Friday Reading’s unluckiest ever episode S13E13

Friday Reading is a weekly series of recommended reads from the Guardian’s Martin Belam, covering journalism, media and technology, and other interesting nerdy things he found on the internet this week. It is now in its thirteenth season and this thirteenth episode of the thirteenth season is obviously cursed. Sign up here.

A selection of powerful work by the Ukrainian photographer Maksim Levin who has been killed while covering the war.

Twitter appears to have broken a load of backwards compatibility with embedded tweets. I used to tend to screenshot Donald Trump's rather then embed them knowing that at some point it was all going to be memory-holed.

"Twitter Edits You 2022-04-06" – Kevin Marks

Ron wants to be sure that you didn’t miss this week’s Guardian Thursday quiz: A soap queen, a punk icon and long-lost journals – take the Thursday quiz

I’ve made a public Google Calendar of the 2022 Qatar World Cup fixtures because I am a spod.

“Bloody hell, Ken!” – lovely piece here from Emine Saner on people having more paranormal experiences during Covid lockdown, although points deducted because she didn’t interview the Guardian’s resident hauntology electronic musician.

“Spooky Britain: how ghosts became a national obsession”

Again one of the things that strikes me is that the people calling for life to be made difficult for trans people are bedfellows with a lot of unsavoury people which keeps making me think how can we get people to step back from the heat they feel about the topic and look at where it has left them aligned.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle – “The terrifying confluence of anti-trans thinkers, American evangelicals, anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and global purveyors of dark money poses a much bigger threat than you might realise”


Sky’s Content Academy is looking for people who want to break into the media and journalism. Details here.

Al-Jazeera also have a freelance opening for a journalist/producer role in London. Details here.

The BBC has some regional work experience opportunities in radio. Details here.

Alex Hern does the Guardian’s weekly tech newsletter and I have very much grown to love his gentle self-deprecating chatty tone in it. Sign up here for gems like this:

“If there’s one through line we can take from a tour of his tweeting past, it’s that Musk is one of the few people on the planet who has a more self-destructive compulsion to tweet than I do. But if there’s a second through line etc etc … “

“[In] 2022 the museum partially re-opened its gallery displays after almost a year of root-and-branch redisplay. This marked the first step for a major German Federal Cultural Foundation-funded project called Reinventing Grassi. SKD that embraces questions of restitution, decolonization, and repair. Commissioning African and European artists forms a central part of the new curatorial approach. After Berlin, Saxony holds the largest German collection of material looted from Benin City in the 1897 British expedition — 262 items in total.”

“Unmasking a History of Colonial Violence in a German Museum” – Dan Hicks, Hyperallergic

Like the Washington NFL team changing their name, at some point we’ll give all of these looted and stolen items back to be displayed and studied where they belong, and the weird thing will be not that this has happened, but that it took so long, and people fought so hard against it.

TWITTER ACCOUNT OF THE WEEK: @shitlondonguinn – Shit London Guinness. Now I’ve got to be honest, and I reckon it is partly a factor of growing up in the 1970s and early 80s and absorbing loads of biased news coverage about “the Troubles”, but I’ve never had much time for Irish people getting super-precious about Guiness. It’s just a drink, right? And all the bloody drama about pouring it right. Having said that I have been HOWLING at this account and how badly some of these pints have been pulled. This tweet is a must see.

“He’s run 66 yards, and that’s his reward” – oh it is just a video of guy getting hit by a cricket ball in the balls but the commentary just makes it funnier and funnier and funnier. I ended up weeping.

Also just from the funny videos file: Eleanor Morton performs “JRR Tolkien tells CS Lewis about his new character”.

DOCTOR WHO(_ISH) CORNER: As someone with obsessive opinions about ratings and what programmes should be expected to do in the modern TV landscape this piece about the absolute crash in soap opera viewing figures is fascinating. I remember when EastEnders came back after the enforced Covid-break and the viewing figures for that hugely promoted “Series 2” opener would have made a Doctor Who fan tear their hair out. It’s one of the reasons I said that Doctor Who needed a massive format overhaul or long pause because up until Series 13/Flux they were essentially still making it to the 2005 template and lordy it ain’t no 2005 out there anymore.

I loved this bit in particular though:

“Nine years ago, I wrote an article for the Guardian headlined: ‘Soap operas: has the bubble burst?’ In it, I argued: ‘Soaps are like printed newspapers or the British monarchy – the only question is when they will do the equivalent of stopping the presses or making the last royal hanger-on live without taxpayer subsidy in a council flat.’ You will have noticed that there are still printed newspapers and that no royal, not even Prince Andrew, lives in a council flat. Perhaps, like the death of Mark Twain, their demise has been exaggerated.”

David McKee who made Mr Benn and Not now, Bernard has died. Here’s the first episode of Mr Benn.

I did not know that the UK VHS of Blair Witch 2 Book of Shadows had a thing called “the secret of ESREVER” on it where once you got to the end, if you pressed rewind it revealed secret images and messages hidden throughout the film. I loved this verdict on it though:

“While this is a pretty neat bonus feature for the horror film, the process of watching a film backward multiple times in order to identify minute changes in a shot can be an arduous and time-intensive process.”

“Blair Witch 2’s Innovative ‘The Secret of Esrever’ Bonus Feature Explained” – Debopriyaa Dutta, Screen Rant

I can’t tell if I am going to like this or if they’ve accidentally made a cartoon version of “I remember the corned beef of my childhood etc etc” but with a bit of space rockets in it – Apollo 10 1/2: Richard Linklater Takes an Animated Space Trip Down Memory Lane

Particles of lunar dust collected by Neil Armstrong in 1969 during the Apollo 11 mission are up for auction at Bonhams.

In 1992, Giovanna Amati was the last woman to enter a Formula 1 grand prix. Hazel Southwell examines why no female drivers have managed to follow her in three full decades — and why there’s little prospect of them doing so in the coming years.

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Widow by Working Men’s Club – I was pretty much immune to their opening salvo, but this is great and especially the chorus lyric “Lust was easy, until you died, now I fuck inside my head but not outside”.

I was too young for punk but this is a great obituary/tribute to punk idol Jordan by John Robb of The Membranes.

New Pagans with a righteous rant about the economics of post-Brexit touring and the left-right-centre they get shafted as a smaller band.

I make 80s-sounding electronic music about ghosts as m-orchestra, and you can find it on Bandcamp, Spotify, and all good electronic streaming services.

I’ve got a new 7-track 21 minute mini-LP coming out in a few days WHICH YOU CAN PRE-ORDER FOR JUST £3 HERE. There’s a song about a magic candle made of human fat, and one about a spirit waiting to drown you. There’s one about a werewulfe, and one about a man who has slipped back in time, and there’s even *gasp* a bit of me singing on it …