No Complaints #65: Seals, Speeches and Slack

Good morning/afternoon/evening! I am in New York this week, so I have no idea what time it is. I’ve mostly been hanging out in places like this, though, which has been very nice indeed.

Things to read

“As a concept it is steeped in intellectual and cultural superiority used to dismiss the early Middle Ages as a period of ‘intellectual darkness’ before the Renaissance. In fact, we know far more about late Anglo-Saxon England than we do about Roman Britain. The phrase feeds into a romanticised view of the period: lost to the mists of time, savage and lawless. But that could not be further from the truth. We might not have the overwhelming wealth of materials of later periods but enough survives to see the extent of their intellectual and cultural development. Pre-Conquest England was not without law, culture and politics.”

Down with the Dark Ages! I blame Edward Gibbon. Email to Pocket.


Kommt, Seelen, dieser Tag
Come, seals, this day

Wie bist du, Seele
How are you, seal?

Nun lob mein Seel den Herren
Don’t throw that herring to my seal.”

Titles of Bach chorales translated by a child with limited German. Related: I am currently rehearsing a newly-composed and very serious choral piece that has lyrics about herring and seals. You should come and hear it! Email to Pocket.


“Curious minds may wonder why I was prompted to start something as important as NCT. It was due to a horribly mismanaged birth and the loss of my precious baby girl. Having mourned deeply, I suddenly came to life and realised that someone had to do something, and so I did.”

A short history of the NCT, including how it came to some of its signature childbirth ideas like including dads/partners in the whole process. Email to Pocket.


“I miss weddings more than I miss school discos, teenage raves or practically any other night out of my youth. Truly, there is nothing more enjoyable, more uniquely heart swelling than seeing two people declare their love before a congregation of daytime drinkers who would never normally find themselves in the same room. I love every part – prayers and hymns I don’t believe in, terrible speeches downloaded off, Robbie Williams songs I’d never listen to under any other circumstance, bridesmaid dresses that I – and, more’s to the point, they – wouldn’t otherwise be seen dead in. I just love the pomp, ceremony and undiluted goodwill in the room, the pure and hopeful glee directed at two people in love. ”

I do not like weddings. If you know me in real life, you will know exactly why and how much I don’t like weddings, because I need no prompting at all to share all my feelings on this subject at great length. But this summer I’m going to several, so I’m determined to stop being the nuptial-grinch and try to appreciate what people love about them. Email to Pocket.


“So maybe law enforcement just hasn’t noticed Slack exists yet. Or maybe the kind of crime being facilitated on Slack — because, realistically, someone has to have used one of the most popular organization tools on the market to organise a crime by now — isn’t drawing significant law enforcement attention.”

No one organises any crime on Slack, apparently. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

Not By Accident is a really excellent documentary podcast series about one woman’s choice to become a single mother. She recorded almost every significant moment in the years running up to and then following her pregnancy (if you’ve ever wanted to know what an artificial insemination sounds like, this is your chance) and now she’s woven it together into a delightful audio experience.

We recommended it on the latest episode of my very own podcast, and talked at some length about what we liked about it. (It’s quite a podcasty episode, actually, as we also talk about previous NC rec The West Wing Weekly.)


Things to watch

Drunk parrots.

Walking across the moon.

How to build a barn.


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

I just don't see how there's a problem here.


The guest gif

My host this week informs me this bit needs to be "American", so...


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.