Friday Reading S10E03

It’s back. My weekly newsletter of … bits’n’bobbins

I wrote earlier in the week ‘Of masks and madmen’ about the signs on display at the anti-mask demo in London last weekend, and how I realised that some of them displayed real signs of mental distress that shouldn’t just be mocked.

I also noted that the British Union of Fascists felt comfortable enough to unfurl their banner at that demo, and nobody intervened to stop them. It makes you think, what exactly was it about that demo featuring Piers Corbyn and David Icke, where people were espousing multiple conspiracy theories, many of them re-branding traditional anti-semitic tropes, that made the fascists think they’d get away with displaying their flag?

Photographer Paul Clarke was there that day, shooting some of the images that I was talking about. He’s written an incredibly thoughtful piece about the ethics of photographing an event like that, and what the people he met there were like.

We all think we’re rational. I think that’s just a fact of human cognition. And we’ve all got a reasonable idea of what irrational looks like. But what does a LOT of irrational look like? What does a distributed, scattergun level of irrationality look like, spread across a London square on a cold, grey, August day?

They were really, very normal in lots of ways. Angry, bitter, let-down, but honestly, in comparison to the pro- and anti-Brexit marchers I’d walked with last year, they were far closer to a cross-section of Ordinary Britain than either. If you were to grab 100 people from a motorway service station (the best melting pot location you’ll find in modern Britain) chances are they’d look a lot like this.

Paul Clarke – They are the virus

How many people has the coronavirus killed? Researchers are struggling to tally mortality statistics as the pandemic rages. Here’s how they gauge the true toll of the coronavirus outbreak according to

In Their Own Words: Women in sports media speak out about the sexual harassment they have suffered, and it is horrific.

Facebook said it removed a militia event associated with the shooting of three protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It didn’t. Here’s what really happened, and why it could happen again.

In the end, it all came crashing down. A couple of years after the Twitter bots attacked me, Wirecard is a smouldering wreck. The ex-chief executive, Markus Braun, is in jail, awaiting trial along with other colleagues, while the company’s former chief operating officer, Jan Marsalek, is on the run. This is the tale of what it was like to unravel and expose the reality of a criminal enterprise that relied on a network of professional enablers to keep in motion one of the biggest corporate frauds of the modern era.

Wirecard and me: Dan McCrum on exposing a criminal enterprise – FT Magazine

Inside the Weird World of Pro-IRA TikTok – Why teens on both sides of the Atlantic are posting videos celebrating Irish Republican violence

This is a fascinating piece. I can’t help thinking back to punks wearing swastikas for the shock value of upsetting the grannies who remembered the war.

On a related tip: We asked TikTokers why they’re pretending to be Holocaust victims

This is grim.

There were times while he was on the staff when Rafiq did try to change things. During one game in Scarborough, a spectator kept shouting his negative views about the performance of the “P***” players. The comments were reported by both another member of the crowd and by Rafiq. It turned out the individual concerned was the grandfather of one of the players. “Everyone in the dressing room laughed when they found out,” Rafiq remembers. “Well, everyone but me. How was that meant to make me feel? Nothing was done.”

Azeem Rafiq was ‘on brink of suicide’ after experiencing racism at Yorkshire

Proper deconstruction of those dreadful jaunty “Back to work” posters from the detergent company that went viral this week.

“I think very early on we knew that we didn’t want to show any of the crimes,” Luke Neal, writer of Des, said, stating that they felt Nilsen’s victims “didn’t deserve” to have their final moments “gratuitously shown on a TV drama. We wanted to tell another story which is the human cost of Dennis Nilsen,” Neal added. “What comes after? What comes after he’s caught? And the people that have to investigate, in very individual ways, to get answers for what had happened for the five years and everything that surrounds that.”

How David Tennant’s Des avoids true-crime dramas’ biggest trap

It’s a brave man who writes this: Why Hell Bent is Steven Moffat’s best episode of Doctor Who

Do my Pokémon quiz!

Were we intrigued by the idea of feeling heat from you? Of course. How could we not be? But even a tiger striking a curious pose (standing on its front legs, tail in the shape of a zigzag) is still terrifying because it is a tiger. That’s why none of us joined you onstage. We were also eager to hear about the doves. Were they hiding behind the tigers?

Old but gold – A letter to Prince regarding the crying of doves and the fiasco that resulted from the presentation of a speech on that topic

The ATOMIC CHRONOSCAPH Tumblr is full of retro sci-fi goodness.

I don’t think I’d ever heard it by anyone before, but I stumbled upon the song Come Away, Melinda earlier this week, and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. It seems like everyone who tackled it used slightly different chord structure, tempo, key, melody, words etc but I haven’t yet found a version that doesn’t give me the chills. Bobbie Gentry is probably the pick of the bunch – listen to it here. I’m almost inevitably going to end up making a version of it for my spooky electronica project, but Melinda is a ghost.