginalised corner of cinema history.

https://www.messynessychic.com/2020/02/06/race-movies-and-the-black-owned-studios-that-ran-parallel-to-mainstream-hollywood/

More worryingly, it seems like a lot of our cinematic history is quietly slipping from view. Although there’s a very definite uptick in creators shooting on film, the skills required in its preservation are almost exclusively in the hands of artisans reaching retirement age. A lot of amazing work can be done with old film electronically, but the material still needs careful handling before it can be digitised. The men and women who know what to do with a film splicer are few and far between.

Our X&HTeammate Rob Kaiju pointed us at this short film which lays out the big problem ahead, and what it could mean for over a century of popular culture.

In some areas, though, the gentle art of restoration is going through a bit of a purple patch, as viewers realise watching skilled artisans at work is actually kind of relaxing. We are big fans of The Repair Shop, a BBC featuring some of the cleverest restorers in the UK bringing old and well-loved objects back to life. The big reveals of an old rocking horse or a writing desk returned to their owners in tip-top shape can be quite emotional. Open Culture looks into a phenomenon that has only become more popular in lockdown.

http://www.openculture.com/2020/09/the-joy-of-watching-old-damaged-things-get-restored.html

A couple of food links for you. First up, a look at a foodstuff that has been with us for a long time. Honey is well-known for having antibacterial and preservative properties. Some ancient cultures used it in the process of mummification. Alexander The Great’s body was borne across Europe for burial in a vat of the sweet stuff. What’s less known is just how long-lasting honey can be. Forget that jar of Rowse’s lurking at the back of the cupboard. Archaeologists recently unearthed some seriously well-aged honey.

https://link.medium.com/Vz4jwDW5E9

Fast food treated seriously is, in our opinion, the most delicious of all. So when culinary mad scientist Kenji Lopez-Alt takes on the iconic McRib sandwich, you should pay attention. This is no half-hearted project. It’s a day’s work, involves two different kinds of pork and two different cooking methods. The final result looks none more epic, but would barely last for two minutes before we scarfed it.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/09/how-to-make-homemade-mcdonalds-diy-mcrib-sandwich.html

In our random but useful advice section, here’s a nugget for you. Trust is important, but how do you quantify it? Is there a way to figure quickly and easily how trustworthy your friends, family and workmates really are? Well, yes there is. It’s simpler than you think. Thank us later.

http://read.medium.com/WEW3EKV

A couple of guitary links. It’s gratifying to see the swell in interest in the old six-strings in the face of That Flippin’ Situation. Nothing says ‘screw you, intolerant and uncaring universe’ better than blasting an A minor chord through a cranked up Les Paul Junior or Fender Mustang and a cheap amp with your teeth bared. Best therapy going, in our humble experience.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/style/guitar-sales-fender-gibson.html

This, in our opinion, is the feel-good story of the week. A tale of the raddest bass guitar on the planet, and how it finally found its way back to the man who caused it to be in the first place. Seriously, this gave our raddled ould hearts a bit of a glow.

http://www.washingtonian.com/2020/09/11/his-prized-bass-vanished-27-years-ago-dc-musicians-raised-money-to-buy-it-back/

And finally. We’re throwing in an interview with comic creator Nick Abadzis for several reasons. Firstly, the Ninth Art Desk fondly remembers Deadline Magazine and considers it a much more important publication than simply the launchpad for Tank Girl. Second of all, Nick is warm, witty and open about the nuts and bolts of comic-making, with insights that fascinated us. Third of all, Hugo Tate is an excellent strip that deserves a wider audience. Can’t say fairer than that, can we?

https://neotextcorp.com/culture/nick-abadzis-revisits-his-beginnings-with-hugo-tate-with-hugo-tate/


In celebration of the exciting news of possible life in the atmosphere of our celestial neighbour, there was only really one choice for this week’s Exit Music. We very, very nearly went with the Bananarama cover, but felt the original just shaded it for us. All together now… “goddess on a mountaintop, shining like a silver flame…”

See you in seven.

The Cut ⚔️ Issue 18

We’re told to go out. We’re told to stay in. We’re told we can gather in groups. No, not that many people. The Situation changes with every passing day. Is there nothing on which you can depend?

Just us, o Readership. The Cut’s record of dependability, of delivering what we say when we say, speaks for itself. That’ll probably fall over next week. Until it does we are the only publication you can trust.

This week, free jazz against fascism, the joy of rice and a profile of the actor everyone hated. Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.


A wide-ranging music section this week. We begin in Tupelo, the town with a righteous claim to fame–it’s produced more Elvis tribute artists than anywhere else. What, you think they just come out of thin air? There’s training involved here, folks! There’s hairstyle instruction! It’s a competitive field, and the rewards are manifold…

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/elvis-tribute-artists-tupelo

It would be easy to diss Mariah Carey. She is a figure ripe for parody and ridicule. But that hasn’t stopped her from becoming an iconic singer and recording artist with a trunkful of hits. She’s also done it her way, writing her own tunes and living her life as it suits her best. You may not be a fan of her music, but after reading this Vulture profile you may be more appreciative of the woman.

https://www.vulture.com/article/mariah-carey-rarities-profile.html

Marc Bolan was the very definition of the star that shone brightly for far too short a time. A prime architect of glam rock, an early and enthusiastic supporter of punk rock and the guy who could rock a feather boa like no-one else. With the release of a covers album of his music, Alexis Petrides looks at the man and the glitter bomb he exploded over the seventies. There’s even a helpful Spotify playlist of deep cuts to get you in the mood.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/sep/04/marc-bolan-perfect-pop-star-t-rex-singer-tribute-album-elton-john-u2

To close out the music section, a quick look at a loose but ferocious collection of musicians using free jazz as a form of anti-fascist protest in Denmark. We can’t help but think bringing the noise is an excellent way of turning the tables on a very nasty resurgence in far-right agitation.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/k7q54a/jazz-far-right-denmark-rasmus-paludan

Right, we’ve got the tunes, let’s head to the kitchen. Who here likes fried rice? Mmhmm, thought so. How about pancakes? Yes, as expected. In that case, my hungries, have we got a treat for you!

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/fried-rice-pancakes

For such a simple food, rice is surprisingly contetious. We linked in Issue 12 to the irascible Uncle Roger and his horrified reaction to Western takes on egg fried rice. Best not to get involved in any discussion on jollof–as Jamie Oliver discovered, the one point on which Ghanaian and Nigerian opinion meshes on the subject is how badly he messed up the iconic African rice dish when he tried to make it. The Guardian looks more closely at one of the world’s staple foods, and how different cultures treat the grain.

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/sep/03/grain-of-truth-i-once-saw-a-chef-cook-80-kilos-of-rice-in-a-combi-oven

Yes, yes, we know, a lot of Guardian links in this week’s Cut. We will not apologise for including this brilliant piece on rewilding farmer Derek Gow. Pressure on the land has never been higher as an increasing population demands cheap food. Returning rural landscapes to a better natural balance instead of trying and failing to bend it to our will has real and quick-to-see benefits for everyone and everything. Bring back the beavers!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/04/its-going-to-be-our-way-now-the-guerrilla-rewilder-shaking-up-british-farming-aoe


We start our entertainment section with a review of a movie featuring an absolute cracker of a cast. Who wouldn’t want to see an action thriller starring John Rhys-Davies, Laura Dern and George Clooney? Grab your popcorn and settle back, Readership. Let’s enjoy Grizzly 2!

https://www.theringer.com/movies/2020/8/31/21406226/grizzly-ii-george-clooney-laura-dern-john-rhys-davies

Hannah Berry is Britain’s current Comics Laureate. Her work is funny, sharply-crafted and thoughtful. In this article for the British Council, she’s clear-eyed but sombre on the state of the comics nation and the challenges anyone who wants to make a living in the Realm of The Ninth Art will face. Now more than ever, it’s tough to be a star of the gutters. As Jack Kirby said, ‘comics will break your heart.’

