Crimes, Crusades and Crickets

No Complaints #145

Hello and welcome back to another newsletter full of links I found interesting and/or amusing. I hope you enjoy them.

Things to read

“The crusade was, predictably, a complete shitshow. It was a shitshow before they even got to Antioch, and then became even more of a shitshow. At the time, Antioch was ruled by Raymond of Poitiers, the youngest brother of Eleanor’s father and a man described by his contemporary William of Tyre as being ‘the handsomest of the princes of the earth’. Eleanor was, presumably, pretty happy to see Uncle Raymond for a number of reasons: his court reminded her of the court she’d grown up in at Aquitaine, they spoke the same langue d’oc dialect, and he was genuinely kind to her. It must have felt like coming home after a decade of exile. The result of all these extremely normal emotions was that Eleanor spent a lot of time with Raymond, staying up late and laughing and drinking wine and conversing endlessly in a language Louis didn’t understand. Everyone assumed that Eleanor and (admittedly smokin’ hot) Raymond were having an affair, because heaven forbid a miserable, homesick girl enjoy a visit with her uncle.”

I loved this weird, excellent piece about Eleanor of Aquitaine. Email to Pocket.

“For six months I didn’t bleed at all, my period mysteriously absented, just like the words I searched for to explain what had happened, how I was trying to understand it. Then, for a month straight, I bled in public. It didn’t matter how many layers I wore to protect myself against the seepage. My blood was angry, spiteful. I bled in Mexican restaurants and in the freezer aisle. I bled down the maddening, circular hallways at the university where I worked. I bled at the bottom of the Verdugo foothills, where I dripped onto the hardwood floor of my new home in Glendale, where there was no more boyfriend and no more roaches, only sometimes crickets in the kitchen sink in the morning. I bled through my jeans, once, when Emma made me laugh too hard.”

Sometimes, all you need is the headline and you’re hooked: “My Abortion Wasn’t Like Ben Folds Said It Would Be”. Email to Pocket.

“For the first three years of his life, my son insisted on hearing Goodnight Moon before bedtime. Like most babies, he was not a good sleeper by disposition — but reading seemed to help, and this book specifically became part of his whole wind-down ritual. By now, I have read Goodnight Moon literally over a thousand times. As I read it again and again, I started to wonder: Why is this the book everybody feels a child must have? Why is this the book you’re sent by all your relatives and friends, people who must know you already have a copy — but want to give you another one, just in case?”

Celeste Ng on Goodnight Moon. Email to Pocket.

“VIVIAN turns and stares at herself in a grainy, cracked bedroom mirror. She is twenty years old and a prostitute. Make-up applied to give her a hard, older look doesn’t quite succeed. She’d be innocently beautiful without it. She is wearing tiny shorts, a tight tube top, thigh high boots. She stares at herself, not really liking what she sees.”

Do not sip any beverages while scrolling through this list of how famous female characters from films are first introduced in the original scripts, because you will surely spray it all over your screen. Email to Pocket.

“Murkowski landed in the Senate essentially by fiat: In 2002, her father, Frank Murkowski, then a senator, was elected governor of Alaska and had to choose a successor. He publicly considered an up-and-coming mayor from Wasilla, Sarah Palin, then rejected her. Instead, he appointed his daughter Lisa, who had been a state legislator for all of four years. The blatant act of nepotism dogged Frank Murkowski, who went on in 2006 to face Palin in a primary challenge for governor, which she easily won.”

In case you hadn’t realised, US politics is pretty strange at the moment. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

While on holiday in Wales last weekend, I got really into the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters, and when I got back I discovered that there’s an adaptation of one of them on the BBC Radio iPlayer right now! Get involved, he’s a 12th century monk who solves crimes and cures people with his herbalist skills.

+A reminder: you can get a podcast playlist from me in your inbox every Sunday if you become a paying subscriber to my podcast newsletter.

Things to watch


I <3 Marin Alsop.

Very interesting lecture about game design by Leigh Alexander.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Me, going in for a hatchet job.

The guest gif

Any good?