No Complaints #77: Work, Workers and Wimsey

This time next week, I will be in Liverpool and we will be about to find out who the new leader of the Labour Party is (spoiler, it's the same one they currently have) and then maybe, finally, the wittering will stop.

Things to read

“‘I see your wearing my old lucky suit,’ he says with a confident familiarity that you know you'll never have. The kind of voice which to everyone else will sound like it's being friendly but, to you, sounds like a man who knows your partner's going to be thinking about them tonight. You'll know it too. As you drive home after dinner, in the silence between your conversation, they'll be thinking briefly about what it would be like if someone else was in the car. Someone who'll find somewhere quiet to park rather than waiting for the usual perfunctory performance in bed. Someone in a new and no doubt luckier suit.”

Do you think you’re better than the BBC? Play this text adventure game and see if you can stop the Great British Bake Off being sold to Channel 4. Email to Pocket.


“Inside Google Maps, there’s a past, but not all the past. There’s a future, but not all the future. There’s no present to speak of; no matter how recent the image, it will never be now. And yet the gaps heal themselves, and hide themselves. If you’re looking in New York, San Francisco, London, even Berlin where it will always be 2008, you are likely to find your destination. If its past is patchy, if its present is lost, will you notice? Will you care?”

An essay about accessing the different layers of time present in Google Maps. Email to Pocket.


“With fewer reasons to stay in one job, workers began to explore a wider variety of options. For some, these options included turning a hobby into a business. Young people turned to what they loved, what they were good at, with an entrepreneurial mindset angled toward self-employment. It’s why we have so many artisan lollipops and food trucks.”

Is it a good thing when your hobby becomes your job? Whatever happened to “leisure”, eh. Email to Pocket.


“The movie is funnier than it needs to be – I laughed out loud several times at the screening I went to, and I was reminded just how good Zellweger is at physical comedy in particular. Still, I was left with the nagging feeling that – like Bridget at the beginning of the movie – the romantic comedy, as a genre, is also in a stage of arrested development.”

How we outgrew Bridget Jones, and perhaps the romantic comedy itself. Email to Pocket.


“In the era of athleisure, time is more ambiguous. When the workday starts or ends, and where work happens, have become less clear. At the same time, selfhood has become an entrepreneurial project, a question of optimizing different activities. The ideal worker in this new regime is female. It is not just that women are more experienced with the kinds of service work and image and emotional work that have largely replaced manual and factory labor in the developed world. It is that women are more accustomed to balancing multiple kinds of demands.”

What wearing pyjamas as dayware says about the global economy and the role of women in the workplace (no really, come back, it's fascinating). Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I have a twofold recommendation here this week: words and music.

For music, you can't do better than this mammoth Spotify playlist of 1200 years of music by women composers. So many gems on there that deserve to be better known, and it's a great riposte to anyone who tells you "I mostly listen to classical music, and there aren't any women who write that, so it's not my fault that everything I like is by a man".

For words: Have His Carcase, a classic Lord Peter-Harriet Vane mystery is back on the BBC radio app! I got to write the radio column in the New Statesman this week, and I went on about how great it is.


Things to watch


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Put down your swords, Sirs. I am undefeatable.

The guest gif

Lisa Simpson is here and it's going to be OK.

If you have a suggestion for something I should look at, hit reply to this email or talk to me on Twitter.

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THE END. See you next time!