Friday Reading S13E07

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. Sign up here.

Incredibly sad news about Mark Lanegan. I last saw him playing at the end of 2019, at the Roundhouse with Nadine Shah and the Membranes supporting. It was a great night, and Mark wasn't on my list of people I never expected to see in concert again. Lovely tribute here by Stevie Chick and oh my heart this from Isobel Campbell: "You were my Heathcliff"

Everything about this interview with Kickstarter COO Sean Leow screams of a process that went "Getting into Blockchain is the answer! Now, what is the problem we are trying to solve?"

"Kickstarter exec on the blockchain controversy: 'We’ve learned a hell of a lot in the last couple of months.' – Sean Z, The Beat

Oh my god the nostalgia burst sparked by this one sentence:

“In some ways, the Internet as we know it really began on February 16, 2001, 20 years ago today, when a three-word phrase blew up: ‘All Your Base.'”

This is an incredible little essay about it by Sam Machkovech: “An anniversary for great justice: Remembering ‘All Your Base’ 20 years later”

I think this is a fascinating article about the new Lord of the Rings TV series, and how people don’t feel like they are being racist by going “Ugh, how can some dwarves and elves in Middle Earth not be white? This is tokenism casting” etc etc, but for me that’s always an unwitting visceral response to the twinge that you’ve just realised everything you ever read or ever loved was all white people all the time and you didn’t notice until suddenly it wasn’t. Racism was the water you were swimming in. Being yanked out of it for a second is the discomfort you are feeling.

“‘The history of fantasy is racialized’: Lord of the Rings series sparks debate over race” – Sam Thielman

This is both incredibly bleak in parts but also joyously uplifting from Marie Le Conte about her decision to just up-sticks and live in Venice for a couple of months just because she can.

“There is no point in me setting those few thousand pounds aside for my future, because that money is nowhere near enough to make a difference to my material circumstances. I will not be able to buy a house with them; they will not grant me any tangible sense of financial stability. Instead, what they can do is guarantee that I will have absurd, happy things to look back on for years to come.”

“Forget the pension plan: I’m blowing my savings on a trip to Venice” – Marie Le Conte, New Statesman

Which reminds me that Venice With The Girls is one of the later The Fall highlights.

I missed the Dr Suess-inspired David Squires last week and I am *IN ABSOLUTE AWE* at getting the line “What are you anyway, some sort of cat nonce?” onto our website: David Squires on … Bad Eggs and West Ham: the Kurt Zouma saga

I did, however, manage to get the phrase “South Korea’s Olympic Committee has said it has dropped plans to have a right old moan up to the Court of Arbitration for Sport about their speed skaters” into our Winter Olympics coverage at some point. Here are bona fide sports writers Sean Ingle and Bryan Armen Graham with their verdict on the Beijing Winter Olympics, accompanied by me chirruping away too: Winter Olympics – highs, lows, heroes and villains of Beijing 2022

Ron wants to be sure that you didn’t miss this week’s Guardian Thursday quiz: Comic heroes, gameshow hosts and space probes – take the Thursday quiz

Matt Round’s Vmail mailing list is shaping up nicely – check it out.

I enjoyed this, a good read about not only the Matchwoman’s strike of 1888, but also the process of researching it and over-turning the received narrative about it: “Recognition at last! Matchwomen to be honoured with a blue plaque” – Louise Raw, Morning Star

I had a dream the other night I was at my nan & granddad’s house in the eighties, and so the other day I thought, well I’ll take the dog on the bus up to Chingford and we’ll go for a walk down their old street and see if I recognise it.

As we got towards it, a tree had been blown down in the storm and smashed up a car. There was a loft conversion going on opposite, with all these sheets of corrugate iron flapping loosely in the wind, looking like the whole thing would come down any minute.

I honestly thought “Oh god, I’m literally going to get killed by nostalgia. Fucksake.”

A piece about an experimental design of London Underground carriage that had curved windows and portholes.

“A ‘mermaid mummy’ kept at a temple has been an object of worship, the stuff of nightmares and a source of mystery for hundreds of years. Now, for the first time, a project has started to scientifically analyse the mummified creature, which has the upper body of a human and the lower body of a fish.”

“Scientists try to unravel mystery of eerie ‘mermaid mummy’” – Kunio Ozawa, The Asahi Shimbun

“I wouldn’t actually want to be any different. My ability to notice things and my obsessive interests have brought me a lot of joy over the years, and I wouldn’t have sacrificed these, even with the social difficulties I’ve had.”

Just a genuinely lovely set of interviews with autistic women which I came across because it was shared by one of my friends who is an autistic woman.

“‘No you’re not’ – a portrait of autistic women” – Rosie Barnes, Wellcome Collection

TWITTER ACCOUNT OF THE WEEK: @NFTtheft – documenting the plagiarism, fraud, and other issues in the NFT/crypto scene. They say: “If you see scammers selling stolen work, let us know.”

DOCTOR WHO CORNER: Very sorry to lose Stewart Bevan, aged 73, who played Professor Clifford Jones who ended up proposing to companion Jo Grant in the 1973 story The Green Death. That’s the one where recklessly dumped industrial pollution by a company in the thrall to an ultra-capitalist intelligent super-computer that seeks profit above all else leads to giant radioactive maggots, back in the days before the show became “woke” and too political. It was a story a bit before my time so I mostly knew it from the Target novel for years before seeing it, but what a joy it was to see him and Katy Manning reunited to take on the maggots again in 2019.

Tim Worthington trying to rehabilitate the Tin Machine phase of David Bowie’s career: You Belong in Rock’n’Roll

It is a badly recorded mic-in-the-audience of The Wolfgang Press live in 1989 in Chicago but it just brings back how I loved them live.

I’m doing another hometown m-orchestra gig in Walthamstow – it is Saturday 12 March at the wonderful Walthamstow Trades Hall. Free for members, £3 on the door otherwise. I did one in Cambridge this week and there was even photographic evidence of me smiling during it.