Ana Kinsella

a week’s clicks #35

hello from Stockholm!

From the archives:

London swings! Again! From Vanity Fair, March 1997 - perhaps the moment the above movement really started on its righteous path.

This is what it’s like in London now. Everywhere you go, some young sharpie with friends in the art world and a rack of Paul Smith suits has plans. Every rotting wharf, every disused factory, every seedy locale where Ronnie Kray once nailed someone’s head to the floor, is a restaurant or arts complex waiting to happen. And because London has a long-standing tradition of fine design and good art schools—among them St. Martin’s College of Art, the Royal College of Art, and Goldsmiths’—these new edifices, unlike those that sprang up in America during the Reagan boom, are actually tasteful. Every young entrepreneur, in other words, is turning into Terence Conran.

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a week’s clicks #34

Good morning! I spent yesterday on a pedalo in Regent’s Park in the sunshine, followed by dinner for two at St John in Spitalfields and a drink in one of my favourite pubs. I felt like an entry in a Buzzfeed Perfect London Dates listicle. This weekend could surely only be improved by a cooling dip in a local swimming pond and then some relaxing reading. I have that part covered here, at least.

I wonder if you, like me, feel, just now, like a ghost in the sunlight, awash in memories as your life shifts from student to professional, and your professors become your colleagues. I’ll pull rank now—but just for a moment—and say that my ghosts are probably older than yours. I mean almost Madonna old, and her 1980s music is there in my reminiscences along with so much more as I recall that the majority of my ghosts became just that during the AIDS crisis, which I first read about while I was a student at Columbia—in 1981 or so. I met those now gone boys at Columbia some time before I met you. In memory they wear what they wore then: Oxford button-downs, and they smoke and gossip in the sun that always makes the steps of Low Library—the very steps you’ve sat on yourself—look like a sketch in a dream. Tomorrow was faraway then. And then it wasn’t.


On the whole, Cal was encouraging. He liked women writers and I don’t think he ever had a true interest in a woman who wasn’t a writer—an odd turn-on indeed, and one I’ve noticed not greatly shared. Women writers don’t tend to be passive vessels or wives, saying, “Oh, that’s good, dear.”

a week’s clicks #33

I came back from a short family holiday straight into a thunderstorm of work- and home-related panic. If you know anyone looking for a big and beautiful double room in north London, please send them my way so I can sleep easy again. In return, please have these things to read.

  • Behind the scenes at Porter, my current favourite magazine.
  • David Shapiro, formerly of Pitchfork Reviews Reviews, and Emily Gould, of the entire internet, interview each other about the mechanics of using life in literature at Interview.
  • What the women of Vice wear to work | Racked.
  • "As the suburbs gave way to the scrubs – and the sun to the pitch black of night, pricked only by headlights and hypermarkets – the sense of distance started to set in. There I was, trying to make my way across a continent that millions died to build, on a fucking coach. This wasn’t Brighton on a Megabus – this wasn’t even Paris on a Megabus; this was slowly cutting across different worlds." Clive Martin traverses Europe on a bus. I usually think this kind of thing reads like it was written by a particularly bright teenager, one in awe of Charlie Brooker’s us-vs-them smart-vs-stupid binary dance, but maybe taking Clive literally out of the UK was all they needed to shake things up a little.
  • Airports viewed from above.
  • "It was the kind of neighbourhood where people would say nothing if they heard screaming. They’d put pillows over their heads if murders were going on." From the first photographer on the scene at the Polanski-Tate house.
  • The gorgeous home-workspace of the former eds of Acne Paper, who seem to be the kind of combination and friends and collaborators that dreams are made of.
  • "17. A device that when you get mail you drop it in and it will tear it up and scan it and then put it in your inbox." And 91 more free ideas.
  • "Many artists have spent careers trying to prove that America doesn’t exist. Or that if it does, it’s only steam rising from a rotting pie. I believe Lynch. But I also believe Lana. Because all that glorious Americana takes its cues from somewhere, right? There exist long stretches of open road flanked by desert and mountain and surf. There exist giddy poems about the individual, uniquely American spirit." The New Inquiry have an issue dedicated to Lana Del Rey, including Nina Power (!) on labour and ‘Money, Power, Glory’.
  • The Irish government should buy Edna O’Brien’s childhood home.
  • TK’s West Coast trip looks thoroughly delicious and dreamy.

From the archives: This week Anne Hollander died aged 83. A historian, she wrote about fashion and style in a way that was so clear, clever and illuminating, and that we are so lacking now today. Fashion writing today most often props itself up, fundamentally serving the tempestuous relationships between designer and  pr and press. It can be like a snake eating its own tail rather than something that shows us some truth about ourselves and our world that we may not otherwise see. Hollander’s writing, which you can see here in her 1990s columns for Slate, stood a world apart. From 'A loss for words: why there's not good writing about fashion’, Feb 5 1997:

Good critical writing about clothing hardly exists at all. There is no tradition of clothes criticism that includes serious analysis, or even of costume criticism among theater, ballet, and opera critics, who do have an august writerly heritage. This fact may be what makes the fashion journalist hate her job—the painful sense that real work cannot be done in this genre, that it would be better, more honorable, to be writing about something else.