hello & welcome back to ✨WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK!✨ – my lil culture diary here on the white pube DOT COM! straight into it bc the beginning of april came along like a suprise! but i have lots of lil bits and bobs in my cultural pocket, this week n week of 8th, to be telling u about. this week’s bits are mostly films and books, i think i wanted a story? or to disappear into some Other narrative a bit? i like to bump through them all at once and really ride the story carousel.


but first! i have decided that 2024 is the year i develop a physical craft, a skill i can do with my hands. i think i mentioned wanting a new hobby in our 2024 ins and outs podcast ep? if i didn’t mention it, i SHOULD HAVE! i j think i am a bit sick of my emails and typing job, staring at a screen all day long and wondering why my eyes hurt, why my back is always hunched over. i also think i decided this last year and then never acted on it? i think i was like ‘i’m gna get really good at sewing sequins onto things!’ n then found the idea of sequin sewing really immediately tedious. i think i thought i wanted some handicraft based tedium – but i don’t! i want handicraft based excitement!!!! i want the satisfaction of making things with my hands and i want that to also be EXCITING!

soooo i started going to a 12 week ceramics course at this lil pottery studio called turning earth! it’s very nice! i will have to show u all the things i make. what i really want is to make a very nice ashtray. i want to make loads of really nice ashtrays. i need to quit smoking this year, even though i really LOVE smoking, but i need to quit or it’ll kill me. so maybe instead of smoking i will make loads of really nice ashtrays as a monument to my beloved and long lost cigarette.

i had my first class last saturday and i made a teapot but i put the handle on in an impulsive and impractical way.

like this is not a functional household item. but it’s ok, i’m calling it sculptural, avantgarde.

& making something with my hands again felt AMAZING. my bf came away from the class (bc we’re doing it together, as a couple’s activity – cute!) feeling relaxed, calm, centred, like he’d just been meditating for 3 hours. i came away from the class crazed, in a comedown from a frenzy. i spent 3 hours gluing things to each other without thinking. saying ‘YES, AND???’ to myself without engaging any of the rational parts of my brain. fugue state etc. i spent 3 hours going ‘OF COURSE DARLING, WHATEVER YOU THINK IS BEST!’ to the part of my brain that’s got all the poor impulse control, intrusive thoughts, indulging whims and fancies and abstract ideas that handles could go all bendy round the back — and that’s fine! i think it’s fine to make the teapot one way and then roll it on its back to get the spout to the rght level. frenzy!!!! arghhh!!!

i loved it. i thought it was great. i think making this must be like what being in a rage room is like. bc i entered a fugue state and when the class ended i snapped out of it, the fog lifted and i awakened and realised that my teapot was fuckign hideous lmaooooooo. it’s hideous! but i don’t care! because it is MY teapot. if i want to make a chunky ugly weird fucked up teapot, that’s MY perogative. nunya business!!!!! i wanted to slap the teapot. i wanted to stroke it like a precious cat. i wanted to lick it! my beautiful teapot. i felt FERAL.


i wanted to watch poor things so badly, more than any other film i’ve thought about or heard about, omg i saw the trailer n i wanted to watch it sooooo bad. desire! i had a burning desire to watch it bc i thought i’d love it and i wanted to see if my initial thought was right.

it was visually really beautiful, pleasing, the visuals had a real Style to it all. so many little things stacked up n made me laugh or go WOAHHHH bc i was like – i was being communicated to on a tiny tiny miniscule unspoken scale. the way bella walked, her bonkers outfits, the way she grabbed and stabbed and spoke (the words and their delivery) but also the weird woozy delirious moments with that fisheye lense, the tense whimsical music. i will read gdlp’s review once i’ve read the book – for now i am saving it bc – i wana Experience it with everything in mind that she could possibly be referring to, yknow? i wana be the best possible reader, ykwim?

