Weekly Reader 30

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Photo by Emily Baker

It was unfortunate that I didn’t publish anything last weekend. I tried to, and made numerous drafts, but in the end I realised that, honestly, there was very little of interest that I had read – I was instead too busy with job applications and work – though I did get out to see one of the last screenings of Carol at the New Cornerhouse. The past week has been different, I’ve been planning the next few months ahead, and thinking about the travelling and cultural stuff I’d like to get up to. I have a few European city breaks in my head, and clear direction of what I’d like to get done this year.

I chose the photo above because I see it embodying the sense of relaxation and sophistication I’d like to think will soon come to me. There’s something calming in the gradations of pink in the window mirrored by the metallic nail varnish, the light fizzing of the drink and the speckled plastic. I also feel a sense of time passing in the vaguely 70s aesthetic, that even a few years ago was unthinkable.

  • My first thought was to hatch a clever plan for revenge… by quickly meeting someone new, and making a sculpture of my new girlfriend out of pancakes…, Two Chaps in the Park by Igor Zimmerman on Nowness. This absurd theatre play with robot actors acts out a conversation that I’m sure everyone has had to listen to at least once.
  • What should you watch on Hulu tonight? Make a Facebook status asking for recommendations. Tweet the question to your followers. After perusing for an hour, settle comfortably into Seinfeld, which you’ve seen a million times before. Wonder whether you made the wrong choice. Do it again anyway. There is some comfort in sameness, The Tinderization of Feeling in The New Inquiry. Alicia Eler and Eve Peyser map out coping with the conflicting concern of FOMO and the simultaneous desire to Chill.
  • I’m sick, and trying to be useful with my bedridden time (I could probably wrap this whole thing up with that sentence). I interpret getting sick as a sign that I’m doing something right, and it typically happens once a year, Burnout Guide by Amy Woodside in OK Real. I know that I’m a horrific over worker, that I’ll work myself in to illness and then feel bad about not being able to work. I’ve been looking recently at setting and sticking to limits to stop myself from burning out.
  • I recommend being sick in bed especially when you are not that sick. When you are seriously knocked out, eyes crusted over, sneezing nonstop, it’s hard to have life-changing epiphanies. The sick days we must take advantage of are those when it’s just a simple cold, Sheila Heti writes in favour of sick days in The New York Times. There’s a statistic floating around somewhere that points out that more working hours in the UK are lost to sick days than strikes. It’s comforting to see that people are finding ways to refuse work even when employers are making it harder all the time.
  • They were reporting that they were sick, had rashes, that their entire bodies were weak. The various Michigan authorities continued to report that they couldn’t find anything unusual—certainly not lead, except maybe some seasonal spikes, or statistical flukes, The Contempt that Poisoned Flint’s Water, by Amy Davidson in The New Yorker. The deliberate poisoning of an entire city population is almost unbelievable, the hatred that city officials hold towards their own people ought not to be expected, but here we are.
  • The story of privatized sleep follows a familiar pattern in this city: After decades of uncontrolled growth, the city government’s inability to provide services like healthcare, water, transportation and security has given rise to thriving private industries, efficient enough to fulfill the needs of those who can pay. Delhi’s Sleep Economy in the New York Times. The politics of sleep and rest is something that’s been increasingly important for me over the past few years, and the trailer for Cities of Sleep shows what appears to be an insightful documentary of the cost of sleeping.
  • This is the moment at which our ideas of technology as a series of waymarks on the universal march of human progress falter and fall apart. A single technology – the vacuum-deposition of metal vapour onto a thin film substrate – makes its consecutive and multiple appearances at times of stress and trial: at the dawn of the space age, in orbit and on other planets, at the scene of athletic feats of endurance, in defence and offence in the mountains of the Hindu Kush, on the beaches of the European archipelago. A Flag For No Nations, by James Bridle. A beautifully written and condemning essay. The brutality of borders, conflicts, and the simultaneous ability to overcome these are linked by sheets of golden plastic.