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20 February 2024
[blog] Diamond Geezer’s Saturday … A day in the Life from London’s best blogger. ‘1pm – Lunch is a very important part of my Saturday. I might head to the latest streetfood nirvana and try my luck with a spicy chilli dog, a twisted falafel wrap or a mini pistachio crêpe – Kerb at the Gipsy Hill Taproom is always a winner. Or I might just open a packet of Mini Cheddars.’
18 January 2024
[wifi] Problems with the WiFi“I’ve got problems with your Wifi. You’ve put a password on it…” 🤣

2 January 2024
[comics] Wyrd Britain: Moorcock and Moore in conversation‘This video shows Michael Moorcock and Alan Moore engaged in a wide and free roaming conversation about Moorcock’s life and work that takes in his post-war childhood, his editorship of ‘New Worlds’, modernism and the modern author, Jerry Cornelius, being left wing in Texas and of course, due to the occasion, Colonel Pyat and the holocaust.’
20 December 2023
[2023] John Crace on the Villains of 2023‘Suella Braverman — First, we had her enthusiastic support of the Rwanda policy. The idea of sending small boats refugees to a country that has been deemed unsafe by the United Nations. So far, no refugee has yet been deported to Rwanda. So that worked well. Then she acquired a barge that turned out to be riddled with legionella. So far, only a handful of people have been housed there. It turns out that Braverman is good at talking about new ways to be unpleasant to foreigners, but less so at turning it into a reality.’
13 December 2023
[podcasts] The Banksy Story … A BBC podcast chronicling Banksy’s rise to fame.
6 December 2023
[books] Remembering Iain Banks: a prolific, terrific talent … A look at the legacy of Iain Banks. ‘Ten long years without a new book from him seems illogical, bizarre. After his rug-pulling debut The Wasp Factory brought him early notoriety in 1984, Banks averaged roughly a novel a year for almost three decades. Though he clearly relished switching up his approach to genre, consistent elements of his often swashbuckling style – notably caustic wit, a weakness for wordplay and unwavering socialist politics – made the annual ritual of catching up with the new Banks feel like an ongoing conversation. I miss it. I miss him.’
6 October 2023
[comics] the SETH shoot interview … Long interview with Seth on Joe Matt and much more from Cartoonist Kayfabe.

