Notes for week of 24 April, 2023

⤳ There were no week notes last week, because we were away for a long weekend in Dungeness. It’s been on my ‘to visit’ list for a long time, mainly for Derek Jarman’s beautiful cottage and garden, but also because everyone I know who has been tells me how eerily beautiful it is. We stayed in the remarkable Fog Signal Building right on the beach, and spent a lovely couple of days experiencing every type of weather (from glorious sunshine to horizontal rain), some truly excellent fish and chips (up the coast in Rye), and the joyous sight of the dog running up and down the beach like a lunatic.

I took a few photos of the crazy Dungeness landscape (and the dog), which are on Instagram. The picture above is the house that was ‘next door’ to us on the coast.

⤳ In London in Bits this week, we published the first of our ‘Before You Go’ series, highlighting London’s most loved but potentially endangered places. For the first one, we interviewed the very lovely and smart Russell Davies at Bar Bruno in Soho. Next week Nina and I are off to the Interesting Conference which Russell organises. Should be great.

⤳ While we were in Dungeness I read On Quality: An Inquiry into Excellence which is a collection of writings and other bits and pieces by Robert Pirsig (of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). It’s a slim book and there’s not an awful lot of new stuff in there, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I just wish he’d written more. I love his voice and his way of thinking.

⤳ At the start of the week, I went to see the brilliant Joe Pera do his standup show at the Soho Theatre. I honestly never thought I’d get to see Pera live, so this was a real treat (especially as his show has now been cancelled). If you haven’t yet been exposed to Pera’s brilliance, you could do worse than start with this latest YouTube series:

⤳ On the Friday before the bank holiday I went with my very old friend, Mike Sizemore to see the Jerzy Skolimowski film The Shout at the BFI. It stars Alan Bates, Susannah York, and John Hurt, and it’s deeply weird and fascinating and very, very British 70s.

According to Mike The Shout tied with a movie called Bye Bye Monkey at Cannes in ‘78 - that film manages to look even stranger than Skolimowski’s.

⤳ Some interesting things I’ve read these past few weeks:

Matthew Smith designed cult video games, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy… Then he disappeared. What happened to him?

The case of the fake Sherlock: Richard Walter was hailed as a genius criminal profiler. How did he get away with his fraud for so long?

The gambler who beat roulette.

How does a magician trick other magicians? National Geographic went to the ‘Magic Olympics’ to find out.

Die Workwear interviewed Yukio Akamine, “the most stylish man alive”.

The Atlantic looks into the time Truman Capote went to jail.

⤳ Listening to:

Four Tet’s new one is great: