How To Play Piano
On Glenn Gould.
On Glenn Gould.
A work trip to Turkmenistan.
‘Florida and Ohio, man,’ the barista at the local café said to my husband, when he asked about the tourist trade. ‘People here at least acknowledge that it’s real. But people from Florida and Ohio don’t even seem to think it’s happening.’ Having lived in both places, I believe him: I have long had a theory that the surrealism that has overtaken the political landscape in America can be traced back to the poisoned ground of Ohio Facebook.
On water scarcity in Mexico City.
The polar icecaps are melting. Is it OK to have a child? Australia is on fire. Is it OK to have a child? My house is flooded, my crops have failed, my community is fleeing. Is it OK to have a child? It is, in a sense, an impossible question.
No one can seem to agree on his surviving merits. He wrote like an angel, the consensus goes, except when he was writing like a malfunctioning sex robot attempting to administer cunnilingus to his typewriter.
On living with the internet.
Boomtown San Francisco, as seen from the Google Bus.
The AIDS crisis as it unfolded in America is an object lesson in the danger, the potential violence, inherent in organized prejudice.
“Electorates turned with special venom against parties offering what was in effect a milder version of the economic consensus: free-market capitalism with a softer edge. It’s as if the voters are saying to those parties: what actually are you for?”
A 60,000-word investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire.
On the work of Rachel Cusk.
“This isn’t an essay about clothes, exactly, nor is it about fashion, quite. It is about women and clothes and something that happens between them that we could think of as a kind of third rail of female experience.”
On Joan Didion.
A review of several books on Rupert Murdoch first criticizes the authors for not grasping the many sides of their subject, then offers a thesis of its own. He’s “not so much a man, or a cultural force, as a portrait of the modern world.”
A critique of Facebook.
Satoshi Nakamoto was the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. Facing bankruptcy and jail, Craig Wright fled Australia knowing that he would soon be outed as Satoshi by multiple publications. Backed by a business group that hoped to sell his patents, Wright was due to show the proof that he possessed the original keys for Bitcoin, but did he?
Following a Cadbury factory to Poland.
The relationship between creative writing programs and modern fiction.
From Medusa to Merkel.
All of the books about all of the David Bowies:
There are more and more books like this these days: rock histories and encyclopedias, stuffed with information, compendiums of every last detail from this or that year, era, genre, artist – time pinned down, with absolutely no anxiety of influence. And while it would be churlish to deny there is often a huge amount of valuable stuff in them, I do think we need to question how seriously we want to take certain lives and kinds of art – and how we take them seriously without self-referencing the life out of them, without deadening the very things that constitute their once bright, now frazzled eros and ethos.
The psychology of trolling.
“If I had to pick one sentence I’ve heard more than any other in the last six years of conversation about economics, it would be ‘Why aren’t people more angry?’ The Brexit vote showed that plenty of them are. But perhaps it expressed that other feeling, the one of bewilderment, just as much. ‘Take back control’ is a cynical but extremely astute pitch to an electorate in that state of mind.”
On the relationship between conservation, British farmers, and a possible Brexit.
Money is an idea that we all agree to believe in.