The Cut Season Two Episode One

We made it! Welcome to 2021, the year of hope after whatever the hell that shitshow we’ve just endured was. All is reset, we can begin again as if nothing had happened, secure in the knowledge that the world is now a better, brighter place…

Yeah, alright, maybe not. Nevertheless, here we are at the arbitrary start of a new unit of time measurement. Let’s at least start with a positive outlook, yeah?

We’ll have reports from our film, literature, food and music desks who all have a nod for their favourite thing of the year, as well as some more of the random nonsense you’ve come to tolerate over the last months. Shall we begin?

Now be the time. Here be the place. This are The Cut.

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The Cut🎄At Christmas

Hail Santa! Ho, furthermore ho, and in conclusion, ho. How fares the day, our delightful Readership? We hope it finds you in an eggnogilicious mood. Ongoing changes to the lockdown rules mean that most of the staff at The Cut have been forced to stay in the office for the season, roasting chestnuts and turkey in an improvised and potentially deadly adapted microwave setup. Oh well, those of us that survive will all be laughing about it this time next year.

Let’s get the festivities started, shall we? Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin’s in a rut. Now is the time, here is the place, welcome to The Cut!

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The Cut🩸Issue 32

Christmas in Tier 3, whoop de bleedin doo. Like we needed any more excuses to roll up the drawbridge and set the minefields and robot gun emplacements and fill the moat with shark-infested acid and dig into the booze and grub stockpile and drink and eat ourselves into a hibernative food coma all the while singing SKRU U 2020, ENUF IS ENUF.

Ahem. A shorter film-heavy Cut this week as we consider our options for the ‘festive’ season. Christmas Day is next Friday, and we do intend to have a thing for you. What shape and smell it will have is yet to be confirmed. But we’ll be double-dog-damned if we’re gonna leave you hanging just when you need us the most.

Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it. Strike a pose there’s nothing to now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.

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The Cut 🩹Issue 25

Is it just us, or are things getting a little bit spoopy around here? Welcome, guys and ghouls, to the All Hallows’ Eve Eve edition of The Cut! There’s a few creepy links, as well as our usual witches brew of linkarology. No trick, just treats!

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

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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.

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The Cut ⚔️ Issue 22

“But he had spent so much of his life insisting that he was right that to admit he was wrong then would have been to raise the terrible shadow of what else he was wrong about. A strong man can’t be wrong.” (from “The Pursuit of William Abbey” by Claire North)

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

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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 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