the thing is: i liked poor things a normal amount, but i waited so long to finally see it, i think i thought i’d like it more? i think i went in knowing i’d like it and knowing other people liked it, so i was disappointed that i only liked it a normal amout, n that made me feel like i didn’t like it at all. there’s a lesson in there for me, to strike while the iron’s hot, not dither around and let the passing of time ruin things i might like for me. or to not let the anticipation for a thing go on too long and get away from me. i often do this tho – wait for the time to be right, n not notice when the time has passed and feel only deflating disappointment. it’s my least favourite habit.


i feel like i’ve included this in a WISLW before, but – i have been enjoying audiobooks, especially non-fiction, bc my relationhip with non-fiction is mostly non-existent. it’s FICTIONAL, if u will. theoretical. i SHOULD read more non-ficiton, as a non-fiction writer myself. the problem is, i just wana read loopy lil stories! i j wana WRITE loopy lil stories, but like 9 years ago i found my way to writing via art criticism, so now i’ve gotta do that – i feel like my preoccupation with the fictional is vvvv obvious in my texts the past couple years. idk if i’m any good at it bc it feels like the two modes are v separate muscles flexing completely independently. but yes– audiobooks !

i listened to the audiobook of george orwell’s homage to catalonia. i started reading this on the internet last year – there’s like a website version of this book on marxist dot com or something – yknow those anarchist marxist libraries that just publish things for free which is v nice of them, but in a website format so it’s actually not formatted in a convenient way. yeah, started reading, pinned it, circled back – i think this book was bonkers.

it’s george orwell’s account of fighting in the spanish civil war and – i didn’t know about this until last year bc history is massive and there’s so much history to know. but spanish civil war was fought between the fascists and republicans – before franco and the fascists won and took over spain, there was a huge international push to join the fight against the fascists– people came from all over the world to fight in the international brigades. i think ernest hemingway also fought? he was a war reporter, he wrote for whom the bell tolls about it, ofc! and there was also a MASSIVe anarchist contingent in the spanish civil war because a lot of the trade unions were ready to throw weight around in the fight and they were run by anarchists!! god bless! so – i had lots to learn n george orwell to teach me.

i find george orwell very difficult – i can never really figure out where he stands or what he’s about. like he always manages to write from a position that’s a bit obbbbbfuscated, not entirely clear, i think that’s on purpose. and, i mean i don’t think it’s a bad thing, because i find that kind of obfuscation very chic and aspirational – my point is that i just think it’d be chicer if i could tell WHAT he was obfuscating in the first place, then i could play along. if that makes sense? but i’ve got no clue about what he actually thinks, only the outer surface or the glossy limit of the thought, not the root. so i find it a bit difficult to get to grips with what he’s saying because i don’t understand why he’s saying it. i’m not under the limit of it, i’m always just sliding along the outside.

despite that, homage to catalonia is interesting and i enjoyed listening to it. i think the 20th century sounds nuts. people could just wander off and go to spain to fight in a foreign war. i don’t think you can do that in this century, i think you’d get locked up soon as you tried to return to london. maybe i only thnk the limits are firmer bc i am the ~identity~ i am, n me looking back at the 20th century’s still open frontier with nostalgia, when actually i just want the same social freedoms as a white man, not the past tense itself. but whatever the reasoning, i listened to this book vicariously – with a kind of hankering for a world where you could just traipse off and do whatever you liked whenever you liked. that sylvia plath quote about wanting to sleep under the stars but she can’t because she’s a woman so she’s constantly looking over her shoulder – something like that. at some point the vicariousness will wear thin, sure, but for now it scratched an itch.


i picked up this weird book on a whim – unknown language by (i think?) huw lemmey? i say I THINK because the author line is shared with Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th century saint and mystic. hildegard’s name threw me off because i got the feeling that the book was written from the perspective of hildegard of bingen but in the 21st century or the 24th century, but also historical too – if i sound confused it’s bc i AM. there are some archaic medieval references that throw me for a loop, time just folds in on itself in a kinda vienetta concertina and i’m not sure when or where or if this is set anywhere in particular.

i say i picked it up on a whim but the medieval vibes are very much Up My Street, my special area of interest and fascination. that’s how this book got me.

