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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things you can read from beyond the fallen New Yorker paywall!
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 rented a caravan with six other people, a group organised by a friend in San Francisco. If someone were to draw a portrait of the people who were ‘ruining Burning Man’ it would have looked like us. With one exception the six all worked in the tech industry. The exception was a corporate lawyer. None of us had been to the festival before. We paid a company from San Diego to drive our caravan to Nevada and get rid of our trash afterwards.”
- Jill Abramson is not ashamed of getting fired.
- This appears to be an agony aunt column run by three witches.
- Svala Ragnars, who I used to live with, and who is a very talented environmental photographer, went on a manic joyride to Monaco and took a lot of pictures on the way.
- Why white gays ‘steal black female culture’ | NYMag.
- "I used to go to these discos there that just opened up in 1968-69, and I went to the discos, and the guys in L.A. looked much better than the guys in New York. They took their t-shirts off, they had these beautiful bodies, and they had long hair. And so that’s when I started with the becoming a disco queen in L.A… I had a white Cadillac. And all these palm trees, the weather was nice. But I wasn’t happy because it the L.A. living wasn’t no love affair, it was just all pleasure orientated, you know?”
- Petra Collin’s Top Shelf | Into the Gloss.
- Daquan is a white girl: v good on ‘Black Twitter’ and the creeping white appropriation of black comedy.
- Bridget Riley is the secret muse of the Autumn 2014 collections.
- I hate 2014’s addiction to overblown oral histories commemorating the 10- and 20-year anniversaries of so-so pop culture moments, so really I should not want to read about the making of Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography, but, uh, I actually really liked this and am not really ashamed.
- The Haircut Menu. I’ll have what she’s having!
- How to take care of your fashion rabbit. For more fashionable bunnies, see Katharine’s Instagram.
- In pictures: The fierce competition of senior athletes. “These athletes are not simple or cute: They are fierce and competitive. It can actually be a bit scary to watch—it’s not what you are used to seeing an older person do.”
- Oh God. Hilton Als gave a commencement speech at Columbia and the NYRB published it and I cried and cried.
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.