Things to read
“When watching all of Rihanna’s videos together, a familiar artistic thread becomes apparent: mirrors, thrones, lone dance sequences, nudity, and revenge fantasies are common tropes. It becomes unquestionable, over the course of 38 videos, that Rihanna is the author of her own image. And yet, her critics continue to undermine this agency.”
—A very detailed, interesting exploration of the visual tropes in Rihanna’s music.
*“I will have three whole weeks alone in my flat. It hasn’t happened since Live-in-Lover moved in. I have a scratchy feeling of excitement in my head as I anticipate the next 21 days. Is this true? There must be sadness at the break-up; am I telling myself lies? No. The sadness is there, all right, but in a different compartment from the excitement. I put both on hold until the clearing out is done.”
—Jenny Diski died this week. I will miss her.
“I read the Sally Lockhart mysteries (of which The Ruby in the Smoke is the first), like so many others I am sure, in a post Dark Materials haze. In the years that followed, I returned many times to Lyra’s Oxford, but Sally’s London didn’t get much of a second look-in. After being reminded of it earlier this year, I am happy to report that it is well worth rediscovering in adulthood. All it took was one reread in a (very) long bath, and I’m right back in.”
—I want some of this fruitcake.
“North American grey squirrels first entered Britain as pets for the upper classes in the Victorian era, but it wasn’t until 1876 that they escaped their cages. The story goes that Thomas Unett Brocklehurst, master of Henbury Hall in Cheshire and world traveler, brought a pair of grey squirrels to this tiny island because he thought they’d look nice gamboling around on his estate.”
—How the Great Squirrel Battle of Britain began.