https://literature.britishcouncil.org/blog/2020/comics-in-crisis/

Rex Harrison made a living portraying a particular kind of Englishman–the stiff upper lip personified. A little cold, emotionally distant but with a warm core. Away from the stage and cinema screen, Harrison was all that and less, with hardly any sense of redeeming features. The warmth he brought to his roles was replaced by a block of ice. In short, he was a monster and universally disliked. Graham McCann profiles him for the British Comedy Guide. We remain astonished that he got as far as he did with the attitude he presented to the world.

https://www.comedy.co.uk/features/comedy_chronicles/rex-harrison-his-greatest-hits/

One for the writers among us. Punctuation is a vital part of clear communication–the difference between ‘let’s eat, Grandma’ and ‘let’s eat Grandma.’ For many, though, proper punctuation is just not that big a deal. Why sweat a misplaced apostrophe? We at The Cut understand both stances, realising that language is an ever-changing situation. It’s still important to understand the rules in order to break them, we feel. And a little historical perspective never hurt. Therefore, although we appreciate this is not for everyone, we urge you to check this look at the history and evolution of punctuation.

https://aeon.co/essays/beside-the-point-punctuation-is-dead-long-live-punctuation

This week’s Exit Music is brought to you by the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series. Or rather, the new iteration now that musical artists can’t cram into Bob Boilen’s office to play and sing. The acclaimed series of short, intimate shows is now being recorded by musicians at home, but it was clear viewers missed the iconic backdrop of shelves crammed with memorabilia.

How then, do Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas look as if they’re in Seattle as they present two recent songs? The answer is refreshingly low-tech, and worth sticking around to the end to see. Also, we like Billie’s way with a tune.

See you in seven.

The Cut 🪓 Issue 17

Good gravy, it’s Friday! It’s September! We’re coming up on six months since lockdown loomed up on us and the streets emptied. It seems like all the time in the world and a blink of the eye all at once. Join us as we look at religion in SF, the stories we can’t write any more and the most delicious food you can’t eat.

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.


As writers, we can be said to spend our lives dreaming on paper. The life of the mind can be as real, and certainly more attractive than the one we live in every day. For certain people, the pull of a daydream world becomes so seductive that they begin to retreat into it…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_daydream_that_never_stops

Cheers is one of those shows fondly remembered by everyone, mostly because of the great writing and vibrant, many-layered characters. There were some early casualties to the clientele, most notably one who didn’t make it past the pilot. Whatever happened to Mrs. Littlefield?

http://www.dirtyfeed.org/2020/04/heres-to-you-mrs-littlefield/

We kick off our food portion of The Cut with a new feature we like to call Recipe Of The Week (there will probably be a change in that title, but we’re running up against deadline, here). This week, check out Food52’s guide to a proper deep-crust Detroit-style pizza that’s a seriously cheesy, crunchy, saucy treat!

https://food52.com/recipes/82857-crispy-cheese-pan-pizza-recipe

We are binging the latest series of Chef’s Table on Netflix on the art of barbecue. The show focuses on the best of the best, but we feel they missed a name. Let us, via, Eater, introduce you to Tom Ellis who runs live-fire grills for big corporate events and celebrations. There’s some clever and refined techniques on display here, and as Tom himself admits, no small element of theatre…

https://www.eater.com/2020/8/26/21401422/how-swell-party-grill-master-tom-ellis-uses-open-fire-cooking-to-make-a-feast

You don’t often see Serious Eats taking about anime. But when they focus on the central part food plays in Studio Ghibli’s films, and the loving way the animation giant portrays it, then it’s worth paying attention. Spirited Away takes point, of course, but Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo and Kiki’s Delivery Service all have classic moments to savour.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/08/studio-ghibli-anime-best-food-scenes.html

Our SF Correspondent interjects:

Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb books are in our top ten list of stories released over the past couple of years. Gothic, picaresque, wild and bracingly bonkers, there’s little else like them out there. The character of Gideon Nav is a creation of sheer snarky joy. Tor digs into the iconography twisted through Muir’s world-building and how it relates to a wider discussion of religious imagery in SF. From Star Wars to Dune, A Canticle For Leibovitz to The Parable Of The Sower, there’s a rich, dark seam to mine…

https://www.tor.com/2020/08/19/gideon-the-ninth-young-pope-and-the-new-pope-are-building-a-queer-catholic-speculative-fiction-canon/

So, the question of creativity during lockdown doesn’t go away. Should we feel guilty for not writing that novel or learning a new language with all the free time we were given? The answer is of course hecks no, but Steven Soderburgh isn’t helping matters. He used lockdown to re-edit a couple of his movies, reshaping them into new and shorter films. We pick up Indiewire for more on the annoyingly productive director.

https://www.indiewire.com/2020/08/steven-soderbergh-reedited-movies-quarantine-1234582502/

SF writer Charlie Stross has often struggled with the problem of plot redundancy. That is, a genius idea or gizmo that presents in real life before he gets the chance to finish the damn book. In The Year Of The Situation, Charlie looks at those story tropes and broad themes that are frankly no longer fit for purpose and are therefore dead to him.

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2020/08/dead-plots.html

Some notes from the Ninth Arts Desk…

We believe in comics. We think comics are an art form with a very specific set of strengths, and telling stories using The Ninth Art can unlock new aspects of narrative. That’s not all. As Lifehack notes, reading comics can actually make you smarter!

https://www.lifehack.org/468585/6-ways-reading-comics-makes-you-smarter

We’ve already mentioned how comics can make an excellent educational tool. Comics Beat recently interviewed art-chameleon R Sikoryak who has pointed his considerable skills into opening up one of the most misunderstood and misused documents of all time—The Constitution Of The United States!

https://www.comicsbeat.com/interview-r-sikoryak-constitution-illustrated/

Finally in this section, Michael Carty’s loving tribute to comics Mecca Forbidden Planet should have gone up last week as the old place celebrated its forty-second birthday. Oh well, better late than never. We remain especially fond of the original Denmark Street site. One of our number actually fainted while in a signing line for the first Judge Dredd annual in 1981. He picked hisself up, dusted hisself off and got that grud-damned Pat Mills autograph. Now that’s dedication to the cause!

http://mjcarty.com/forbidden-planetstin-pans-and-londons-eternal

This week’s Long Read takes in a charismatic con-man, a casino under threat and a very complicated bomb. How this story has not already been made into a film beggars belief. Perhaps it’s because some of the plot twists are just too mind-boggling for an audience to buy into. Settle back with a strong cocktail (trust us, you’ll need it) and enjoy the tale of The Zero-Armed Bandit…

www.damninteresting.com/the-zero-armed-bandit/

And finally, a quick plug for our Rob, who has somehow managed to weasel his way onto Keith Eyle’s Star Trek podcast, Let’s See What’s Out There! Join Rob, Keith and co-host Pete Mele as they discuss canon, deep cut episodes and how a post-scarcity Federation doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have bills to pay…

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cDovL2xzd290Y2FzdC5saWJzeW4uY29tL3Jzcw/episode/YTk0ZGI3ZGYtMTRjYi00M2UyLThjOWMtY2NkMmRkNzI0ZDJi

Our love for California psyche-skronkers The Oh Sees (the current iteration, as is their wont, is called Osees) is deep and long and true. King See John Dwyer conjures glorious clangs and whoops from his high-slung guitar while the two-drum attack rushes the sound along at express-train intensity. We were minded to present an hour of rehearsal footage for songs from the new album Protean Threat, out later this month, but choose instead for Exit Music to showcase a set they did for KEXP last year, featuring some classic bangers. If you want an overview of the band and their sound, start here. They’re touring the UK in October, and we are sorely tempted to break quarantine to see them.

Dig in. Here we go. See you in seven.

