a week’s clicks #40
I’m in California! Trying to accumulate links but so busy deciding which 40 to drink and how much money to spend in J.Crew! It’s warm and even when I’m trying to lie down and relax in the cool dark inside there is Netflix to watch and also a huge pile of books I seem to have racked up already (including a Joan Didion first edition for only $8, thanks San Francisco!) but anyway, here is your reading.
- A trip to Niagara Falls, in glorious technicolour.
- "The mattress protest is a way for Sulkowicz to both refuse him that anonymity and turn the situation on its head. She’ll take the punishment, it says… For now, she’s not using any hooks or belt loops to carry it—only her hands, or other students’ hands (her friends call those “collective carries”). It’s a weight Columbia can lift together. “For the record, the best arrangement is four people carrying the mattress, because they each take a corner,” says Sulkowicz, smiling. “Then it’s really light.” (Would read anything Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote, would probably follow her into battle on the basis of her writing, too.)
- In case we need reminding, there are many reasons why Muslim women and girls wear the hijab.
- How to make a perfect lookbook. (But also, why is menswear in London so bloody white?)
- "Inside, the store itself looks Instagram filtered, all bleached wood and muted color palette: cream, dusty blue, dustier rose, maroon. Everything from the faded denim to the vast crop top selection is shockingly soft, a selling point every Brandy girl notes. The piped-in music fits with the vibe, but not the demo: Do teens really listen to Beck?" Going inside the teenage girlcult Brandy Melville.
- You could probably stare at botanical drawings for days | NYRB.
- "I have always thought "Twombly" ought to be (if it isn’t already) a verb, as in twombly: (vt.): to hover thoughtfully over a surface, tracing glyphs and graphs of mischievous suggestiveness, periodically touching down amidst discharges of passionate intensity. Or, then again, perhaps a noun, as in twombly (n.): A line with a mind of its own.”
- Real art, described in fiction.
From the archives:
The high is always the pain and the pain is always the high. On a gambling addiction, by Jay Caspian Kang in the Morning News, 2010.
During my last semester in graduate school, I made a lot of unexpected friends. I’d meet them in the card room above the OTB on 72nd and Broadway, or I’d meet them over Recession Specials at the Gray’s across the street, or I’d meet them in the poker pit at the Tropicana, or I’d sit next to them on the 5 a.m. bus from Atlantic City, trying not to think about what it meant that these were the only sunrises we saw anymore—the washed-out sun peeking out over the white, industrial cylinders of north New Jersey. My friends and I never really talked about anything. Mostly, we muttered about the bad beats we’d taken, each new friend a companion in losing… Occasionally I admitted to being a graduate student. Although I must have met more than 50 of these friends, I only remember telling one of them about my dream of becoming a novelist. He was a Filipino kid about my age from Queens, and when I made my confession in the back seat of a cab driving to a game he knew about in Chelsea, he only said, “What’s the book going to be about? Hold ’em, Stud, or Omaha?”
a week’s clicks #39
Hello! I’ve had quite a lovely weekend this time: karaoke for a friend’s birthday on Friday, a day trip to Cambridge yesterday for punting and pints with Ph.D pals (tip: bring wine and plastic cups with you for the journey down the river), brunch this morning with a friend visiting from Dublin and tonight, wine and chats with some fashion school friends. Your Sunday reading is below.
- You have the same amount of hours per day as an orangutan: make them count.
- "I remember big wet bunches of daffodils at the tills for Mother’s Day, GOAL badges, bag packers, signs in Irish about ‘milseain‘ and the Superquinn charter (‘If it doesn’t scan it’s free!’ and the bowl with ‘Take a Penny or Leave One, That’s Why They’re There’)." An ode to Superquinn! (And a pizza recipe, too.)
- And the bride wore Nikes: how to elope with just the right amount of style (too much, surely, and it’s not an elopement at all).
- "There is a sociologist in New York who has characterised lesbians as “canaries in an urban coal mine”. They typically seek out areas of the city that are affordable and have a progressive reputation where they can be around others who are like them. They will typically plug into the infrastructure of the area such as progressive coffee shops, co-op grocery stores, bike stores, counter cultural theatres and so on." There goes the gay neighbourhood.