4 October 2023
[comics] Remembering Joe Matt … Memories from friends including Seth and Chester Brown. Seth: ‘It always struck me as funny when someone would read one of Joe’s comics and get angry. “What a jerk” they’d say, getting all worked up about Joe and his actions in the story. What amazed me was that they were reacting to the work as if they’d just watched a documentary about him. Totally forgetting that this was a work of art by a very calculating and smart artist who deliberately made the choices in the book that caused this reaction. Joe knew exactly what he was doing. He didn’t paint himself as a creep by accident. That was the point. He did everything on purpose. That weird obsessiveness of his made absolutely nothing an accident. Every line, every panel, every exclamation mark was carefully considered (too carefully considered!). He was a master cartoonist and the work shows it.’
2 October 2023
[comics] Farewell to a Poor Bastard … Jeet Heer’s obituary for Joe Matt. ‘I got to know Joe Matt while I was working as a journalist in Toronto in the 1990s. I would occasionally write about Joe’s work and also that of his two cartoonist friends Chester Brown and Seth (who sometimes showed up as comic foils in Joe’s work). I had shown my wife, Robin Ganev, Joe’s just published graphic novel, The Poor Bastard. Robin delighted in the book as an accurate portrayal of the dating scene among young Toronto bohemians in the 1990s. Joe’s portrait of himself as a heel impressed her as an essentially accurate rendering of an all-too-common male type. As my friend the journalist Nathalie Atkinson notes, “Many women love Joe Matt’s comics—in part because he confirms everything we suspected.”’
22 September 2023
[comics] Ed Brubaker remembers Joe Matt‘Joe was renting a room in a house and his room was full of big sketchbooks with his newspaper strip collections. That was his big passion right then, collecting Gasoline Alley strips and glueing them into huge books. There’s a scene in BAD WEEKEND where the cartoonist takes his assistant down and shows him the strips he collected his entire life, and that was directly inspired by those big books of Joe’s. He spent countless hours going over those old strips and I’m pretty sure those were hours of childlike joy at the art of comics.’
1 August 2023
[gaming] John Romero on the birth of id Software … An excerpt from John Romero’s autobiography Doom Guy. ‘The ability to program games that move so smoothly on the horizontal axis within the game world was earth-shattering technology. It meant we could write games for the PC that rivaled the games created for gaming systems like Nintendo, Sega, and Atari without the need for their specialized hardware. Players didn’t need to invest in a new console! All they needed was a PC and the game files. Nowadays, this is what venture capitalists mean when they talk about “disruption.”’
18 July 2023
[opinions] 100 Incontrovertible Opinions‘Covid: Of course the vaccine worked you morons.’
12 June 2023
[life] Dead Ringers … The compelling story, from 1975, about identical twin gynecologists who died together under mysterious circumstances in New York. The story was an influence on David Cronenberg’s movie Dead Ringers. ‘On Tuesday, July 14, Cyril lurches one last time out of the twins’ final nesting place. He stumbles as he is about to cross the threshold to the outside world. The doorman who offers to assist Cyril thinks he “looks like death.” Out on the sidewalk Cyril looks at life without Stewart. The first thing he will have to do, he knows, is explain things. It’s not hard to explain why he returned so soon to that crypt in 10H. Only in those two minutes he languished in the womb after his brother’s departure could Cyril have been more alone. He double-locked the door behind him. He pushed an armchair up against it as a further barricade…’
1 June 2023
[internet] Doug Rushkoff Is Ready to Renounce the Digital Revolution… A profile of Douglas Rushkoff in 2023. ‘I first encountered Rushkoff’s writing around this time, in 2010, while I was working for a site called Shareable.net. The site’s premise was that connecting everything and everyone to the web would allow people to freely lend the stuff they already owned, creating further abundance for all. Room-sharing platforms would reduce housing costs, and ride-sharing platforms would reduce the number of cars on the road. Rushkoff was a proponent of reorganizing the internet according to peer-to-peer principles, and he became one of the site’s most popular contributors. As platforms like Airbnb and Uber took over, leading the world into a new age of inequality and increased resource consumption, his dream of participatory decentralization died hard. But even amid mounting cognitive dissonance, certain parts of Rushkoff’s faith held out. On reflection, he says, “I blamed capitalism and held the technology itself innocent.”’
20 April 2023
[murdoch] Inside Rupert Murdoch’s Succession Drama … Profiling Rupert Murdoch’s later years. ‘COVID was only the most recent medical emergency that sent Murdoch to the hospital. In recent years, Murdoch has suffered a broken back, seizures, two bouts of pneumonia, atrial fibrillation, and a torn Achilles tendon, a source close to the mogul told me. Many of these episodes went unreported in the press, which was just how Murdoch liked it. Murdoch assiduously avoids any discussion of a future in which he isn’t in command of his media empire. “I’m now convinced of my own immortality,” he famously declared after beating prostate cancer in 1999 at the age of 69. He reminds people that his mother, Dame Elisabeth, lived until 103 (“I’m sure he’ll never retire,” she told me when I interviewed her in 2010, a day after her 101st birthday). But unlike the politicians Murdoch has bullied into submission with his tabloids, human biology is immovable. “There’s been a joke in the family for a long time that 40 may be the new 30, but 80 is 80,” a source close to Murdoch said. On March 11, he turned 92.’
30 March 2023
[comics] How Two Jewish Kids in 1930s Cleveland Altered the Course of American Pop Culture … A fresh retelling of the story of Superman’s creation. ‘That fateful morning when Jerry arrived with his fresh script, Joe rubbed the sleep out of his nearsighted eyes, put on his Coke-bottle glasses, then read all about the new-and-improved Superman. Joe got it immediately, smiled, and sat down to work. He drew as fast as he could as Jerry paced the wooden floor and narrated, describing the action using film lingo: close-up, long shot, overhead shot. Joe’s eyes were very bad, even with his glasses, so he drew very slowly and meticulously, his nose just an inch or so from the paper. The two spent the whole day—without taking a break, eating sandwiches that Joe brought in—creating Superman.’
28 March 2023
[art] The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief … The surprisingly sad story behind a very prolific art thief. ‘In the annals of art crime, it’s hard to find someone who has stolen from ten different places. By the time the calendar flips to 2000, by Breitwieser’s calculations, he’s nearing 200 separate thefts and 300 stolen objects. For six years, he’s averaged one theft every two weeks. One year, he is responsible for half of all paintings stolen from French museums.’
21 March 2023
[comics] Incel Supernova: From a Single Comic Strip to the End of the Universe with Scott Adams – The Comics Journal … Abhay Khosla takes a deep dive into the world of Scott Adams. ‘The title of his book is correct. Scott Adams won. He won at comics – but with comics that abandon the whimsy or sadness of the great strips, and embrace resentment and isolation. He won at politics – thanks to a coarse grifter appealing to desperate people’s most racist instincts. He won at getting into arguments on the internet – an internet clogged with helpless people begging, pleading, crying that you GoFund their health care. He won at having money in a country that values nothing besides that. He’s a darling of a media too impotent and untrusted to even convince Americans that Donald Trump is a con man. He’s won in a game too grotesque for any decent person to still want to play.’
3 March 2023
[funny] Regarding Efforts By You, An Inferior Person, To Cancel Me, A Genius‘When you think I am getting facts “wrong,” you are missing how I am illuminating what truth means. When you say I am “ignoring context,” you are missing how I am illustrating the unknowability of context. When you say I am contradicting myself, you fail to recognize I am in a Platonic dialogue with myself, and both sides of myself are winning.’
21 December 2022
[politics] ‘Everyone calls to say how marvellous I am’ – Matt Hancock’s Pandemic Diaries, Digested … A digested read from John Grace. ‘Jonathan Van-Tam invites me to visit a hospital. Says it will improve morale in the NHS. On the nightshift I manage to save the lives of three patients. It is a very humbling moment for the doctors.’
10 November 2022
>> I don’t know who need this today but here’s some joyful old clips of Vincent Price riding roller coasters. You’re welcome.
21 October 2022
[retro] Don’t Piss Off Bradley, the Parts Seller Keeping Atari Machines Alive … An amusing story about the cantankerous gatekeeper of a huge collection of ancient Atari hardware. ‘Best’s catalog is only available in print. It costs $7.50 plus shipping, is the size of a small phone book, and is more than 20 years out of date. It needs to be cross-referenced with an “addendum” section on the Best website, where Koda has logged about 65 typewritten pages’ worth of piecemeal price changes and other corrections over the past two decades. Anyone who can’t figure out this system risks being deemed a time-waster. In emails to customers, Koda often laments his busy schedule, and he seems to take distractions personally.’
16 September 2022
[queen] The short unhappy life of Elizabeth Windsor … Politico sum up the life of Queen Elizabeth. ‘She knew a lot about the things she had inherited and not much about anything else. She drove — fast — about her estates in a beaten-up Land Rover and dedicated her life to fiercely protecting the promulgation of the family firm. But it was almost as if she was absent from her own story — her legend as rigorously curated and spun as that of any autocrat. To provide her United Kingdom with the monarch she felt it needed, she sacrificed an ordinary life and the other things most of us take for granted. But then the curious nature of hereditary monarchy never offered her another path.’
9 September 2022
[death] [NOTE: Do Not Run Until Fucking Queen Is Dead Or People Will Lose Their Shit] Queen Elizabeth Dead At 96 … The Onion’s top-quality obituary for the Queen. ‘She married Philip Mountbatten in 1947, beginning a [TK ADJECTIVE] royal union that lasted [TK] years until [NOTE: DID HE DIE? CHECK. IF HE DID, WE FORGOT TO RUN AN OBIT], in which they had four children: Prince Charles, the heir apparent, as well as Princess [TK], Prince [TK], and Prince Andrew [NOTE: CHECK ANDREW’S LATEST ROYAL STATUS RE: PEDOPHILIA ALLEGATIONS]. In addition to her children, the queen is survived by [INSERT SOME BULLSHIT HERE ABOUT HER DO-NOTHING PROGENY]. As Britain’s first lady queen [PROBABLY LOOK THIS UP] …’
6 September 2022
[politics] “He was scum.” … Hunter S. Thompson’s obituary for Richard Nixon.

