No Complaints #31: Rosemary, Rebecca and the Russian Condition

This week I overanalysed Arnold Schwarzenegger, wrote about how much I love the Proms, and am now in Suffolk chasing the last bar of phone signal in the county across the fields. For work.

Things to read

“Transported to our time, Rebecca wouldn't be a Cool Girl. Not exactly. She's too lustrous and slinky for that, commanding rather than self-deprecating, more Angelina than JLaw. Rebecca’s underwear would never be Hanes Her Way briefs (comfy! cottony! possibly period stained!); it'd be pristine silk bra-and-pantie sets all the way, and somehow she'd manage it so the lace of her bra never lumped up under her slip of a shirt. She’d have done something amazing overseas a few years ago, maybe involving orphans. Or sculpture. She'd have played a tough, obscure sport in college. She’d drink lakes of Scotch but never get drunk and maudlin and have to lie in bed the next morning feeling embarrassed. Standing next to her at a party you’d know yourself as some horrible botched attempt at womanhood, an Igor in a dress.”

I loved this piece on how Daphne Du Maurier created the bluepring for Gone Girl in Rebecca, not least for the fascinating biographical bits about the author's family. Email to Pocket.



“Rosemary has been linked to memory for hundreds of years. Ophelia in Hamlet says to her brother Laertes: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." But that's no kind of basis for a study. She had after all gone insane after the death of her father and was to kill herself shortly after this scene.”

Damn Ophelia and her lack of scientific method. Now some academics are trying to work out if she was onto something. Email to Pocket.



“This means that roads surveyed as far back as the 1790s remain present in the landscape as legal rights of way—with the effect that, even if you cannot see this ancient road cutting across your property, it nonetheless persists, undercutting your claims to private ownership (the public, after all, has the right to use the road) and making it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain title insurance.”

Unearthing the lost highways of Vermont. Includes lovely photos of ledgers (I love a good ledger). Email to Pocket.



“On Sunday, someone changed the profile and cover photos to the Taco Bell logo, updated the account’s job to Customer Service Representative, and started messaging people complaining to Taco Bell on Facebook, pretending to be a social media manager for the company. At least one person fell for it.”

What happens when you give your Facebook password to the whole internet? Weird stuff, obviously. Email to Pocket.



“It’s unfortunate that some of Russian’s most interesting words are also its most depressing. Toska (тоска) is melancholy, anguish, boredom, ennui, yearning, and nostalgia in two short syllables: it’s the pits. Toska makes the cut because although it has multiple possible translations, there is no one English word that manages to convey this sense of pining, misery, and gut-wrenching sorrow. In Russian literature and philosophy, toska is a loaded noun that is often used to describe the Russian condition – although if you’re planning an extended trip to Yakutsk, you’re perhaps more likely to use it in the phrase toska po rodine (тоска по родине), or homesickness.”

Are there any untranslatable words? If there are, they are probably in Russian. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

Nocturne is a pleasing podcast that attempts to find out what happens at night - that simple, really. It does some great audio collage of night-sounds, as well as interviews with night-workers, night-owls, night-skies... I also really like how at the end of every episode host Vanessa Lowe explains that it's "Nocturne with an e".

Things to watch

You look disgusting.

You don't own me.

Slavery in two minutes.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

If you say "I was just trying to get ahead" I will nut you.

The guest gif

I don't know what the fish are complaining about.

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.