- Kris’s view of fashion week is always the most beautiful.
- "Yes, that sounds terrible in some ways: "We should be helping him! We’ve squandered his inheritance!" Fuck inheritances. It’s beautiful that he wants to help, and his parents can feel that, even though they’re in pain. Your friend just needs to keep showing that he loves them and that he’s grateful for all that they’ve already done for him. He needs to give them the gift of his words. Two sweet people will treasure that more than he can possibly imagine." An Ask Polly on hardship.
- 16 Instagram accounts that will make you dream of Ireland.
- What if you just don’t know if you want kids? (Hint: no easy answer here.)
- "Trying too hard isn’t cool, and having an iPhone 6 (let alone 6 plus) is trying too hard. It’s sitting in the front row of class, it’s refreshing Facebook at a party, too available for conversation, too willing to fit in.”
- Why would anyone pretend to be a teenager for 20 years? A really moving, enigmatic piece about the troubled life of Charity Johnson by Katie JM Baker.
- Latest instalment in the developing field of Britney Studies.
- "Pusha T was once a cocaine dealer, and he has rhymed about this experience for two decades, in increasingly belletristic ways (“I move ’caine like a cripple”; “Two ways of gettin’: either rap or unwrap”). He is now a highly paid musician, and it is almost inconceivable that he has kept up his illicit second career." What’s ‘real’ in hip-hop?
From the archives:
Exciting news for fans of the longform profile: I’m going to amass a list of ALL my favourites from all over the internet, all down the years, and will hopefully post the link here next week. In the meantime, here is a Gentlewoman profile of designer and object of much fashion-girl admiration Katie Hillier:
Katie’s love of sorting has deep roots. As an only child, she loved rearranging the toys on her shelves. “I would get up on a Saturday morning and think, ‘Right, I’m going to tidy,’” she said. “I would take all the toys off my shelves and then I would display them. Looking back on it, I realise I was merchandising my room.” She spent a lot of time with her grandparents. “My grandmother didn’t have much money,” said Katie, “but every Wednesday, she would go to Harrods’ food hall and buy meat and fish – things she thought it was worth paying a bit more for. I thought the place was amazing! Then, straight after, we’d go to the market at the top of Goldhawk Road to buy jellied eels and prawns – from one extreme to another.” One of Katie’s pet hates is those online “you might also like” suggestions that lead you to products similar to what you’ve been looking at, she said. “How the fuck do you know what I like, actually?”
No week’s clicks this week because it’s fashion week. Above is a picture of Rick Owens pretending to, um, urinate into his own mouth, in i-D in 2002, and below is a link to what I did on Saturday night. Normal service again next weekend.
a week’s clicks #38
so much to read this week! I feel like I’m squeezing every drop out of this weekend, from seeing out the summer on a dalston rooftop on friday night to book-shopping in Foyles to a midnight jaunt to Matisse’s Cut-Outs at the Tate Modern last night (it closes 10pm today!) to a good old-fashioned street party and dog show this afternoon, plus plenty of reading and good food in between. This week was a good one for reading, so here are some things for this evening:
- At home with Laura Bradley, editor of Anothermag.com.
- “I believe you should always be ready to meet someone, whether it is your favorite writer or the man of your life. I don’t mean just physically ready—you’ve read, you’ve listened to music. You see—realistic, but still romantic.”
- A diagnosis | LRB. The inimitable Jenny Diski is writing poignantly and frankly about cancer.
- "What makes the Victoria Beckham story so compelling to the women who buy her dresses is that Victoria Beckham is living, breathing proof of the transformative powers of fashion. We buy clothes because we believe they will help us become who we want to be. It is the dresses with her name on the label – yours for around £1,500 a pop – which made Victoria Beckham who she is today. That is one very powerful sales pitch.”
- What is it about clouds?
