No Complaints #162
Happy Friday! A classic mixture here of things I found on the internet this week and thought were good/interesting/amusing. Thanks for subscribing, and please do forward to a friend if you think they’ll enjoy it.
Things to read
“I never know how to answer that question well because the only answer I have is really boring: you morph into the most patient version of yourself and you do the work. There's no fast track. You build a name, you do your best, you learn from the edits your editors give you, you learn how to adapt your voice to suit the tone of publications, and you just keep on keeping on. There's no magical phrase or certain email or anything other than time, time, and more time. Which also means that if you want to stay on top of your bills, you may also need to work a day job or a part-time job or take on copy editing or the type of writing you don't think is particularly cool or glamorous. But also: too bad! No one is above day jobs or part-time jobs or copy editing or types of writing that aren't cool or glamorous! Clearly don't do anything that you feel uncomfortable with, but you're no less of a writer if you also enjoy paying rent.”
—Anne T. Donahue here in her newsletter (sign up!) with some of the best “writing as a freelancer” advice I’ve seen in ages. Email to Pocket.
“Back in Switzerland, there were other restrictions on the Jewish community. Since they could not own their own homes, Jews often financed the construction of a building and then rented an apartment in the building from its Christian owners. However, Jews and Christians were barred from living in the same house, which led to a unique solution still visible in Endingen and Lengnau: Many old buildings have two entrances side by side: one for Jews and one for Christians.”
—This is a fascinating history of Switzerland’s Jewish communities. Email to Pocket.
“Othello: You’re either a person of extreme discernment and top-notch taste or a sociopath.
The Merchant of Venice: You own a ‘The Future is Female’ shirt and would absolutely call the cops on a barbecue.
Pericles: You are a Fox News host who wants a bedtime story.
The Winter’s Tale: You only liked your favourite band before they got ‘accessible’.”
—I feel very seen by this piercing assessment of what your favourite Shakespeare play says about you. Email to Pocket.
“Right now, though, Spears’ very existence, as an innocent, after all her troubles, presents as something quite subversive, though. Her most sustained interaction with her fans is via social media. Along with the earnest tweets and inspirational quotes and the throwbacks on her Instagram, she is constantly doing - whether it’s working out with her boyfriend, painting with her kids, singing and dancing, go-karting or doing some yoga so she doesn’t go ‘stir crazy’ in her hotel rooms on tour.”
—On Britney Spears’ long pretence of innocence. Email to Pocket.
“We are now habituated to regard cartography as a science: an endeavour of exacting precision, whose ambition is the elimination of subjectivity from the representation of a given place. But before it was a field science, cartography was – as Stevenson proved – an art. It was an art that mingled knowledge and supposition, that told stories about places, and in which astonishment, love, memory and fear were part of its projections. It is instructive to consider these earlier artistic forms of mapping, for they exemplify neglected ways of proceeding within a landscape.”
—I’m in the process of getting maps drawn for my book, and it’s so interesting working out the balance between accuracy and art. Email to Pocket.
“The fragment – the bassline and six bars of melody – has never been seen, leading most music historians to conclude that Adagio is entirely Giazotto’s work. It was certainly Giazotto who copyrighted and published the piece in 1958, and later in life (he died in 1998) he revised his story claiming full authorship, possibly as a ruse to keep his presumably considerable royalty payments flooding in. In a 2007 book, Giazotto’s last assistant before his death, Muska Mangano, is quoted as saying that a modern but independent transcription of the fragment was found in Giazotto’s papers after his death, but none of this matters very much.”
—Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor, a piece of music that infests film scores everywhere, is actually a 1950s rip off, and that’s not even the first time someone ripped off this poor Baroque composer. Email to Pocket.
Things to listen to
I listened back to the very first episode of Heavyweight this week. It’s still good. Also, I recently discovered The Boy Who Hasn’t Lived, an excellent Harry Potter podcast, so I recommend getting into that one asap if you’re a fan.
Things to watch
I could spend hours watching pointe shoe videos on YouTube. I don’t even like ballet that much.
I love Marian Keyes’ YouTube videos so much and I don’t care who knows it.
Compulsory medieval thingamabob
The guest gif
May you all experience a high speed high five this weekend.