2023-04-25We are about to share a media experience together. Please switch off and put your phone away. Please switch off your smart watch and annihilate any other illuminated sources of time. Please strive to be entirely within the world created by the shared experience rather than in your own life or even your own body, whose use should be constrained to the sense organs need to consume the experience and the parts required for breathing, crying, and perhaps laughing.
2023-02-17So Popbitch (a very catty UK media gossip newsletter) reports that Fred Again’s people have been trying to keep the fact that he is minor gentry out of his Wikipedia article. Fair enough. I understood his story to go as follows: young South London guy makes poppy dance songs during the pandemic, goes viral, becomes instant stadium-packing act once the restrictions lift, and boy he just can’t believe his luck. Shucks!
2022-07-21Image generated by Midjourney Sarah asked me the other day, “do you actually find you enjoy writing?” Writing is always something I feel I ought to be doing. I feel bad if I haven’t written creatively for a long time. I don’t think I’m a great writer, nor do I really hope to become one if I applied myself and commited serious time to it. Nevertheless, I read a lot, and reading gives you a taste for writing that often wants satisfying with doing a bit yourself.
2022-04-12Image generated by Midjourney TL;DR I’m switching from Goodreads to Oku. Sign up here (referral code). I got rid of most of my social media accounts. The remaining ones are really services I use to track something I do myself that I share with others: Strava (running and cycling), Duolingo (learning languages), and Goodreads (reading). Of these, the one that I have always been dying to replace is Goodreads. The website and the native app are both terrible, it’s owned by Amazon, and the means to get your reading data out of it and into something else are being made increasingly difficult.
2021-11-16I’ve been away from home for just over a week now. I’ve been in France. When I’m not in the UK I feel a lot less claustrophobic; I feel like I have such a wider range of choices to choose for my life. An advantage of this trip has been spending time with people who actually live in not-the-UK. I believe to some extent that people are the same everywhere but it’s been nice to see the variations in the patterns of a life.
The New York Public Library archives
But the real gem of the library, in Lannon’s view, is the stuff that you can find only in boxes like the ones now strewn across the table. “You can get a book anywhere,” he said. “An archive exists in one location.” The room we’re standing in is the only place that you can read, say, the week’s worth of journal entries in which New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal contemplates publishing the Pentagon Papers. It’s the only place where you can read the collected papers of Robert Moses, or a letter T.S. Eliot wrote about Ulysses to James Joyce’s Paris publisher, Sylvia Beach.
These collections aren’t digitized. The only way to find out what’s inside them is to ask for a particular box — often with just a vague notion of what will be in it — and to hold the old papers in your hands. “I don’t know how one could be interested in libraries and not archives,” Lannon told me. They tell you “the stories behind things,” he said, “the unpublished, the hard to find, the true story.” This, I began to see, is why someone might have been inclined to call Lannon the most interesting man in the world: it’s because he knows so many of these stories himself, including stories that no one else knows, because they are only told here.
That is the paradox of being an archivist. The reason an archivist should know something, Lannon said, is to help others to know it. But it’s not really the archivist’s place to impose his knowledge on anyone else. Indeed, if the field could be said to have a creed, it’s that archivists aren’t there to tell you what’s important. Historically momentous documents are to be left in folders next to the trivial and the mundane — because who’s to say what’s actually mundane or not?
— Keepers of the Secrets, James Somers in The Village Voice
The Black book club has, over time, served as a space of critical study, leisure and fellowship. In the 19th century, free Black Americans in the North saw literary societies and the organized literary activities that they sponsored as one way to arrest the attention of the public, assert their racial and American identities, and give voice to their belief in the promises of democracy, Elizabeth McHenry wrote in Forgotten Readers Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies.
— Black Book Clubs From Oprah to Noname, Iman Stevenson in The New York Times
What I was seeking by writing first in English and then “translating” into Japanese was no less than the creation of an unadorned “neutral” style that would allow me freer movement. My interest was not in creating a watered-down form of Japanese. I wanted to deploy a type of Japanese as far removed as possible from so-called literary language in order to write in my own natural voice.
— On Translationese, Masatsugu Ono in The Paris Review
controlled descent, forced landing