Rowdy, Rage and Rabbits

No Complaints #149

I have nothing new or interesting to say here, book writing has used up every possible thought in my head. Enjoy these things instead.

Things to read

“Like coldness the silence advances, making itself known not by presence but by absence, by disturbances of expectation so small that they are registered only half-consciously and instead mount up, so that one only becomes truly aware of it once its progress is complete. It takes patience to send someone to Coventry: it’s not a game for those who require instant satisfaction. If you don’t live with your victim or see them every day, it might be a while before they even notice they’ve been sent there. All the same, there’s no mistaking this for anything less deliberate than punishment.”

Rachel Cusk is very good on the peculiarities of silence. Email to Pocket.

“We got married in a room with a priest and many people named Lauren. The church was made of wooden wood. The priest didn’t protect my purity, but he did give me a magic ring that symbolises rowdy marriage. You could say our wedding was like a billiards game: I put him in the corner pocket for our vows.”

This predictive text parody of a Modern Love column is pretty good, actually. The cadence is weirdly bang on. Email to Pocket.

“Grey surroundings and dreary commutes wore down a man who remembered chalk dust flying up from cart-laden country lanes. He could confide as much in his daughters. My mother recalls how alienated he felt after a particular meeting during an autumnal sunset. Rooks suddenly filled the air outside on their way to roosts in St James’s Park, and the whole scene played out through the room’s large window. Afterwards he asked a colleague whether he’d enjoyed the spectacular view; the man replied that he had not even noticed the sun going down.”

A moving recollection of the man who wrote Watership Down. Email to Pocket.

“Like the Von Trapps reimagined for the athleisure era, a quartet of Beckhams is posing in the lobby of a white-walled art deco house in West Hollywood, all wearing Reebok merchandise. Imagine a set of Russian dolls in sportswear and you get a sense of the effect as Beckhams of various sizes – Cruz, 13, Romeo, 15, and Brooklyn, 19, in hoodies, along with Victoria, in a white Reebok T-shirt tucked into leather trousers – smize for the cameras.”

I am fascinated by Victoria Beckham’s celebrity trajectory. Also, this is a very nice intro. Email to Pocket.

So if you’re not gluten intolerant, and if you don’t have celiac disease, is bread really that bad for you?

Should I eat whole-grain bread?
There’s a big difference between white bread and whole-grain bread, and you certainly don’t need to eat bread to have an optimal diet. But an optimal diet leaves room for good bread — whole grain especially — and we think good bread is one of life’s great pleasures. Eat it for that reason.”

Some hard truths about diet and nutrition from some very patient-sounding scientists. Basically, almost everything you read online or in magazines about food is wrong. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

Now, I can imagine certain of my colleagues are going to laugh at this and say it is “Peak Caroline”, but this really is a very good radio documentary about an ageing community of nuns, and you should listen to it. It also has some interesting things to say about Alzheimer’s and memory.

Also, I’ve been on a few podcasts recently in case you want to listen to my voice a bit: on the Guardian’s Chips with Everything talking about podcasts; on Skylines talking about the Thames estuary and my soon-to-be finished (argh) book about it; and on my own show SRSLY reviewing an excellent new game show and some other slightly less excellent stuff.

+Reminder: For paying members, I make custom playlists of new podcasts. Sign up.

Things to watch

Tracee Ellis Ross’s TED talk about women’s rage.

I’m trying, OK?

I just really like that film with Maggie Smith ok.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob


The guest gif

Me, receiving yet another podcast press release: