I think if these newsletters were to have a leitmotif, it would be my tired, gleeful journey towards burnout. It’s a thrilling tale, with a mystery ending: Will I, Top Gun-style, be able to pull up at the last minute? Will I dance on the razor’s edge of the Cliffs of Insanity? Will I blast through the burnout line, burst into flames, only to rise from the ashes like a glorious and rejuvenated Phoenix? Only time will tell!!
Which is to say that in a couple of weeks I’m taking a little time off. Probably not from the Engine Room, as we all have addictions to feed, but from everything else. Just in case I end up less like a glorious phoenix, and more like a two-day old rotisserie chicken.
Sure, I’ll do a couple of long overdue jobs, and chip away a bit at my task list. People joke about how much they have to do, but my task list, broken down into projects and sub-projects, has 310 items on it.
Three hundred. And ten. (Well, 309 when I press send)
And that’s not all of them, as I have some work tasks in Monday.com, and some in Trello, and it does not include just the general day-to-day activities that always have to be done.
But I think some of that week has to be dedicated to just decompressing. Taking deep breaths. Watching movies. In my pants.
An image I’m sure you’re thrilled that I shared.
For some reason I thought Blood Red Shoes had quit as a band about a decade ago, yet it seems they’ve been soldiering on, parallel to their various solo projects. Misery Loves Company is from their new EP Ø and features on this week’s Sounds From The Engine Room. It’s pretty eclectic this week, and yet possibly my least niche one yet.
Last week’s playlist featured brutal by Olivia Rodrigo, which as been in the news this week: It was accused by some of plagiarising a guitar chord sequence from Elvis Costello‘s 1978 hit Pump It Up. However, rather than launching a lawsuit, he said:
“It’s how rock & roll works. You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy. That’s what I did.”
He referenced Bob Dylan‘s 1965 classic Subterranean Homesick Blues, which inspired Pump It Up; and Chuck Berry‘s 1956 single Too Much Monkey Business, which influenced the Dylan song.
Edit your calendars: Warner Bros. has shuffled its release slate and Dune has been delayed by three weeks, and is now set for release on October 22. This is the same release slot as Edgar Wright‘s Last Night in Soho, so I might just have to take that week off, so I can watch both films twice each.
Amazon, unhappy with merely owning one post-GOT epic scale fantasy series with Lord of The Rings, has this week announced that their Wheel of Time series will officially premiere later this year. I loved the book series back in the day, but must confess I never made it all the way through. Let’s hope that this series, and Amazon’s investment, fulfils its promise.
Did you ever wonder whether Brad Pitt‘s stuntman character Cliff Booth in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood killed his wife? Well Quentin Tarantino has now answered this burning question in his novelisation of the movie. If you want to know the answer without having to read the book, click this link.
I’ve always been fascinated by the underworld of our cities, from Paris’ catacombs to forgotten underground train networks. Hence I was interested to read about a new book that celebrates the vents, shafts and funnels that help the city breathe in all manner of disguises.
This week I’ve been learning about blockchain and NFTs, and that is a big topic; too big for this newsletter. You might have read about digital artworks being sold as NFTs for millions. You might even have been as confused by the whole thing as I was. Having been repeatedly educated about this I’ve finally come to the following conclusion: The NFT part is basically like the user tracking element of the DRM they used to put into music files when those used to be individually sold instead of streamed.
The artists and IP owners are hoping that people will pay a premium effectively for a certificate of ownership, but the digital file itself could be, and will be, copied by anyone for free. “True fans will pay” is the mantra, proving to me that media companies truly will never learn.
I was asked this week why I didn’t write about a specific topic; it wasn’t a strange request, it fitted with the broad categories of what I write about. But I just didn’t find it interesting. This newsletter was never meant to be comprehensive, it is a curation of things that intersect with my interests. Too many blogs try to cover every single scrap that comes their way, trying to make sure they miss nothing. Their coverage is complete, but also lessened by it. You can’t cover everything with passion, not without a huge staff; and even then the whole enterprise loses focus, passion and clarity of voice.
And that’s what I wish for you in this week ahead: Focus. Passion. And Clarity.
See you next week!