No Complaints #25: Amy, Agatha and Angry Oysters

I am about to go to the dentist, and am not looking forward to it. If you would like to remember me at a happier time, I recommend this week's New Statesman podcast, where I can be found rhapsodising about Ali Smith and giggling at limericks.

Things to read

“Christie’s books are so much more than great puzzles. Each of her novels demonstrates a profound understanding of people – how they think, feel and behave – all delivered in her crisp, elegant, addictively readable style. While immersed in a Christie mystery, you might not notice the wisdom sprinkled throughout the pages because you’re having too much fun, growling with frustration because you’d love to be able to guess the solution but can’t.”

Time to stop sneering at Agatha Christie. Email to Pocket.



“Every woman I know in games right now is really tired. Careful: That is 'every woman I know', not 'every woman'. You must be very careful. It's the kind of fatigue that isn't so easily explained by our fist-shaking male colleagues who earnestly empathize across their social media platforms with how "we get harassed a lot". Some of us get harassed a lot and some of us don't. Sometimes it upsets me when people bring up the harassment: comments like I have no idea how you put up with all the shit you put up with or gee, you sure have a lot of haters, because honestly I am usually trying to ignore that part and, well, a lot of people like and support my work too, thank you.”

Leigh Alexander is so great. “We cannot wait to be accorded validity. We must run at it, repeatedly.” Email to Pocket.



“Through meticulous research, Urban found that in some ponds the marbled salamander heavily preyed upon the spotted salamanders, until there were few left. In other ponds, the spotteds ate voraciously during the first five weeks of life, exposing themselves to predators as they gorged but growing very rapidly. The survivors grew so fast that soon they were too large for the marbled salamanders to get their small mouths around. The successful spotteds mated and passed on their genes for ravenous, fast-growing behaviour in a classic example of natural selection.”

Evolution you can see. I have never been so fascinated by what salamanders are up to. Email to Pocket.



“If you take the time to peruse the annals of any nineteenth century asylum, as I have, you will discover that the ‘cause of admittance’ for all women over forty is listed as ‘change of life’. In other words, you go crazy. When you go crazy, you don’t have the slightest inclination to read anything Foucault ever wrote about culture and madness.”

Astonishing writing about the menopause. Bit scared now, though. Email to Pocket.



“If sin came into the world via knowledge and discovery could it really leave the same way? Scurvy seems to indicate, like God, that it can’t; and yet there is another way in which it suggests, like Hooke, the opposite. One of its more remarkable symptoms was a morbid receptivity to sense impressions, one aligned with the preternatural sensitivity scientists were trying to excite artificially. If scurvy is construed as physical manifestation of sin – a consequence of the postlapsarian body, the offspring of illicit knowledge – it has its own interest in the processes of empirical cognition.”

On the morality and science of scurvy. Which can apparently give you superpowers, or at least make you experience “acute sensation”. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

So, I slightly dropped the ball with the podcast-recommending this week. Sorry. I have lots of good ones in the works, I promise, but none I'm quite ready to out just yet.

I know it's slightly cheating because it's also a video, but I listened to Malala's dad's Ted talk while I did some boring admin this week, and it massively improved my day, so maybe give that a whirl.

Things to watch

Ragtime Roxanne.

All of Bach.


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Angry oyster.

The guest gif

Brb, I just discovered the “science gif” bit of tumblr.

THE END. See you next time*!
*Next time will probably be next Friday. If you want to suggest things I should include in the next one of these, please do reply and send me links.