- Oh god, this is the best thing I’ve ever read about the fashion blogging industry: The Click Clique, or how Amber Venz got herself and her bloggers exceptionally wealthy incredibly quickly. So worth reading.
- Celebrating ten issues of the Gentlewoman and their stellar profiles | It’s Nice That.
- "There is no anonymity; it’s as imaginary as the false security you feel while driving in your car, a sense of detached invulnerability that can inspire road rage. Even as a nonbody floating through the web, we are indeed very much traceable to the physical location where the floating gets under way." Molly Lambert, who is so smart it makes me blink, on celebrity nude leaks and privacy.
- This single informative picture is such a gamechanger if you, like me, are engaged in the constant pursuit of the perfect cookie recipe.
- "Probably a month or so in, I started to realize why these guys were so obsessed with talking about my body and so categorically un-interested in any other kind of conversation: They had a big-girl fetish. They weren’t interested in getting to know me; they just wanted to have sex with a fat girl.”
- I think we’re just gonna have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that | i-D (<3 Venetia Scott).
- I have the new Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook and it’s amazing, so eye-opening and of course delicious. Here Sally Singer meets the sisters for a day in the kitchen.
- 1960s bliss in Marylebone.
- Have you ever been in a gallery and been struck by how easy it would be for you to (accidentally) break something very, very expensive? Well, it happened to this woman.
- Meeting the (other) obsessive nuts who photograph models outside fashion shows | Dazed.
From the archives: Ladies’ man, the New Yorker, March 16th, 2009.
There are many designers whose work can make women look thinner or prettier. Elbaz seems to have the power to make women appear more interesting. Several years ago, Barneys’ creative director, Simon Doonan, hosted an event for Elbaz in Los Angeles, at which Doonan had imagined that models would walk around the room wearing Lanvin while the guests ate dinner. Elbaz hated the idea. He wanted twinkling chandeliers and a runway. Barneys obliged, but expended its budget, and was reduced to using “local talent” for the models. Doonan assumed that Elbaz would be horrified. But when the show began, Doonan recalls, “not only do the local girls look beautiful and stylish, they actually look like fascinating people. Alber is an alchemist: he took these California chippies and turned them into Left Bank existentialists. Instead of Tara Reid, I saw Jeanne Moreau.”
The second issue of 1 Granary is out now and while I did step down as editor after realising, in a sweaty panic at 3am one night late last year, that there are in fact only 24 hours in the day and perhaps I should be spending more than 5 or 6 of them each day not-working, I did find my way into the issue regardless. I conducted the interview with Christopher Kane that you see on the cover there, and also I met painter Dexter Dalwood in an Islington café almost a year ago, who painted one of my favourite paintings of recent years, where we talked about politics and tub-thumping and Iraq and conspiracy. Strange, now, considering how much has changed in global affairs since then.
Are you wary of being pigeonholed in the media at all? As an artist who is controversial or even conspiratorial?
Not really. When I did the Turner Prize obviously there was a big focus on that David Kelly painting but on the whole it hasn’t been like that. I did this show called Orientalism in Copenhagen in 2012, about how difficult it is to make paintings about the Middle East, basically. Riffing on the idea that 19th century Orientalist paintings were about this racist idea of codifying the subject, but always from a Western viewpoint. Now, if you think of Syria in your mind’s eye, you see rebels in trucks with grenade launchers on the back. People on the street and you see desert, bashed-up buildings, troops on the ground and stuff like that. You don’t see kids going to school, or people having weddings, people sitting having coffee. It’s about what’s fed through to us. That’s what I was interested in doing, as an inadequate version of that with painting.
Anyway, on another note, two weeks ago I met with the two girls who edited the new issue, Olya and Sara, drank cocktails and ate ice cream. We ended up going to a party in Bloomsbury and getting quite drunk and talking for a long time. And people rail against working - doing anything you can describe as labour - for free these days so much, especially people who have yet to make a living from that particular labour (hence the railing, in fairness). I am privileged to make a living off my labour, and I’ve learned not to always have a problem with working for free when you get other benefits from that work: it could be ‘exposure’ or a platform or a great editor or in this case, maybe most importantly, a friendship with some of the smartest, most together girls I will ever know. It’s experience, not the kind that fills a gap on your CV, but that you’ll remember and be glad of for a lifetime. Some things are worth a lot more than a little money in your pocket.
a week’s clicks #37
I think there’s a ghost inside this blog, because every time I try to post a link to a certain article the whole thing crashes. So here’s 95% of your weekly reads. Happy end of summer. I’m glad we’re moving on.
