tax write off #6
I was asked on Instagram the other day if there is a place that compiles Culture You Can Experience From Home. You know, maybe you are a sick person and the exhibition listing sites aren’t relevant to you. Or you are busy, or you have caring responsibles, and Outside Culture is just out of reach. Discord advised this page as well as this one which are both fun to click around on, but ultimately don’t list things like postal exhibitions or theatre broadcasts etc. If anyone knows of something like that, please message me so I can update this opening. But til then, as someone who doesn’t get to go outside much, here is the culture I’ve been enjoying from bed:
Rough Trade Books did a good sale recently so I picked up a few things including Algorithm Party by Roy. It was not a party. It was an afters, or a morning-afters. It was violent and existential and I need to meet you Roy, whoever you are. Favourite lines include, ‘Confucius was a fuckin’ liar, mate' and ‘I’ll have to kill myself more often.’ The pamphlet is a series of short stories, along with 1 or 2 poems. They’re about awkward situations you get yourself into when everyone else seems like they have their shit together and you still don’t; when everyone else seems absolutely relaxed and normal in their skin, but yours itches, and all the E45 in the world won’t stop the burn. Personally, as someone who is interested in writing with an accent, ye, Roy, I just wanna meet and talk writing with you. The whole thing is immanently scouse. I want to know if these are sketches for a book, or if short stories are all you feel is right for your work. I wanna know how you feel walking around this city. I wanna know if you take notes, record people, or just remember it until the details come in useful for this work. I wonder i wonder i wonder
I also got On Language – an interview with John Grant conducted by Will Burns. The interview attempts to pull out Grant’s thoughts on making music, writing lyrics, and learning languages, and how those three might have similarities. A certain grammar to all three. A certain expression. I think I got what I wanted out of it as a reader holding a thin pamphlet but I still wanted like, 20% more. The content was great but the interviewer could have pressed harder on certain moments. Still, the way Grant described the differences in the languages he has learnt – the limits and the textures to them, and their styles – and how he feels this need to immediately be playful with what he’s learning so that he can use that playfulness in how he interacts with native speakers (and listeners), ah, I loved that. Feel ready to go back to his work understanding his position a little better, with playful use of language as a constant wink to see us all through the heavy emotion of his subject matter, and his voice.
I’m still reading Mordew too, but i do enjoy being able to read a thing in one sitting. Gotta find more pamphlet-sized things to consume.
Shitloads of Twinelle. People buy $45 mystery boxes off her, and she puts together boxes of clothes for them based on their Depop likes. Listen, I have been in bed a lot recently. I have not been thinking about outfits or accessories or looking good or anything of the sort, and in that state, these videos are so pleasant to me. I am a new fan. I wanna know what she’d put in a box for me. (Massive t-shirts, lil skirts)
I also just watched 4 days of an esports tournament, the Apex Legends Global Series. When my health was a bit better at the beginning of the year, I went to the final in person and it was very, very fun. But my fatigue isn’t letting me do shit lately so I watched from home, which, honestly might be preferable to some anyway. The official Apex Twitch channel has a feature called Command Centre which allows viewers to watch their favourite team as opposed to the official broadcast that is covering 20 teams' activities at once. Imagine like, if you were watching a football match but you could click a button and zoom into your favourite player, and you could hear them making calls, or just breathing really heavily or whatever. I imagine this is what other sports will offer soon. Unfortunately, my team didn’t even make it to the final (Furia) and then my favourite player (HisWattson) quit competitive gaming altogether to concentrate on being a content creator. Anyway, made the last 4 days of bed-living very good. The next competition is in September in Birmingham and I am just hoping and praying I have the body to get there D:
Last week, I also recently watched All The Beauty and the Bloodshed. Was left feeling impressed and scared. Educated, attentive. It’s on iPlayer fyi! The documentary, dir by Laura Poitras, follows photographer Nan Goldin as she takes on the Sackler family. Goldin tries to hold the Sacklers to account for their hand in the opioid crisis in the US. But she also uses her power in the art world to push for galleries to stop accepting Sackler funding, because it is only coming into art through the dirty scheme of the Sacklers profiting off of people’s pain & then wanting to clean their reputation. A lot of people know this story already — some of you will have been involved in the actions put on over the past few years by Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (PAIN) — but if you don’t, it’s all laid out very clearly and forcefully in this film. The direction takes a really effective approach in using various stories from across Goldin’s life to show how she got to this point of action — how we all did really. Her sister’s death, the community who helped her grow up outside of the family home, photography, the AIDS epidemic and art’s response to AIDS, her experience of domestic abuse, and finally, her own addiction to OxyContin. The story is burgeoning the entire film until it reaches this short moment of relief: galleries agreeing to PAIN’s terms, taking down the Sackler name, and refusing to sanitise their reputation and their profits. It is so historical and bittersweet, and there is a line at the end, ‘the wrong things are kept secret and that destroys people.’ The abusive people responsible for so many evils in the world are never completely exposed in the way we need them to be, but documentaries can try. And photography can try. And art can try. Sometimes it works, even just a little.
I Alsooooo watched Jury Duty and now I am going round banging my drum. The TV show is a hoax documentary about jury service in which everybody involved is an actor besides one guy, Ronald Gladden. I laughed so much. It was easy, easy watching — and I say that as someone who couldn’t get through The Rehearsal, Nathan Fielder’s series that brought normal people into the show’s fold to help them rehearse difficult conversations they knew they needed to have. Like, I appreciated The Rehearsal for what it was doing with form but jfc it just put me on edge because everyone seemed so vulnerable, which was very much the point, but not knowing whether they were okay dealing with the scale of being-on-reality-TV made me dip. I know, I know. I am a very tense millennial. To continue speaking in TV terms, I am the protagonist from Hacks. But ye, didn’t feel the same alarm bells with Jury Duty. It was such a romp. Didn’t feel as extractive as The Rehearsal. James Marsden was great, David Brown was perfect — doing a thumbs up at the back of the hotel door. Edy Monica and the soaking scene. Idk, I am jazzed, and left thinking about how thorough the writers had to be, and how maddening the process must have been, because there was only so much writing they could do! They had no idea how Ronald would react so they had to create a branching narrative for potential stories, and then the actors had to learn lines for scenes Ronald and the audience would never even experience. Just really meticulous chaos, and somehow done with enough breathing room for it to still feel funny and charming and moving. Yeeeee loved it :)
I watched The Flash yesterday. It was a romp. Tbh, I wish more superhero films were as silly as that. Everything is getting too serious. Just make a man run fast and be done with it.
Eating: Tesco’s own popcorn, Tom Yum soup, the box of Heroes a man gave me for giving him a futon for free via the local Facebook group lol
Also listening to:
I want to BE them.