No Complaints #68: Watches, Water and Wedding Videos

Well, here we are again, eh? It seems trite to say it, but a lot has happened since I was last typing into this box: a British MP was brutally murdered, my country decided to nosedive out of the EU, I got a new job... Welcome to everyone who signed up during my hiatus, and a head’s up that you can find back issues of the newsletter for searching/sharing purposes on its website. Any questions, hit reply and let them pour fourth. Old hands – you know the drill.

Things to read

“I hate it. I hate it with the futile, frustrated passion of anyone who hates an approaching trend and knows, without a doubt, that it will swamp them. I hate the glitchiness of the game, the server crashes and GPS errors that plagued my brief hours with it. I hate the reheated, commercial nostalgia of the whole Pokémon shtick. I hate the lack of mission, the nonexistent narrative, the intended aimlessness of the game: ‘What is the point?’ I demanded, to Jason, who offered only ‘to catch them all’. Lame.”

I, too, instinctively hate Pokémon Go. I can’t tell if this is because the rest of the world (apart from the author of this piece) really likes it and keeps posting screengrabs on Twitter, or because of proper reasons that are not yet totally clear to me. Email to Pocket.

+ Related: 
a good read on how with Ingress, the forerunner of PG, Niantic Labs accidentally made a woman-friendly game.


“She’ll stick around for a few months because you been together a long, long time. Because you’ve gone through so much together – her father’s death, your tenure madness, her bar exam (passed on the third attempt). And because love, real love, is not so easily shed. Over a tortured six-month period you fly together to the D.R., to Mexico (for the funeral of a friend), to New Zealand. You walk the beach where they filmed The Piano, something she’s always wanted to do, and now, in penitent desperation, you give it to her. She is immensely sad on that beach and she walks up and down the shining sand alone, her bare feet in the freezing water, and when you try to hug her she says, Don’t. She stares at the rocks jutting out of the water, the wind carrying her hair straight back. On the ride out to the hotel, up through those wild steeps, you pick up a pair of hitchhikers, a couple so giddy with love that you almost throw them out of the car. She says nothing. Later, in the hotel, she cries.”

In times of trouble, I like to turn to Junot Diaz. Email to Pocket.


“I meet Craig David on a Monday, but there’s no offer of a drink on Tuesday. He may have promised as much on 2000 single ‘7 Days’, one of a string of hits that polished the UK garage sound into a winning chart formula, but he’s a busy guy these days. Too busy for week-long dating sprees, sadly. When I first see the British artist in a conference room at Sony’s offices the 35-year-old is sorting through boxes of promotional headphones, but stops and greets me with a lottery-winner smile. He’s wearing black jeans and a plain white T over his famously gym-built physique. On his wrist is a watch that doesn’t tell the time, it just says ‘now’.”

What on earth is Craig David thinking with that watch, and other questions. Email to Pocket.


“Why, we might ask, all the owls? They seem very nearly frivolous afterthoughts, working as they do in the dark places, windows, tree branches, and margins of the paintings. In addition to their marginalised presence in so many of the works, they convey a touch of sensitivity, intimacy, and humour – as though their tiny presence somehow supervised the goings-on in the paintings.”

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering why Hieronymus Bosch liked owls so much. I certainly have. Email to Pocket.


“Despite these gaps in our knowledge, strong scientific evidence has demonstrated that the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs do diminish over time. Countless women, who delayed child-bearing for whatever reason, have experienced anguish upon discovering that they cannot conceive. To this extent, the anxieties of the clock watchers were well-founded. But most of the vast body of writing about them fails to mention another, crucial fact: male fertility declines with age too.”

Equality means we should start saying “tick tock!” to men too. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

While I’ve been off on my work-slump/holiday, I’ve been taking a break from podcasts. This was partly due to being extraordinarily busy, but partly also because the new job I’ve taken on includes a remit for developing a few existing shows and possibly launching some new ones and I wanted to think about that without being too influenced/overawed by others’ output.

I did, however, remember that I had a dormant Audible subscription, and have used up all the credits on the Harry Potter audiobooks. There were a few years when my little sister couldn’t sleep without Stephen Fry telling her about Ron, Hermione and the rest (she actually wore out some of the cassettes) and so our house always seemed to be full of centaurs and sparks and pumpkin juice. I have re-read the odd book here and there over the years, but I’ve never done a proper start-to-finish canon reappraisal of HP before, and a few new things have come to light for me (which I may expand on at a later date if anyone is interested).


Things to watch

I finally watched Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wedding video.

Melissa McCarthy, eh.

Cameron’s lament. (Explanation here.)


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

I said, stop tickling me.

(If you are new to the newsletter, yes I do include one of these every week, and no, I don't have a particularly good reason why.)

The guest gif

Britain right 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.