Notes for week of 4 April, 2023

⤳ It’s been a few weeks since I managed to write something here. I’m going to blame the fact that we were on holiday for a week, then it was my wife’s birthday, then it was our wedding anniversary. And that’s part of the reason, but the real reason is I still struggle to put dedicated time in for synthesising my week and getting it all down into one place. I’m trying to make the whole process more habitual and instinctive, but that takes time and I keep getting interrupted/interrupting myself. Anyway - you don’t want to hear this self-obsessed nonsense….

⤳ London in Bits (the newsletter I started during lockdown) turned two years old last week. Here’s a little, personal essay I wrote for it about why I started it in the first place and how gratifying it has been to see it grow over the past 24 months. I won’t lie - it’s a lot of work to keep something like this going, three times a week, every week for two years. But it’s absolutely worth it. For example, just this week, we published this article about Bradley’s Spanish Bar. When that came in as a draft I actually teared up reading it and the response when we published it was amazing, with people sharing their own stories about the bar.

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

Ride or Die by Huw Lemmey might be one of the best things I’ve read all year. I’ve already gone back and reread it a couple of times. Beautiful and incisive and so god damn honest. I loved it.

This, from Dirt, is great. It’s about the modern ‘creator’ (and the ‘creator economy’) versus magazines. And how, while magaziness felt like ‘containers for taste’, creators feel like ‘vessels for the algorithm’. I think that’s a fantastic way of putting it, and it also has this lovely bit of near-nostalgia for Spotify playlists which I completely feel:

“I told someone recently that the specific joy of stalking someone else’s Spotify account has been lost as more and more playlists are generated by the platform. It’s the opposite of intimacy, isn’t it? To stalk an algorithm? Like climbing a tree to look into your crush’s window and realizing someone else got there first…”

I can’t remember where I came across this article on the desexualisation of modern action films, but I really enjoyed it:

“And yet, these characters fucked. Blue Velvet’s Dorothy Vallens and Jeffrey Beaumant fucked. Michael Keaton’s Batman and Michelle Pfeiffer’s domme Catwoman fucked. Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor fucked. Snake Plissken didn’t fuck on screen, but the character radiates overwhelming sex-haver energy. And I defy you to find a mainstream film with a moment as horny and gay as the Sexy Saxophone Solo from The Lost Boys.”

From Jason Wilson’s Everyday Drinking newsletter comes this ‘never truer’ statement:

Less but better and for longer. What a refreshing thing to hear in 2023. In nearly every other realm of our soul-crushing age, the focus is to scale everything as big as possible, quality be damned. As someone who operates in a media industry that values an endless stream of cheap, SEO-driven clickbait over well-written, thoughtful content that costs effort and money to produce, I stand with the monks.”

The other book I read on the beach was David Milch’s Life’s Work. I am going to try and write more about Milch and his philosophy and his methods at a later date, so i won’t go into it too much here. Suffice to say that, if you’re at all interested in storytelling or writing then you should read this incredible book. Here are a couple of pics from the beach:

⤳ Listening to:

Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities by James Holden.