The Cut ✂️ Issue 16

Four months. Four! Four whole months! We’ve been pushing out this nonsense for a third of a year now! Are we going to stop? Well, as you read this, prep has already begun on next week’s Cut so we guess the answer to that impertinent little question is NO WAY, JOSIE HAY!

This week we we join in with a bunch of aging ravers, see what an Earth without people would look like, check out film careers that finished before they really got started or ended too soon and offer up yet more stuff in that typical Cut vibrational headspace. If you’ve been here before you know what to expect.

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.


Lockdown livestreams are part of our world now. We connect with our friends through Zoom, check out concerts and plays through YouTube and even do virtual festivals, which have distinct advantages to those of us who are mud-averse. The Guardian looks at another vector in our ongoing virtual communion—livestream raving. The participants are people who remember the first wave, and are really not that bothered about spending time somewhere in a field in Hampshire…

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/aug/23/rave-middle-aged-clubbing-culture-lockdown-livestream-parties

The Simpsons is a series that’s well past its best, but in the golden age little could beat it for the sheer quality of writing and performance. Mel Magazine takes a deep dive into a two minute segment that is still quoted and memed today—the “Steamed hams’ sketch. Aurora borialis indeed…

https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/simpsons-steamed-hams-oral-history

We are living, according to the science, in a new kind of geological era—the Anthropocene, a time when the principal agent for change in the environment is humanity. But if for whatever reason we were to vanish, what would happen to the planet? What lasting legacy would there be? Livescience has some surprising answers…

https://www.livescience.com/earth-without-people.html

We have a big film section for you this week, which seems appropriate as cinemas start to properly reopen with the release of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. To start, a look at the sadly truncated career and unfinished projects of an animation giant—the director of Paprika and Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon.

https://lwlies.com/articles/satoshi-kon-dreaming-machine-unfinished-meta-nightmares/

As a side-conversation to Kon’s incomplete oeuvre, AV Club has a fascinating list of directors who, whatever their promise, only managed to complete one feature. There are some very surprising names in here…

https://film.avclub.com/one-and-sadly-done-12-excellent-features-from-director-1798275039

Rob writes:

Any list of the best ever film trailer can never come up with a definitive answer. But it does make for a heck of an interesting discussion. My personal favourite? Well, when I was working at a post-production house in Soho in 1999, I was in charge of transferring film trailers to tape for TV ads. In May of that year, one passed into my hands that I watched, then stopped, rewound and called in as many of my colleagues as I could find to show them. It was, I knew, going to be a film that defined popular cinema from then on. That film was The Matrix. Even now, I remember my jaw dropping open in response to what I was seeing. Bullet time was a special effect that no-one had seen before, and I was one of the first people in the country to witness it. Even now, The Matrix remains a favourite, partially because of the buzz I got from that first taster.

So how about it, Readership? Do you have a favourite trailer? Let us know!

https://io9.gizmodo.com/whats-the-best-movie-trailer-of-all-time-1844786778

Don Corscarelli’s The Beastmaster is admittedly a cheesy heap of 80s exploitation—all swordplay and boobs (male and female) and gore. But it has a loyal following amongst the kids who came of age in that heady time (some of The Cut personnel included). We were delighted to hear that Corscarelli has regained the rights to his movie after years of legal wrangling. But there is a crushing twist to the tale, one which means we should be on the lookout for a particular seven cans of film negative…

https://www.whereisthebeastmaster.com/

To finish this section, a cool little listicle from Bored Panda which does exactly what the title describes. Some pleasingly dark takes in here…

https://www.boredpanda.com/unrelated-movies-described-same-sentence/

Moving on to the world of tabletop gaming—sadly a field in which we have no expertise. One of those ‘not for the lack of interest’ situations that never happened for us. However, we are interested in gaming as a character and plot creation vector. The new Dungeons and Dragons rulebook has new methods that address some worrying racial stereotyping baked into the old rules. This could lead the way to some much freer and open forms of creative gameplay. We strongly approve.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/with-d-ds-next-rulebook-character-creation-will-never-1844807934