- This, on our current cultural obsession with butts, deserves a gold star for its headline.
- Extreme fashion on the mean streets of Tottenham, by Susie Bubble.
- 'A few hours before the Coachella show, I get a message that Prince and Paul McCartney are going to be there. My spirit is not right, and idols are standing side-stage, so as the show started, I’m bummed. This is horrible. In my mind I was already gone to my hotel room halfway through. So Prince called a couple days after. It was my first time actually talking to Prince. He said: “When you come back, people want to be wowed. And what’s the best way to wow people? Just give them the hits.”' A gem of an interview with André 3000.
- 90s babe Kirsten Owen is still all aglow, of course.
- Two things on St. John, which you may know is a very, very good restaurant in London and which is celebrating 20 years of altering the course of food: speaking with the founders themselves and also with their ex-staff.
- Dr Dre writes a letter to his girlfriend (maybe) about Burning Man.
- What’s going wrong with Chinese fashion? | i-D.
- " I think failing is a very important part of the creative process; if you don’t try something then you’re not going to learn anything. If everything is immaculate then what’s the point? A lot of my shoots have been experiments, things I’ve thought about, but then when it’s come on to the final page, I look at it and say ‘oh that hasn’t really worked out’. It’s a picture in a magazine at the end of the day, and it’s not going to change anyone’s life." Simon Foxton in the new issue of 1 Granary (which I worked on a bit!)
- Beyoncé’s politics may change, but her bedazzled bodysuits stay the same.
- Gloriously domestic still-lives by Anna Valdez | It’s Nice That.
- You know those blogs that you forget about for months on end and then check in all at once? Catching up on strangers’ (well-written) lives takes me back to blogging’s glory days. 2014 online is a stranger place.
From the archives:
Hip-Hop Debs - Nancy Jo Sales meets Paris and Nicky Hilton, Vanity Fair, September 2000.
A friend describes how Paris behaves when she enters a hotel belonging to the family, which includes the Waldorf-Astoria: “She’ll, like, roll up to the Waldorf like snap, snap to the desk clerk: ‘You give me a key’ … with that glare in her eye, like she’s Zsa Zsa Gabor or something. Grabs the key out of their hand, like: ‘Tell them to send up room service right now!’”
And then there’s the supposed rivalry with the Schnabel sisters—Stella, 17, and Lola, 19, daughters of the painter Julian Schnabel. It’s like something out of Edith Wharton. “She and Nicky are like partners in bitch crime,” the friend continues. “They have an ill competition with the Schnabel girls. They do not like each other. It’s like battle of the society sisters: ‘Oh, we both had our pictures in the Post by the time we were 14!’ … It’s a notorious rivalry, like: ‘Can you believe the dress she’s wearing? I would not be caught dead in that.’ It’s like, who looks the oldest at the youngest age, and who got into Spy bar first, and this and that … “
a week’s clicks #36
oh god sorry for the extremely long break in programming. a lot of stuff happened, and i had no internet at work or at home for about 3 weeks there. i read some real books during that time, also plenty of stuff around the internet. Here is some of it.
- Photos from the final days of Vivian Girls
- “In the morning I know exactly how I will go about my day because it takes me longer than most to rush out the door. I am very particular. Some friends can arrive free-wheeling and unstudied into a space and say, “Sorry I am such a mess!” I am not like that.”
- Renata Adler on her other life as a reporter at Watergate, Vietnam and Biafra | Interview.
