Parchment, Profit and Potter

No Complaints #159

This week, our dog learned how to play “chase”; not a lot else of major significance seems to have happened. Ha.


Things to read

“As the skin is stretched by twisting the pegs, hot water is applied and any remaining fat, especially from the meat side, is removed using a knife shaped like a crescent moon, called a lunellum or sometimes a lunellarium (at Cowley’s they simply call it a luna). The process of stretching and scraping is repeated several times before the frame is put into the oven, which is really a large drying room. I made the mistake of venturing into the oven, which was hot and milky-smelling in a heady way. My curiosity died there.”

How parchment is made (it’s a bit disgusting but also fascinating). Email to Pocket.

“How many other potential artists with stories we want and need, have we lost for the sake of financial profit, have we lost to thoughtless education systems, thoughtless nurturing, thoughtlessness? Why are we platforming misfits, heralding them as newly rich successes whilst they balance on creaking ladders with little chance of social mobility? I can’t help usher them into this house if there’s doors within it they can’t open, it feels complicit. What I can do is be transparent about my experiences, because transparency helps.”

Michaela Coel made the most brilliant speech in Edinburgh about her experiences as a writer and actor this week. Email to Pocket.

“For many fans, it was the self-generated material that held up over time, and what they turn to when newer spinoffs and story extensions don’t hold up to their expectations. The original Potter experience was so fortified by offshoots and remixes, by the fans and for the fans, that many feel the new movies and books and plays will never quite hold up.”

One of my favourite “where are they now” features ever, on the afterlives of the famous Harry Potter fan-creators behind things like A Very Potter Musical. Email to Pocket. (Found via The Rec Center, an excellent fan-orientated newsletter I subscribe to.)

“Some anxious middle-class women have Gwyneth Paltrow, who promises enlightenment through yoni steaming and dietary restrictions. Angry, disaffected young men have Jordan Peterson, whose banal advice about tidying your room is camouflaged with Jungian blah and sulky oppositionalism. And people who shone at school and don’t understand why that hasn’t made them happy have Harari. His books use evolutionary psychology as self-help: the world is a scary, fast-changing place, so it’s no surprise our savannah-trained ape brains struggle to navigate through it. We simply haven’t evolved to cope with automated checkouts and emailing after 7pm.”

I have never understood what people saw in the work of Yuval Noah Harari, the author of mega bestselling books like Sapiens, which always seemed extremely banal to me. This excellent review finally articulates why I feel like this when so many others clearly don’t. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to


My podcast, SRSLY, is back from hiatus, so you should definitely listen to that. I also recommend Nightclubbing, a show about nightlife that I’ve just started bingeing.


Things to watch

I am obsessed with this series. I mean, why would you make them when you can buy them??

I am very much here for professional singing analysis. He likes this one but his other videos are gloriously shady.

If you didn’t watch this you missed out.


Things to attend

16 September at the London Podcast Festival: I’m doingCracking the Mystery of Mystery Show” with Starlee Kine (tickets here, they seem to be going fast) and a workshop titled “Marketing Your Podcast” where I’ll talk about how to find listeners for your show and answer all your other podcasting questions (very affordable tickets very much available here).


Compulsory medieval thingamabob


Frenemies forever.


The guest gif


Never not appropriate.