‘If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

These are harsh words for a man only recently canonized by President Clinton and my old friend George McGovern — but I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum.’

5 September 2022
[cia] The Surreal Case of a C.I.A. Hacker’s Revenge … The astonishing story of how the CIA lost control of it’s arsenal of hacking tools because of an extremely angry, disgruntled employee. ‘Unlike other prominent digital leakers, Schulte did not seem like an ideological whistle-blower. Ayn Rand fanboys are not exactly famous for their doctrinal consistency, and Schulte’s concerns about “Big Brother” don’t appear to have occasioned much soul-searching in the years he spent building surveillance weapons for a spy agency. On an anonymous Twitter account that Schulte maintained, he reportedly expressed the view (in a since-deleted tweet) that Chelsea Manning should be executed. Weber recalled Schulte saying that Snowden deserved the same. Could it be that Schulte had leaked the C.I.A.’s digital arsenal not because of any principled opposition to the policies of the U.S. government but because he was pissed off at his colleagues?’
24 August 2022
[life] If You Transplant a Human Head, Does Its Consciousness Follow? … The engrossing real life story of a surgeon obsessed with head transplants. ‘One day, her friend, Cleveland neurologist Michael DeGeorgia, called her to his office. He quietly slid a battered shoebox toward her, inviting her to open it. Schillace obliged, half-worried it might contain a brain. She pulled out a notebook—perhaps from the ‘50s or ‘60s, she says—and started to leaf through it. “There’s all these strange little notes and stuff about mice and brains and brain slices, and these little flecks,” Schillace says. “I was like, ‘What … what are all these marks?’” Probably blood, DeGeorgia told her.’
16 August 2022
[games] Jason Brassard Spent His Lifetime Collecting the Rarest Video Games. Until the Heist … A true-crime story about the robbery of a pristine collection of video games and the emotional cost of losing it. ‘Generations of games had been lost to attics, yard sales, and garbage bins, and enthusiasts like Brassard had become sentimental about finding and possessing them. A culture, and then a market, had bloomed around such wistful longings. It’s fair to assume most humans have played a video game—the emotional capital of playing and loving a game 30 years ago is one of the reasons games that old have become desirable. In the summer of 2021, a sealed copy of the first print of Super Mario Bros. for the NES sold for $2 million at auction. A copy of The Legend of Zelda went for nearly $900,000. A pristine, never-opened copy of Super Mario 64 sold for $1.56 million.’
11 August 2022
[lovecraft] H.P Lovecraft’s very bizarre hatred of Red Hook and Brooklyn Heights … TL;DR – Lovecraft was racist. ‘He seemed to filter all his untethered anxiety into the very building at 169 Clinton Street. “I conceived the idea that the great brownstone house was a malignly sentient thing — a dead, vampire creature which sucked something out of those within it and implanted in them the seeds of some horrible and immaterial psychic growth.” Yet Lovecraft saved his greater fantasies for the neighborhood south of here. He eventually funneled all this tortured and deranged hysteria into his horror writing with the publication of “The Horror at Red Hook,” a story that literally depicts the neighborhood as a gateway to Hell.’
7 July 2022
[books] Eric Clapton’s Bookshelf … An amusing forensic examination of Clapton’s bookshelves and what they say about his character.

3 June 2022
[brand] Russell Brand’s latest addiction … Tanya Gold on Russell Brand. ‘At the end, when he has hugged everyone who waited, I listen to them praise him. “You can’t have control over what’s going on in the world, but you can have control over yourself,” says one. It’s a doctrine of renewal, but so atomised as to be meaningless. “He’s got that attention to the working class,” says another. “He is like us,” says the third, “a free thinker [who] cares about everyone in the world, not ground down by politicians and big corporate companies. He cares about individual people.” But does he? I think he is using them, and, worse, they let him. Brand is another symptom of our alienation: of the fracturing of the institutions that we need. We will see more, and different Brands in future, as the centre falls away. They will blow in on the wind. His doctrine of disengagement will change nothing for them.’
17 May 2022
[covid] Michael Lewis: ‘We were incentivised to have a bad pandemic response’ … An update with Michael Lewis from last year about his latest book on Covid-19. ‘Each December, Dean would write her new year resolutions on the back of a photograph of her grandmother. On 20 December 2019, she wrote down two things. “1) Stay sober. 2) It has started.” She had a kind of sixth sense that the viral pandemic she had long been expecting had begun. By coincidence, and rather oddly, at about the same time, Lewis put forward the idea, in a conversation with the Observer, that the only thing that could wake America up to Donald Trump’s governmental negligence was a pandemic. He now plays down his clairvoyance, explaining that he gave that example simply because it was a situation that would affect everybody. “Rich white people would be scared too,” he says. In the event, many Americans followed Trump’s lead in denying the danger of Covid-19 and the virus has remained a highly divisive and contested subject. “If it had killed twice as many people and killed kids,” says Lewis, “you wouldn’t be seeing these revolts in Oklahoma. You’d be seeing the New Deal.”’
29 April 2022
[herzog] Werner Herzog Has Never Liked Introspection … A long, powerful interview with Werner Herzog. ‘The deepest of catastrophes was the First World War, and then only twenty years later or so you have the Second World War, and the complete destruction of Germany. Almost every single major city in Germany looked like the World Trade Center after its attack. And that sank in—and it’s in me. My first memory is of my mother ripping my brother and me out of bed in the middle of the winter night, wrapping us in blankets, and taking us up on a slope. In the distance, at the end of the valley, the entire night sky was red and orange and very slowly pulsing. She said the city of Rosenheim was burning. I was only two and a half. Normally, memories do not go back that far, but I know this was my very first memory, and it’s embedded in my soul.’
25 April 2022
[tv] ‘You Don’t Understand What This Is Doing to Me’ … Remembering James Gandolfini and a deep-dive into the impact that playing Tony Soprano had on him. ‘To say that Gandolfini rose to the occasion would be putting it mildly. His complex, nuanced, and inspired performance demonstrated remarkable range, not just over the course of the series, or any one episode, but often within a scene, a confrontation, even a single moment, that seemed to transcend mere “acting.” No matter how despicable Tony’s behavior appeared on the surface, Gandolfini was so persuasive and affecting —whether conveying Tony’s rage, passion, or some fleeting flash of guilt — that the audience never turned its back on him. In a troubling age of anti-heroes, Tony Soprano was royalty. His eyes told a million tales, and his performance elevated him to the upper echelon of American actors. He adapted handily to the series’ widened scope, its growth from intimate portrait to rich, blood-splattered tapestry, and he was enormously instrumental in making The Sopranos an epochal cultural event — unofficially the start of what some would call television’s “second golden age.” Whether that’s true or not, it was a golden age of Gandolfini.’
13 April 2022
[movies] Hello, I’m Nicolas Cage and welcome to Ask Me Anything … Reddit AMA. ‘A: Who is your favorite character in all of literature and film? Q: That is so hard to answer. I will say that James Dean’s performance as Cal in East of Eden is largely the reason I became a film actor. His role in that is one of my favorite characters in cinema. But then we can go all the way to Rasputin or we can go to Dmitri Karamazov. Dmitri Karamazov is one my favorite characters in literature. I love him so much because he’s so happy and he has no money. He’s just living it up. He spent all his money trying to get the girl. I did the same thing once. I was very Dmitri Karamazov in high school. The most beautiful girl in high school who was a grade older than me invited me to the prom but I had no money. My grandmother gave each of us a little bond. My older brother bought a car. My second oldest brother bought some stereo equipment. And I splashed out on a chauffeur-driven limousine, a tuxedo and a four course meal at Le Dome on Sunset blvd. The car was $2000, the stereo was $2000, and my prom night was $2000 and man, that was money well spent. THAT’s Dmitri Karamazov.’
8 April 2022
[books] He Was an Ex-FBI Serial Killer Profiler. Then His Lies Caught Up With Him. … Another story (Previously) of a fraudulent serial killer expert this time based in the UK. ‘The relationship between Harrison’s falsehoods and the apparent obliviousness of his audiences and publishers raised a number of still unanswered questions. Why had no one before Robin Perrie bothered to check the claims in such a colourful CV? And what does this web of strange deceit say about the nature of true crime fandom and the cottage industry surrounding it?’
29 March 2022
[elon] Please Like Me … A small request from Elon Musk. ‘I’m sure it seems like I have it all. And maybe I do. Although I’d like to make one simple request: Please like me. Please, for the love of all that is holy, consider me clever and interesting. Honestly, I don’t get why anyone wouldn’t like me. I do cool stuff. I make cars. People like cars, don’t they? I make stonks go to the moon. Isn’t that cool? Isn’t making stonks go to the moon something people like? Seriously, c’mon. Appreciate me. I was on Rick And Morty. Wubba lubba dub dub, right? People love that show!’
18 March 2022
[tech] His software sang the words of God. Then it went silent. … A really sad, powerful story about how software can die with it’s creator, teaching Torah, loss and about a million other things. ‘I first heard it played to me over the phone from a copy that hadn’t yet ceased to function. It was a voice unlike any I’d ever heard: not human but made by humans, generated by a piece of computer code dating to the 1980s, singing words of a text from the Bronze Age in a cadence handed down, from one singer to another, over thousands of years. TropeTrainer was software that had been taught to sing the words of God. Then it went silent…’
16 March 2022
[tv] How tainted is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 25 years on?‘And then there were the show’s gender politics: for while it foregrounded many empowered women, it also featured a problematic male lead in the shape of Xander. There were other examples of toxic and fragile masculinity on the show, like the reprisal of teenage boy villains into The Trio in series six, but the difference was that Xander was positioned as a nice guy – and rewatching the series now, that’s something which leaves a particularly bad taste. A pretty girl couldn’t walk by without Xander oggling or pestering them, and it mostly goes unquestioned, especially where Buffy is concerned. His entitled attitude towards her and animosity towards every guy she dates is nauseating to watch.’
2 March 2022
[comics] “True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee” Author Interview by Tegan O’Neil … Abraham Riesman discusses his new biography of Stan Lee.

You can try to glean life lessons from Stan’s arc, but I feel like they’re all relatively obvious: thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet, and so on. The harder thing to process is the twofold ambiguity of his life.

There’s the factual ambiguity of who created the Marvel pantheon, which is a dilemma that will probably never be resolved. And then there’s the moral ambiguity of asking whether he was a “good” man or not, which is a similarly unanswerable question, albeit for different reasons. The human mind wants to reject ambiguity; we want to say some things are incontrovertible facts and that the people we like or hate are objectively good or bad. But the reality of existence is uncertainty: constant, chaotic, and infuriating. You can either lie to yourself for certainty—and, to be sure, we all have to do that for certain aspects of life—or you can be honest and confront the answerlessness of the world.

11 February 2022
[cummings] What Dominic Cummings Gets Wrong … More analysis of Dominic Cummings. ‘Ultimately this is what Cummings gets wrong. Regulation, institutional norms, information transparency, processes, are more important than brilliant people. Because it is only those things that stand in the way of bad actors destroying systems. It is the current absence of these things causing America so many problems because Trump is a really bad actor.’
9 February 2022
[experts] Why Is It So Hard to Predict the Future? … A look at why experts find predicting the future correctly difficult. ‘The integrators outperformed their colleagues in pretty much every way, but especially trounced them on long-term predictions. Eventually, Tetlock bestowed nicknames (borrowed from the philosopher Isaiah Berlin) on the experts he’d observed: The highly specialized hedgehogs knew “one big thing,” while the integrator foxes knew “many little things.” Hedgehogs are deeply and tightly focused. Some have spent their career studying one problem. Like Ehrlich and Simon, they fashion tidy theories of how the world works based on observations through the single lens of their specialty. Foxes, meanwhile, “draw from an eclectic array of traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradiction,” Tetlock wrote. Where hedgehogs represent narrowness, foxes embody breadth.’
17 January 2022
[cummings] Intoxicating, insidery and infuriating: everything I learned about Dominic Cummings from his £10-a-month blog … A deep dive into the world of Dominic Cummings.

