No Complaints #26: Ink, Insights and Internet Chum

If you are interested in who becomes the next deputy leader of the Labour party, than I am here for you. There are interviews, podcasts. . . But if you unaccountably care about other things happening in the world/on the internet, then keep scrolling.

Things to read

“Much more attention is paid to the dynamic between step-parents and stepchildren, one that can be notoriously tricky, and I consider myself very lucky indeed with my own stepfamily, who seemed to absorb me, more or less seamlessly, into their lives. But there is, I think, something particularly special about the stepgrandparent. Standing at one remove from the new partnership, and all the hue and cry the blending of a family can involve, they have the potential to play a unique role for the stepgrandchild – part grandparent, part wise, trusted confidante.”

A lovely piece of writing about inter-generationally blended families. Email to Pocket.



“As you fall into the markedly friendly world of Instagram calligraphy, you also start to pick up a whole different vocabulary. Calligraphers talk to each other of favourite pens and vintage nibs, speak glowingly of the paper they are printing on, and send each other the most fabulous mail. It feels like another world, not one of the past – you are on a social network, after all – but one in which those doodles on your notebook, or your obsession with the way ink flows from the pen, might turn into something beautiful and shareable.”

Sometimes the best kind of article is not itself outstanding, but is rather special for the whole new subset of internet to which it leads you. Read this, and I guarantee you too will happily lose hours of your day to watching people write words on bits of paper. Email to Pocket.



“Modern sexism often manifests itself in the form of innumerable little slights. Documenting them all is a monotonous task, and parrying each with an original insight or a cutting retort is an impossible one. On my best days, the dynamic challenged me to find inventive ways to illuminate old problems. On my worst, I felt like I was playing a game of feminist Mad Libs: the sexist quote and offending speaker may change, but the patriarchy remains the same. At some point, the pieces start threatening to write themselves.”

Amanda Hess, on being a recovering ladyblogger. Email to Pocket.



“Ask yourself – when was the last time a piece of internet content asked you, ‘how well do you understand your subconscious mind’ and truly meant it? In what other cultural medium can you find the deepest libidinal channels of the brain truly laid bare, with the quarterly pay-per-click revenue report to back them up? Have you lately exercised your deep-seated impulse to view an image of a weeping soft-cooked egg sitting on top of the pimple-encrusted face of Uma Thurman? What are you waiting for?”

You know those links at the bottom of some articles on the internet, inciting you to click towards something called “tattoos these morons will regret” or “the best ugly celebrity husbands” or something like that? Well, if you’ve ever wondered what those are and why they’re there, this is the piece for you. Email to Pocket.



“I also like the word langer, which I picked up while living in Cork. According to the internet, it was brought back from India by the Munster Fusiliers and refers to the langur monkey. To be a langer is to be a bit of dick, while to be langered means to be drunk, which, with its soft ‘g’, seems to possess just the right amount of kneelessness to perfectly express the state itself. Somewhat unsurprisingly, langer means penis, too.”

Interesting writers pick their favourite words. The above is from Eimear McBride, who managed both to eschew the pretention others embraced while also teaching me a new word for penis. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I first knew that The Heart was going to be a podcast I would stick with when I found myself complaining to a colleague (who had never heard of the show before and was therefore being very patient and polite with me) about how annoying it was that they only do one full-length episode a month. It’s not a hit-you-in-the-ears-god-I-must-listen-to-all-of-this-now type of thing, you see. Just like the beautiful music that they use to underscore their episodes, it builds slowly, until suddenly you’re angry that there’s still three weeks until the next one. It’s a show about sex, and love, and intimacy, and a lot of things that go along with that – but it doesn’t stereotype or simplify any one individual’s story. It’s frank without being gross, inclusive without being uncritical, women-led without being one-note or narrow. It’s a relatively young show (although I have hopes that as a member of Radiotopia it will have scope to grow) so doesn’t have a huge archive to plunder, but of the handful of episodes available I recommend starting with this story of a transwoman’s ordeal over black market plastic surgery, and this mid-month short about the secret gay stories of the American wild west.

Things to watch

No One Can Act Like Benedict Cumberbatch.

“...Vimto, tinned carrots, and spam...”

Birds on the wires.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Take that, tummy-face-dog.

The guest gif


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.