Mist, Mystery and Magic

No Complaints #151

Welcome back, we made it to the end of another week. If, like me, you are not taking part in ~royal wedding stuff~ , perhaps you can fill your weekend with some of these things instead.

Things to read

“She reached him at home for the first time on a night in May 1982. Somehow, giving only the name ‘Ariana’, she managed to keep him on the phone. In retrospect Perry realises she had done considerable research on him. She knew his résumé by heart and within minutes had coaxed him into a conversation about his passion for 1950s doo-wop records. She knew all about Big Joe Turner and the Platters and even mentioned a classic recording he had never heard but later rushed out and bought, a duet by Ray Charles and Betty Carter. ‘I’m open and adventurous’ Perry concedes. ‘I was having fun with it. I was getting off on this mystery woman.’”

This story is a grower: you think it’s going to be a whodunnit, and then it becomes a quiet little tragedy. Hat tip to Mhairi McFarlane on Twitter. Email to Pocket.

“I don’t know why Ramadan is the act of faith which has endured for me. I hardly refer to myself as a practicing Muslim these days, but I am still very invested in the rigour of Ramadan. And I suppose that might be it — the rigour is the act I still chase after. A part of this is routine — even when I stopped praying in my early twenties, I found myself still adhering to the commemoration of the holy month. But a part of it, I imagine, is like the home-run hitter who comes to the plate with the bases loaded and his team down by four, swinging for the fences and trying to get it all back at once.”

A moving piece about having and losing faith. Email to Pocket.

“My external eyes were still awaiting the sunrise, while my internal ones were looking around, seeking out details. Here is one. Here is another. Here is a whole bunch. As soon as I was able to emerge from my room into the dim light of the table lamp, I typed up my first-ever short story in great haste. I knew just how to do it – what to write, what not to write – and I understood that what remains unwritten possesses a special kind of power, a certain gravity by absence, similar to a magnetic force that can both attract and repel, a force we can’t see but that is nonetheless there.”

If your last name is “Tolstoy”, I’m sure this is what writing is like. For the rest of us. . . Not so much. Email to Pocket.

“There's the Shaku Shaku dance from Nigeria. That’s another big dance right now. We had so many. We had a lot of dances from Angola. We had the Alkayida, which is from Ghana. There was a little bit of the Azonto in there as well, which is from Ghana. And a lot of them don’t have names, too. I didn’t want to put in moves just from Rwanda because I’m from there. I lived in South Africa for some months, I’ve been to Nigeria many times and have projects out there. Uganda, too. I wanted to include dances from different parts of Africa, so I could represent a lot of the continent.”

Sherrie Silver, who choreographed the incredible video for Childish Gambino’s “This is America”, talks about the creative process behind it. Email to Pocket.

“If you’re lucky, someone else will help you out with your back. If you are single and/or a sunblock control freak (or, like me, both), squirt a blob of sunblock about the size of a big gumball on the back of one hand. Rub the back of the other hand in it, twist your hands behind your back and use the backs of your hands to apply the lotion there. If you aren’t confident you got covered, or you lack confidence in your abilities as a contortionist, use the spray: turn the bottle upside down and mist away back there.”

Seasonal advice: How To Apply Sunscreen Like A Pale Lifeguard. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

Why’d You Push That Button is, despite the dodgy use of an apostrophe in its name, a very good show about the tiny decisions we make with technology every day. I appreciate the following things about this podcast which makes it stand out from other tech shows I have tried: a) it is hosted by women b) it has not once tried to make me understand cryptocurrencies (I refuse) and c) they cover relatable subjects like why we keep old texts and why we like stalking our friends on Spotify.

+Reminder: I do another weekly newsletter all about podcasts, and for its paying members, I make custom playlists of new podcasts. Sign up.

Things to watch

This pigeon is the ultimate cat mum.

I love old sound things (via openculture).

Vintage OkGo.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

I woke up like this.

The guest gif