Cupboard, Cake and Cranks

No Complaints #172

My desk is in a cupboard, and I like it that way. I can shut myself with just a lamp on and write knowing that nobody else can see what I’m putting on the page. I’m in there right now, in case you were wondering. This is how I wrote most of my first book, and all the time I was in here doing it I never gave any thought to what happens once you finish writing and open the door again. But that time has now arrived — the book is out in less than a month (pre-order it, do, if you’ve ever enjoyed any of these emails I send).

So, I have to get out of the cupboard and tell people about it. This isn’t something I’ve ever done before and all the uncertainty and newness is making me want to write things again, real things, that aren’t part of my job but just things I have to say. So, I’ve made a little place where I’ll do that — if you’d like to see some pictures and words related to the book, and other things, then register your interest here. If not, no worries, keep scrolling for today’s links.


Things to read

“To me, crispy gone soggy (CGS) foods hold an appeal that transcends the technical—there is something grander, more existential, almost spiritual at play. To experience CGS is to experience process, to access a magical, ephemeral space between here and there, past and present, crispy and soggy. There is a beautiful tension that exists in this liminal space, one that reflects our own ecstatic human in between-ness—to have been born and know that we will die. To experience CGS is to come face to face with our own mortality and the way that we conduct ourselves in that context.”
On the necessity of having a favourite texture of food.

“Let's look at the numbers, shall we? The author has written 179 books, which have been translated into 43 languages. Twenty-two of them have been adapted for television, and two of those adaptations have received Golden Globe nominations. Steel releases seven new novels a year—her latest, Blessing in Disguise, is out this week—and she's at work on five to six new titles at all times. In 1989 Steel was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a book on the New York Times best-seller list for the most consecutive weeks of any author—381, to be exact. To pull it off, she works 20 to 22 hours a day. (A few times a month, when she feels the crunch, she spends a full 24 hours at her desk.)”
Howwww are you doing this, Danielle Steel?? Is this real?

“If people come over, I always offer to laminate something of theirs. I say: ‘give me something from your wallet, let me laminate it for you.’ . . . When I want to jazz up a meal, I’ll get out my Norpro hand-crank bean Frencher. . . My small box of small hats says small hats on it. I also have two boxes filled with googly eyes: one fancy, one not.”
Amy Sedaris and her must-have shopping list are both so pleasingly weird.

“Something that often gets left out of the diversity debate is age. The age at which singers’ voices are in their prime doesn’t necessarily coincide with when the singers are at their peak-castability. A combination of “aesthetic considerations” and economics (young, less-experienced singers are cheaper) means a lot of singers, particularly women, in their 40s struggle to find work, even though they’re singing better than ever.”
An opera singer on how looks influence her industry, especially for women.

Which is not to say that a diet of fresh foods, plenty of water, and eight hours of sleep every night don’t affect how your skin looks; studies have demonstrated links between all three and physical appearance, and they’ll help most people achieve the modest goal of looking totally fine. Unless you’re very young and even more genetically gifted, though, self-denial won’t get the results it promises.
The one fail-safe hack to get better skin is to be really, really rich.


Things to listen to

I am completely obsessed with the Bon Appetit YouTube channel; yes, I do like cooking, but mostly I consume it like I would a sitcom, enjoying the relationships and interactions between the different chefs. It follows therefore, that I would also be really into the Bon Appetit Foodcast, a podcast which is more of my favourite sitcom but just in audio form. Start with this one about carrot cake.

+Oh, also, don’t forget I now have a newsletter where you get three great podcast recommendations every day. Use this link to get it free for a month.


Things to watch

See empires vanish.

I haven’t even seen this film and I cried.

This really tasty.


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Gone fishin’.


The guest gif

Me, always.