What’s so interesting about Cummings is that although he seems to share some of this deep scepticism about democratic politics and politicians – too slow, too trivial, too easily spooked – he cannot fully embrace it. After all, tracking public opinion in a clear-eyed, unsentimental way is what he does, perhaps better than anyone. He is a genius at it. In the end, his blog reminds me of the old Woody Allen joke: “The food here is terrible!” “Yes, and such small portions!” Cummings thinks that British politics is broken, that the two main parties are ready for the knacker’s yard, and that most of the political class couldn’t strategise their way out of a paper bag. And yet he can’t resist trying to play their game. He wants to abolish the Labour party. He also wants to teach it how to win the next election. He’d like to put quantum physicists in charge of the government. He’d also like to see Rishi Sunak boot Boris (and Carrie) out of Downing Street. He wants to burn it down. He also wants to make it better.

12 January 2022
[podcasts] Two podcasts series I’ve listened to recently…

  • Hunting Ghislaine … John Sweeney examines how Ghislaine Maxwell became a convicted sex trafficker.

  • The Coming Storm … An attempt to understand QAnon and it’s history.

13 December 2021
[xmas] The Christmas Sandwich Reviews … Feeling Listless is reviewing pre-packed Christmas sandwiches and it reads like a much more personal, tougher (and expensive!) blog project than I ever might have imagined. I think how he feels about festive sandwiches at the end of this will be interesting. ‘When I told the check out person that I’d travelled all the way from Liverpool to visit Booths near Burscough (I’m terrible at small talk) and she gave me the requisite bemused interest, I knew it was probably a good thing I didn’t mention it was just to buy a sandwich because that would have been silly. But nevertheless for the purposes of this survey I did indeed travel to Ormskirk then walk for three quarters of an hour to a non-descript retail park just off the A59 in order to taste what this particular supermarket had to offer in the way of a festive butty…’
3 December 2021
[tv] ‘We were two tortured idiots trying to make TV’: The Adam and Joe Show, 25 years on‘One of the most striking things about rewatching The Adam and Joe Show is how well most of it has aged (there are notable exceptions, including a debate about the relative merits of vinyl versus CDs). That’s partly because – comfortingly or depressingly, depending on how you look at it – mainstream entertainment hasn’t actually changed that much. The subjects of their parodies – Star Wars, Friends, Loose Women – remain ubiquitous. People Place, their very funny pastiche of daytime TV programmes that “take on these really massive subjects but do them in a huge hurry, and involve members of the public and just rush them all the time”, as Cornish puts it, remains painfully spot-on.’
1 December 2021
>> A Picture of Stan Lee in the 1970s.

Stan Lee in the 1970s

29 November 2021
[comics] Like Colonel Sanders: The Stan Lee Era … A deep dive into the life of Stan Lee via two recent biographies. ‘Lee’s final years were a strange mixture of global fame and outlandish hustling. He enjoyed filming his Hitchcock-like cameos for the MCU movies, but got only token fees for them and avoided sitting through the premieres: ‘Stan hated superhero films,’ his business manager told Riesman. A parade of unreliable associates – including a memorabilia mogul who claimed to be Michael Jackson’s best friend – tried to persuade him they’d found a way to turn his celebrity into cash.’
19 November 2021
[people] What lies beneath: the secrets of France’s top serial killer expert … The fascinating story of a fraudulent French expert on serial killers. ‘Bourgoin’s friends withdrew from him, and began to await, with a fair amount of dread, his unmasking. But his star continued to rise. “What astounded me was not so much that he told tall tales, because I knew he was that way, but rather that everyone swallowed them whole,” the other friend said. “It was the unseriousness, not to say the sheer idiocy, of the media.” The indulgence of the publishers, the newspapers, the television stations and even the police might have been more forgivable if Bourgoin’s work had been more insightful, offered more than morbid titillation, the first friend said. “But there was never, ever, ever the slightest beginning of a hint of a shadow of analysis, of reflection,” he said.’
11 November 2021
[comics] A rare interview with Robert Crumb on America, PC culture and Trump‘It was Aline who hung, at the entrance to their home, a Donald Trump voodoo doll, complete with pins. “She’s really obsessed with Trump,” he says. “I’m no friend of Trump. I think he’s a bad man, but he’s a symptom of things that have been happening in the States for decades, it’s the decline of the Roman Empire. She suggested we make a comic about Trump together. I said, Okay, I can get into that, and then I spent an entire day just drawing Trump’s hair. I studied his hair with a magnifying glass. When you see a man with hair like that, alarms should go off.”’