The Saturday Spectacular 13/11/21

join the yoghurt mafia

The Saturday Spectacular 13/11/21
went to see my parent's new house; lola is settling in nicely

Hi folks.

I've started posting again recently, but this is my first email in a while! I've decided to retool things a bit, and rather than emailing out the weeknotes, I'll be emailing Saturday posts which will have links to the stuff I've done in the week, a few links out to things I've found interesting and some embryonic other thoughts that I'm playing with which I might expand out into something more. I thought if I'm sending an email around to folks it should be something that has a bit more variety and interest than just what I'd been up to that week. It also, hopefully, has the chance to attract a few more people to sign up.

That is something that's changed, in my head at least: I would like more people to read this blog! Historically, I have really not cared a whit how many people read or listen to my stuff. Right now, I think, I would liked more people to. If I am to find people of like mind and vibe online without social media, it will be through the things I put out. If you like what I write, and you know someone else who might too, please suggest they read it!

Speaking of output, you might have noticed I've resumed daily posting. There is actually a specific (and very me) reason for this, though that reason will not be apparent for another few months, if at all. (This is a teaser: stay tuned to find out more!)

This week I wrote about:

This week I thought about:

  • I've been thinking about my relationship to media in a similar way to my relationship to food, insamuch as it often seems to involve binge cycles. I have spent a fair amount of the last few days on trains or hanging around in my parent's house and I've been absolutely blasting through all the stuff in my Pocket backlog (I'm still only on stuff I saved in July, though).  I would like to better integrate reading stuff I've saved into my day-to-day; I suspect the answer might be running everything through there, using clearing my RSS reader as a first pass to filter out anything I'm not interested in, then coming back later to do a second pass and read and highlight the rest. I will give it a go and see.
  • I've been trying to work out what I think about Web3 lately. I've seen several people who I actually rate talking about it in glowing terms, and there seems to be a tremendous energy around it—which is exciting!—so I've attempted to give it a fair shake, doing some reading and some online courses, and while I haven't come to any hard conclusions yet I must confess I'm not really won over: it still seems like a solution in search of a problem and the folk who talk about it still seem to have the unflinching stare of the true believer. My investigations continue.
  • One thing all the thinking about Twitter put me in mind of was how I think certain emotions, feelings or patterns of thought are more activating than they might seem given their trivial nature. Convenience would be one such—people who resist convenience in certain areas for reasons of principle can take upon an almost saintly air of self-denial. Why Wasn't I Consulted is another one. People Don't Want Me To Say This But I Can't Get It Out Of My Head is another one but I really need to find a snappier name for it.
  • I went to the opera a few weeks ago, and I found it a more engaging experience than I was expecting. I lost my focus at some point and wasn't really able to get it back, but that was mostly due to tiredness, an awkward view and bad seats. The problem I was worried about, and pleased not to have (partly as a result of the subtitles provided on a screen above the stage which allowed me to follow along) was a lack of emotional hook leading to lack of interest and inability to focus, which is honestly something I struggle with when watching, listening to or even reading things which are in some way too... non-literal, is probably the best way I can express it. I associate this often with a lot of modern poetry and some plays (I found Pinter's No Man's Land to be like this) and honestly a lot of art too: even if I like the way it looks, it doesn't "hook" me. I don't know if it's something you can educate yourself into "getting", but I would like to if it is!

This week I read and enjoyed:

  • Firstly: pinch of salt but some of the Boris anecdotes in Big Dom's latest missive are blackly hilarious. He also seems to be on a quest to prove my thesis that Twitter robs everyone, and specifically him, of their dignity, by doing stuff like this. He also has yet to call any posts "Trolley Problem", or similar, thus proving a real non-poster mindset.
  • The story of Isabel Fall, who wrote a short story that became the locus of a Twitter controversy at least in part because of her lack of online profile, is a very interesting one. Part of me thought that reducing one's online "surface area" would make you less susceptible to that sort of thing.
  • Joe Dunthorne's account of writing for a videogame is tremendous. It always makes me somewhat sad when I think about the immense amounts of effort put into projects that don't pan out. I don't want to say entirely wasted effort—lessons are learned and resources can be repurposed—but it still seems somewhat wasteful.
  • This fascinating story of academics attempting to use critical response to novels to predict conflicts. This seems like something that wouldn't need much money to get off the ground again—someone should look at doing that.
  • I've read a few things about Simone Weil recently; this excellent column isn't about her per se, but uses her writing as a jumping-off point to talk about the nature of complaint, pain and wanting to be heard.
  • Finally: this very sweet article about some lads making yoghurt in a New Zealand prison after watching River Cottage.

Alright, it's late and I'm tired. Whenever you're reading this, make sure to get yourself a good night's sleep.

Over and out.