No Complaints #90: Fawkes, Frosty and Friends

Hey look, I sent a newsletter on a Friday for once! 

Thank you to everyone who replied to my plea last week for end of year suggestions. The consensus seems to be a regular edition this week, some kind of 2016 round up next week, and then who knows? Maybe I will have a week off.

Things to read

“Sandy Fawkes, who died on December 26 aged 75, was found as a baby in the Grand Union Canal and later narrowly escaped death at the hands of a serial killer; she seemed a fixture in the public houses of Soho, but found time to follow careers as a journalist and author.”

What a start to an obituary. Email to Pocket.


“‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ – freezing temperatures are optimal circumstances for holding the object of your desire captive in your home. ‘Frosty the Snowman’ – no amount of magic can prevent your dearly beloved friends from dying.”

What you should learn from popular Christmas songs. Email to Pocket.


“One of the most recent, and most comprehensive, mathematical analyses of human-vampire interaction came in the form of ‘Mathematical Models of Interactions between Species: Peaceful Co-existence of Vampires and Humans Based on the Models Derived from Fiction Literature and Films’, published in Applied Mathematical Sciences in 2013. Drawing on a wide range of pop-cultural depictions, authors Wadim Strielkowski, Evgeny Lisin, and Emily Welkins defined and analyzed three models of vampire-human co-existence.”

Who knew that mathematicians have spent so much time modelling the effects of a vampire apocalypse on the human population of Earth. Email to Pocket.


“In that light, what has happened to like is that it has morphed into a modal marker – actually, one that functions as a protean indicator of the human mind at work in conversation. There are actually two modal marker likes – that is, to be fluent in modern American English is to have subconsciously internalised not one but two instances of grammar involving like. ”

Funny story: a man once edited a segment of my podcast that he felt contained too many instance of the word “like” and sent the audio file back to us along with his complaint. If only that man had done some more reading about language evolution. Email to Pocket.


“Oh, very well, if you must know, Little Lilibet was a compulsive obsessive, Margaret Rose was a screaming creative talent who was crushed by the demands of respectability and the mauve mother and father floated around in some other ether, incapable of making decisions on behalf of their children. And what of old Queen Mary, who wore gloves when toasting muffins on the fire with a silver toasting-fork, because she never allowed food to touch her bare hands? They are the modern royals in the making, and much as Crawfie paints sunshine over the canvas, the clouds are discernible.”

Jenny Diski reviews a memoir by Marion Crawford, nanny to the Queen and Princess Margaret. Excellent accompaniment to The Crown on Netflix, which I am watching at the moment. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I wrote about podcasts that break down a TV show episode by episode in my column this week, and I have been gorging myself on these ever since. My personal top five are:

1. The West Wing Weekly.

2. Best of Friends.

3. Storywonk – both the Dusted and The Scot and the Sassenach strands.

4. Navigating the Newsroom (I really like Aaron Sorkin shows, OK?)

5. Gilmore Guys.


Things to watch

I think Bruno Mars might be the most adorable human alive.

Here he is as a tiny Elvis.

Honestly, listen to him cover Michael Jackson.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Good thing I brought my cauldron AND my sword today!


The guest gif

Have a good weekend!


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THE END. See you next time!