Suddenly, a couple of weeks ago, I remembered that one of the things I find most fun in life is just sharing stuff, discovering something interesting and passing it on. It's incredibly satisfying.
I do it with books, or with pages torn from magazines, I do it here, I do it live. And for ages, that's what I did on my blog. But then, slowly, I got infected with the idea that my blog was supposed to be about writing, that it had to be well-written. And that eventually stopped me blogging, because I'm just not good enough to well-write all that much.
Well, forget that. I've rediscovered the joy of banging out a link or a quote or a splendid bit of YouTube or TikTok. 35 posts in the last 2 weeks. If you want me to spew content at you like water companies do to beaches get yourself an RSS reader and climb on board. (And if you just want music suggestions there's a tag.)
Otherwise, here are 5 things
Me and a few colleagues have become slightly obsessed with bogs. I've decided that we're going to have a Bog Book Club starting with Fen, Bog & Swamp by Annie Proulx. If you'd like to join in get yourself a copy and report back to this newsletter in a month where we will have made a plan.
I loved this simple advice on how to do good feedback. Make it honest, helpful and kind. And do it regularly.
It was lovely seeing how openly moved the tennis players were prepared to be. Nadal has fascinated me since I read about his rituals in Chatter by Ethan Kross.
"By always placing his ID face-up, carefully arranging his water bottles so they are perfectly aligned in front of his bench, and making sure that his hair is just right before a serve, Nadal is engaging in a process called compensatory control; he’s creating order in his physical environment to provide him with the order he seeks internally. As he puts it, “It’s a way of placing myself in a match, ordering my surroundings to match the order I seek in my head.”
I bet a lot of us do stuff like this. Maybe we shouldn't worry about it too much. And I like how he's prepared to smile about it.
Jennifer Egan's The Candy House is as packed with ideas as A Visit From The Goon Squad. But my favourite bits from both are tiny and lovely.
From Good Squad, just this description: "It had a beautiful screwdriver in it, the orange translucent handle gleaming like a lollipop in its worn leather loop, the silvery shaft sculpted, sparkling."
From Candy House, this summary of an aesthetic: "The Clubhouse is both spartan and lavish—the tricky balance required by the hardy rich." Very Succession.
With 'the circumstances' going on it can be hard to answer a simple 'how are you?'. Here are my two favourite answers:
From Trieste by Jan Morris: "And yes, presently the proprietor, excusing himself from his conversation with the obvious Professor of Slav Linguistics eating alone at the corner table, comes over to greet me. ‘How are things?’ I ask him. ‘Much the same,’ he tonelessly replies, sweeping a hand around his half-empty restaurant. ‘We are still happy.’"
From Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery: “I am well in body although considerably rumpled in spirit, thank you, ma’am.” (via)
I was on a podcast about the invention of PowerPoint. An interesting chat.
Bye! Stay rumpled, toneless and happy.
(There are 795 of you. The per capita GDP of Tajikistan is £795.)