Friday Reading S10E01

It’s back. My weekly newsletter of … stuff

Tom Whitwell always does the most interesting things. This lockdown he’s built an ambient slow movie player. You could do that too. He’s written about how.

Maybe pick a movie without graphic sex scenes if your nan is likely to pop round, I guess? At one point Tom picked Psycho.

Psycho is full of visual treats, which reveal themselves very gradually. Some images — Janet Leigh driving— stuck around for weeks, while the shower scene was over in a day and a half.

Read it here: How to build a Very Slow Movie Player for £120 in 2020

Sometimes the retreat into my own personal archive hurts – remembering times with friends I’ve lost contact with and analysing over and over how it got to this stage. Sometimes it feels almost heavenly – clumsily trying to recreate a summer night in the garden as though everything is normal for a minute. Mostly, it’s confusing. I feel so powerfully the pull of a different time or place that to be confronted with reality makes my head spin. I’m straddling two worlds, the old and the present. And I’d rather be in the old.

My former colleague Bella Mackie on lockdown for Vogue: Is It Really A Bad Idea To Give Into Rose-Tinted Nostalgia Right Now?

I wrote this about working from home as a journalist during the pandemic for InPublishing magazine:

“Keep away from the people! Don’t go near the people!” – the memory of shouting that at my kids continues to haunt me. And every time I think of it, I also think of Frodo’s line in the Lord of the Rings, which has been oft-repeated on social media these last couple of months. “I wish it need not have happened in my time”. But it has. And we will be feeling the effects in our working practices and our publishing businesses for years to come.

Read it here: Working under lockdown

“For politicians, it’s much easier to fault adolescents who are biologically inclined to engage in high-risk behaviors for a lack of personal responsibility than examine their institutional blunders. School administrators, who feel financially incentivized to bring droves of horny, germ-infested students back on campus, are also playing this card. And while some of the most ridiculous rumors about ‘Covid parties’ (which are reportedly hosted with the intention of infecting attendees) have been laid to rest, social distancing fatigue is real. We are not hermetic creatures. And naturally, people with higher levels of risk tolerance have been mingling in close quarters — providing an opportunity for authority figures to point fingers.”

Gen yeet on moralist finger-pointing and whether young people are responsible for the surge in Covid-19 cases – “We all just want to feel something”

Someone has taken some old 1902 film of the Wuppertal Schwebebahn suspension train, and giving it the neural-network upscale and colourise treatment. It looks amazing, but also, it strikes me with these that you can at the moment still see the flaws. Presumably with more training etc in twenty years time we’ll look back at these and be horrified. In the same way I was just horrified the other day to see the 2005 first episode of the RTD Doctor Who era described as “looking dated with terrible effects”. WHAT?

“Part of the magic of the time was that there was a massive amount of inspirational music to draw on – people getting turned on to this well of at least three years’ worth of amazing American club music that hadn’t really been given that much exposure prior to 1988. Then there was access to affordable sampling technology. So much was driven by minds being expanded at this time – by a load of drugs obviously – but also by certain samplers coming out”

Yer man Joe Muggs interviews yer man Jon Marsh on the magical times that fed into the Beloved’s classic LP Happiness

Absolutely wonderful piece from Elena Tebano on the story of women football players who challenged Mussolini in 1930s Italy. Fab photos too.