the book was actually three stories/essays – introduced with a short story by banu kapil, concluded with an afterword as lecture transcript (fictional) by alice spawls. the banu kapil story was amusing but too fragmented for me to really get my teef into it. it was about a fictional child saint called pinky agarwalia – cute and whimsical, i love, just written in a ~challenging format~ because of the fragmented style. then the alice spawls essay was REALLY GOOD because actually, i just wana hear about hildegard of bingen in a historical context. i love history etc etc we know. it was framed very interestingly and written in a much more straight up way.

the huw lemmey story itself was gorgeous, unsettling, there were moments that had these brief flashes of deliciousness. but i think i read it under duress (personally imposed) – the pressure to enjoy it and be quick about finding the enjoyment. i don’t know why i did that to myself. the undelicious bits just slid over me and i found myself unmoved by them and also like.. uninterested. it wasn’t boring because i am deeply invested in being an armchair medieval enthusiast, so even if its tangentially related to medieval times, i’m hooked. i also think huw lemmey is far too clever to produce something boring, just following along felt like something was happening out of sight – the problem for me was that the bit being held out of sight never ever landed as a final surprise. i just constantly got the feeling that there was something i was missing and i didnt know what it was and i NEVER FOUnd out. maybe it was the duress, n i just read it in a very distracted way? maybe it wanted or needed more attention than i was able to give it at the time. idk, i just missed the bus on this one a bit. i might come back to it again n have another go.

this guy

i think i’ve got adhd. i know everyone on the internet is like ‘omg everyone’s got undiagnosed adhd nowadays!’ but i think one of those everyones is ME. i think even if i’m not, i also have always been a fidget and i struggle with sitting still in a chair all day. i jiggle my leg whenever i have to sit still so i am technically not even sitting still even when i am sitting still. my leg is literally jiggling right now!!!! bouncing up and down. my bf says i shake like a lunatic, i think i just have undiagnosed adhd!!! diagnosis pending (hahahahahha diagnosis maybe pending 4eva, have u seen the waiting lists???? tbc after 45 years hahahahaha omg the nhs is falling apart) i need to figure out a fidget outlet before i explode from the sheer agitated tension of having a desk n emails job. i should be out in the forest, i should be free, instead i am at my desk. so i bought these squishy fidget toys in like…. a 24 piece pack. loads of little animals and 1) they are sooo delightful and cute! 2) they are covered in fluff and crumbs and i have no way of keepign them clean, that is just their natural material texture unfortunately, and 3) they’re WORKING. the croc gets squeezed as proxy for my hand and leg based agitation of being sat at my desk for my desk and email job. i rub him like he is a cat, i squeeze the living daylights out of him. it was a choice between these squeezable fidget toys and like… fidget spinners and i rly feel like i made the right decision! fuck a fidget spinner, SHOW ME THE CROCODILEEEEE. i am squeezing him rn in between my fingers as i type and it meand the agitation has another outlet, a pyshical expression that means i can just actually get on with things – LOVE IT!

the satsuma complex

i love bob mortimer – and vic reeves too, love shooting stars. the surreal! slightly clownish comedy! god bless them, bc they both seem like sweet and odd men. when i heard that bob mortimer was writing NOVELS, i was THRILLED. i listened to the audiobook version and bob mortimer himself read it – whcih was delightful!!!! sweet man. the actual storyline itself wasn’t that new or interesting, not groundbreaking. it’s a dad-paperback, softcore murder mystery and also general mystery. but it’s told in the way bob mortimer would tell it – inherently charming. worth the read for that alone, if u love bob mortimer too :)

i mention it here because i think my reading tastes have been about seeking out the really weird, and while weird is often good, i listened to the satsuma complex and found that it was bob mortimer weird, yeah – but also i was listening along and having such a nice time – and the nice time felt good and it also felt new! i was reading/listening for entertainment, and i was being entertained by the story - that was the novelty - i was chuckling to myself on the overground, what a pleasing thing! reading as pleasure and ONLY pleasure, no brain exertion, only enjoyment! such an easy affable book to enjoy!