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w/e 2021-05-23

Greetings Earthlings. My back’s better and I’ve been easing into some short runs and Apple Fitness+ workouts after a few weeks of not much movement.

A photo of two wheelie bins stood on top of a small area of bricks set into a small lawn

I also, on the one sunny day this week, made a little spot for our govbins to stand on so they don’t get their feet muddy in this never-ending rain.

§ This week felt like a few steps towards normality. Yesterday we saw a few friends-and-relatives-in-law and it was the first time I’ve given anyone an awkward British hug in over a year.

It’s a shame that having had this lengthy pause in close physical interactions we haven’t taken the opportunity to reset expectations and define the correct way to do things. An independent commission could have spent the past year preparing an official report on what level of relationship requires a hug instead of a handshake or an awkward sort-of-wave. They could also have settled the issue of, if kissing on the cheek, which cheek gets kissed first and how many kisses do we do? Such a lost opportunity. Next time.

§ We also drove to IKEA for some things. Is that fine, going to IKEA? It’s apparently fine! Nearly everyone was masked, people were OK-ish about keeping a distance, and we didn’t hang around in one location with other people that long. It’s fine? It felt odd though, being indoors with strangers for longer than it takes to do a hasty supermarket shop. Beneath 😷 I was like 😬.

Hopefully we didn’t pick up a virus but we did pick up some curtains, some new perfectly-sized storage, and a nice table that is positioned next to me at my desk, for a bit more space to put things. Yes, I’m practically like Geoff Amazon with his new superyacht: my desk has its own support desk.

§ A couple more thoughts beyond what I wrote last week about reading a lot about internet culture and events…

Inevitably, as a British person online, a large percentage of my experience of the internet is US-based, but I feel that increasingly the more I read. So many interesting newsletters and websites that are US-focused. Sometimes an odd thing from the UK – or maybe even a non-English-speaking country – pops up, but not often.

It makes me feel even more detached from what we used to call the “real world” when so much of what I read originates so far away rather than in this country. A few weeks back I did ask on Twitter for suggestions of British stuff about online culture and events but not much came up. There’s the good old b3ta newsletter and Web Curios has made a welcome reappearance. But what else?

The second thing is that a lot of what I read is by people a fair bit younger than me. Which is (apparently!) fine, and it’s good stuff, but I sometimes want a longer perspective. Garbage Day might look back to the good old days of Vine, or when Tumblr was at its height, but what about before that?

The latest issue had an interesting bit about people making a living from creating content online (which, incidentally, had this great line about them:

I’ve met very few people working on the internet professionally who don’t dream of eventually not working on the internet anymore.

) but I’d love to read something that looks further back than early YouTubers. Is anyone who’s been around since, say, the mid-1990s writing about current internet culture with a longer perspective? What should I be reading?

§ After I wrote last Sunday we finished watching The Pursuit of Love which was pretty fun, although it could have done with more episodes as some events felt pretty rushed through. It did also gesture at ideas for dramas that I’d have perhaps found more interesting than the woes of posh Linda Radlett:

  1. The always-entertaining Andrew Scott played Lord Merlin, patron of some avant garde artist types, a bit like David Bowie in Haddon Hall. A drama about an early-20th century group of Dada-ists or whatever in Britain could be fun. A historical drama focused on people trying to be very modern.

  2. There were some cursory scenes set in the Spanish Civil War while Linda tried to care about something. Has there been a good TV drama about British people going over to fight against Franco?

  3. Related, something about communists in early/mid-20th century Britain (or the US) could be good because, I think, I/we often forget there were plenty. Before Russia was seen as an enemy, before people realised, or admitted, how bad Stalin was.

Anyway, Emily Beecham was good in the role of Fanny Logan, controlling quite a mix of emotions and frustrations.

§ After reading a positive review of it in Sight & Sound, we watched season one of Mystery Road, an Australian crime drama, which was very good. Nice to watch something set somewhere other than Britain, America or Europe. The lead detective was a bit too one-note – always surly – but Judy Davis (who I’d forgotten / didn’t know was Australian) was good as the local senior police sergeant.

§ We also watched Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020) which I knew nothing about and which surprised me. I loved it. I wrote more on Letterboxd.

§ Oh and, for completeness, I forgot to say last week that we’d watched season one of Call My Agent!, the French comedy-drama about a talent agency. It was a lot of fun. I’d probably have found it even more fun if I recognised more of the actors who were playing themselves as difficult-to-work-with actors.

§ That is all. I have jab number two this week. I can’t quite believe it.

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