Oh look, this is just a bit of silliness, but we couldn’t help but be charmed. Do you have a theme tune? Do you walk into the pub with the Indiana Jones music playing in your head? Maybe Cigarettes and Alcohol is more appropriate. Anyway. If you have a soundtrack for your day, then you are going to enjoy this clip as much as we did.

https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/idap5k/following_people_in_public_while_playing_popular/

We wrote last week about how graphic and comic techniques can make cookery books a much more straightforward proposition, particularly for the newcomer. It seems that this has been the case for a very long time, as Atlas Obscura notes. For a pre-literate society (or to clarify, one which communicates primarily in pictograms) this approach makes all kinds of sense…

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/ancient-egyptian-recipes

And finally, your Exit Music. It cannot have escaped the attention of an observant Readership that we are all about The Boss here at Cut Central. It would be downright negligent of us, then, were we to let the 45th anniversary of the release of his landmark album Born To Run go unmarked. It’s an iconic work of popular culture, endlessly quoted and covered.

We choose not to go down the obvious route when it comes to sharing a tune with y’all, though. Born To Run is more than its title track. Instead, please to enjoy She’s The One, the closest the album comes to a deep cut. Criminally marginalised, it’s a blast from the urgent piano-led beginning to the full on Bo Diddly-fuelled bangarang of the crescendo.

To put the icing on the cherry, we have a version for you from Bruce and the E Street Band’s killer 1975 Hammersmith Odeon gig, pimp-wear, woolly hats and all. If this don’t put a grin on your face then you already dead, pally. Crank this. It’s the future of rock ‘n’ roll, after all.

We will see you in seven.

The Cut ✂️ Issue 15

On we jolly well go, clinging to the merry-go-round as it spins ever faster and the music of the calliope ramps up to lunatic levels of volume and speed. The last couple of weeks feel like the craziness has really taken a turn for the bonkers. What can you depend on? Well, at least on a Friday at 9am there’s a new ish of The Cut to help you into the weekend. Buckle up, buttercups!

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.

Continue reading The Cut ✂️ Issue 15

The Cut ✂️ Issue 14

Here we are and here we are and here we go. As we write this the sun is blaring down like the solar equivalent of an elephant strangling a tuba. As you read this, the heavens have cracked asunder and the great deluge is upon us. What a difference a few days can make. Anyhow, in spite of whatever apocalyptic scenario is currently bellowing into your face, we trust you can find a way through. Also, hey, nearly the weekend, right? So let’s do the thing where we raise up the (sodden or sun-scorched) banner and you raise your faces to the sky and roar…

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.


A by-product of the clusterfukc of this year’s Hugo ceremony in which some of the old guard did not, shall we say, cover themselves in glory, has been the interrogation of what it takes to be a science-fiction fan. More specifically, what books you need to have read to pass by the gatekeepers—the so-called canon. Typically, this list is full of books that are easily 40-50 years old with an authorial profile that skews massively towards white, male, middle-class writers. This, as John Scalzi points out, does not cater to the tastes and experiences of many committed and enthusiastic fans of the genre. With his typical wit and self-deprecation, (he is, after all, of the demographic he rails against) enjoy the ride as Scalzi sets a fuse to the canon…

https://whatever.scalzi.com/2020/08/07/oh-christ-not-the-science-fiction-canon-again/

The detective steps into her bullpen. Her team are gathered. It’s time to connect the random patterns that link a set of heinous and imaginatively staged murders. In a prominent place stands the board on which victims, their relationships and the suspects to their murders are posted. It could be a simple whiteboard, or a whizzy graphic interface that the detective can prod and swipe at à la Tom Cruise in Minority Report. The serial killer could have their own version, a mess of photos and post-its and coloured string. It’s a vital part of the story. It’s known in the trade as The Crazy Wall. Esquire has more on this essential prop…

https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/film/news/a7703/detective-show-crazy-walls/


We make no apologies for the following promotional message. Clay’s Hyderabadi is a true gem of the burgeoning food scene in our home town, Reading. This small restaurant produces food punching well above its weight class in flavour. Nandana and Sharat, the couple behind Clay’s, have struggled through The Situation, being unable to reopen due to limited space. This has not stopped them from dispensing hundreds of meals for charity and developing a range of their favourites in cook-chill packaging. The big news is now their amazing curries, biryanis and sundries are available nationwide. We urge you to give them a try if you want to try genuinely great home-cooked Hyderabadi cuisine at home. Check the review from The Plate Licked Clean then order up!

https://www.theplatelickedclean.co.uk/clays-hyderabadi-kitchen-reading-national-delivery-service

In a different spin on food and drink service during The Situation, Insider looks at the phenomenon of wine windows, a Tuscan plague-era architectural rarity enabling gelaterias to serve coffee and frozen treats in a safely distanced way. We’re reminded of The Greyfriar in Chawton, a sixeenth century pub we visited recently whose staff found a serving hatch that had been out of action for centuries. It’s now back in service and helping the staff get the beers to thirsty punters in a very Covid-friendly manner!

https://www.insider.com/photos-wine-windows-florence-italy-covid-friendly-gelato-coffee-2020-8

https://www.greyfriar-chawton.co.uk

We love this Eater piece on how comics and graphic techniques can be used to make cookbooks a much less intimidating prospect to use. We’re not surprised, though. The comics form works brilliantly as an educational resource in whatever discipline you put it through. Let’s be frank—if you’ve read a safety card on an aircraft, you’ve read a comic. We would especially flag Wendy McNaughton, who’s lovely pen-and-ink line illustrations make Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat such a treat to read and cook from.

https://www.eater.com/cookbooks/2016/11/16/13645020/cookbook-comic-book

ANOTHER Judge Dredd post? Well, it looks like the disease ridden hellscape of The Situation and the political fustercluck therein was foretold in a worryingly on-the-nose fashion by the British SF comic. This Wired piece is well worth a read, and we can very strongly recommend America, a powerful story that lays bare the lies and terrible choices behind authoritarian rule.

Not just biff bang pow…

https://wired.trib.al/zr42lMH

While we’re on the prescient tip, this 2013 piece on John Le Carre is a neatly drawn portrait of a man who has not just defined our view of espionage but how the spooks view themselves and take care of business. His influence runs deep, and his insight is disturbingly on the nose.

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/magazine/john-le-carre-has-not-mellowed-with-age.html

Cat photos. Very much a product of the InstaFace generation, right? Well, turns out we have been celebrating our feline chums photographically for almost as long as we have had the ability to do so. 120 years, to be more precise!

https://mymodernmet.com/cyanotype-time-capsule-cat-photos/

We would be failing in our duty as cataloguers of the interverse were we not to highlight the finest piece of writing published anywhere this week. Comedian and paragon of progressive masculinity Rob Delaney details the events surrounding his vasectomy. That’s all the background you need. Read on and enjoy.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/aug/12/could-i-feel-what-they-were-doing-yes-rob-delaney-on-the-pain-and-pleasure-of-his-vasectomy


And finally, your Exit Music. Way, way back in the before times of 2004 (the year when the staff of The Cut relocated to our current eyrie, fact fans) musical artists of a liberal persuasion banded together to get their fans out and rock the vote. The resulting tour led to some amazing musical moments. Far Out magazine highlights two of our heroes, Michael Stipe and Bruce Springsteen, collaborating on a kickass version of ‘Because The Night’, a song written by Bruce and made famous by Patti Smith, one of Michael’s major influences. We love this.

https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/r-e-m-michael-stipe-bruce-springsteen-to-sing-because-the-night-and-man-on-the-moon/

See you in seven.

The Cut – Issue 13

Thirteen weeks of this foolishness! The smart move would be to bail while there’s a scrap of dignity left to wrap around our scrawny thews. But no, that is not how we operate, as well you know. Therefore, o our Readership, the luck is all good for you. Enjoy this week’s slumgullion of linky loveliness.

Come on, we’re all friends now. Say it with me.

Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.


Continue reading The Cut – Issue 13