- 'I can give you cold hard numbers. 18 years, seven minutes of leg shaving every three days, one hour of arm waxing, eyebrow threading, and myriad other ways to “clean up” the rest of my face every three weeks, and I’m staring down the barrel of 723 and one half hours. Throw on another half hour of laser hair removal (saying nothing of the time I spent crying in the car after laser hair removal, because it hurts that badly), and that’s 30 days of my life dedicated to maintaining the image that I was, as Leonardo DiCaprio puts it in The Wolf of Wall Street, “hairless from the eyebrows down.”’
- Ask Polly on the move.
- The work of illustrator Sara Andreasson | It’s Nice That.
- "We live in a world where the appeal of a large, plush booty has long since been mainstreamed, and where Kim Kardashian’s ass is more recognizable than her face. It’s hard to imagine that an exercise video called Buns of Steel was once popular. Now, when white pop stars with flat butts jokingly position themselves next to twerking black dancers for comparison, it’s presumably at their own expense, drawing attention to their own lack of ass. But it’s a loaded image, and the fact that the white pop stars so constantly use black women’s bodies to make that joke is an issue." Molly Lambert on Nicki Minaj and reclaiming the twerk.
- It’s your biannual reminder that Andrew O’Hagan is the best fashion writer going, here in his profile of Sarah Burton who seems like a tough woman to get to know.
From the archives:
I’m reading White Girls by Hilton Als right now and I think there is so much to learn from him and his writing, as a writer and as a human. I’ve linked to his essays a few times here but this time it’s an interview with him by Christopher Bollen in Interview mag (again):
BOLLEN: There are some really interesting pieces that sit dissonantly side by side in the book. You have a formal, more traditional profile on the life of Richard Pryor followed by a fictional screed in the voice of Richard Pryor’s sister, as if she were Shakespeare’s sister. Was that looser, wilder second piece a response to the formalism of the first?
ALS: That’s a good question. I think that I live in writing. I don’t really see that many distinctions in the work. What I feel is there are certain demands that you have to satisfy in any piece of writing. When it’s just for me, it’s just for me, but if it’s a piece for a particular publication, I know what they’re going to ask for. I feel really spoiled because the places that I write for tend to want more of your sound. They know that there are certain journalistic demands, but they want your sound, too. I don’t make a lot of money, but I get to have freedom.
a week’s clicks #35
hello from Stockholm!
- The demise of the last denim tailor in Williamsburg | The Awl.
- A real tear-jerker in a week very few probably needed one: the poet Edward Hirsch composes an elegy for his son Gabriel. File under Heartbreaking, New Yorker.
- When I’m away from home and feeling London-sick, which I’ll grant isn’t too often really, I love miss little lime’s archive of jaunts around the city. I think her vision of the place might be the better-dressed version of my own.
- Oh man. Behind the seams with five of fashion’s favourite logos. For more track down Wim Wenders’ Notebook on Cities and Clothes, on Yohji Yamamoto, sadly no longer on Youtube.
- "I found myself once again single, once again staring down a summer of who-knows-how-much indulgence, and I thought, fuck it. It’s worth getting over myself to protect myself. Migraines, in my experience, were temporary. HIV is forever."
- You’ve been fictionalized! | The Paris Review.
- "Marriage is momentous and yet pedestrian at the same time, and we were feeling both of those emotions after the ceremony. It was really a day like any other, but very, very surreal.” A Brooklyn wedding.
- I got lost in this digital archive of photos of cities, again pedestrian, again momentous.
- Unsurprisingly, the characters of Twin Peaks still look stylish 25 years on | The Guardian.
- "Pubs were once community hubs, places where young lads, young girls, matriarchs, geezers, old biddies and just about everyone in the area whose doctor would still let them drink congregated to wobble and moan. In contrast, modern London pubs seem to be occupying the same space that coffee shops did in the 90s: community centres for upwardly mobile, young-ish, creative-ish people who think there’s no such thing as society." Talking gentrification in London’s most groan-inducing hotspots, “the Madame Tussauds and The London Dungeon of the AirBnB demographic.” (Compare and contrast with the Irish version, where the writer got very drunk and almost certainly was crying in Starbucks by the end.)
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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