No Complaints #46: Kevlar, Kingfishers and Kindness

Almost there, everybody. Almost there.

Things to read

“She stopped me every 20 minutes to ask how I was feeling. ‘Like a bald Britney brandishing an umbrella’ meant nothing to her. I tried again. She adjusted her Rothko suicide scarf and told me, ‘Vomit is not an emotion’.”

Sometimes, you just can’t beat a Buzzfeed headline: Why A Double Funeral On Your Birthday Is The Best Party You’ll Ever Have. Email to Pocket.


“In 1998, Kwolek was asked in an interview about her status as a legendary female inventor. She humbly said, ‘It really hasn't made any difference for me except that it's made me more busy. Sometimes I feel sort of embarrassed by the whole thing.’ Kwolek's esteemed invention is our inheritance.”

The woman who invented Kevlar has died. She sounds amazing. Email to Pocket.



For six long years, Mr McFadyen returned a few times a week, averaging 100 days a year, to photograph the kingfishers as they dived into the lake. He clocked up more than 4,200 hours and took around 720,000 photos before he got the perfect shot of the kingfisher doing a flawless dive into the water, without even a splash.”

This man’s quest to take the perfect photograph of a bird is the most zen thing I’ve ever heard of. Email to Pocket.



“The friends who have never met each other before are therefore herded into a silent flat. By the time the seating plan fiasco has happened, and the guests have realised that they’re doomed to spend a night spooning cheese onto crisps and doing what is essentially indoor topiary with the chives, someone suggests that we might have some music on.

It’s very audible, seeing as there’s no other sound. The table hisses in agreement.”

This is what happens if you host a Christmas party following all of Nigella’s rules. Email to Pocket.



“‘Why no John Stuart Mill, and the proposal for the extension of the franchise to women?’ asks Harris. ‘In some ways I would have thought he’d be a much more interesting character to focus on [than Marx] if you open out a gendered perspective on political discontent.’”

Who knew? When a historian plays a historical videogame, she’s going to find problems... Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

The response to the impromptu “Women Make Podcasts Too” section I did last week has been very vocal – lots of you liked it and want it to become a regular thing, and many more sent me suggestions for things I can include. I’ve been madly busy this week (mostly podcasting, as it happens, we’ve got some excellent SRSLY specials coming out in the next couple of weeks and you should subscribe now to avoid disappointment later), but I’m going to give everything you’ve sent me so far a proper listen and you can expect WMPT to become a regular in your newsletter very shortly. I’ll also try and work out a better system for doing submissions in future.

Meanwhile, listen to Stephanie Cole reading Diana Athill’s essays about being old and wonderful and clever.


Things to watch

A history of women's useless pockets.

"I shouldn't say my tattoo, I should live it."

Through a glass, sadly.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Mr Tumnus gets theological.

The guest gif

That’s it, you can go now.

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.