No Complaints #108: Bronte, Books and Baby B

I have the day off work today, and I'm using it to swim in a pond and not think about the election. Oh, and send this, of course. Reply and tell me your political calm-down techniques, if you have them - I think I'm going to need them in the next seven days.

Things to read

“This may seem an unnecessarily deep philosophical hole to fall into at the question of where to shelve a roman à clef, but it is the essence of a slippery slope, and one easy to start down while staring at a wall of mystery books at 9 pm on a Sunday night with not a soul in the store, wondering what constitutes a mystery per se, and whether we ought to be shelving Gillian Flynn next to Tana French, and what about Patricia Highsmith? This is the bedrock of reason beginning to crack.”

An essay on the philosophical implications of shelving books. Email to Pocket.


“From winding rock paths on the Quiraing to East London bushes, from roman hillside forts to woodland dingles, from scrappy tufts of marram grass on northern sand dunes to rocky southern outcrops, I have pissed all over some of the greatest landscape this set of islands has to offer. Not in the leery, lairy, out-on-the-piss, down-the-side-of-a-biffa-bin way that ruins most city centres on a bank holiday, of course. I mean the sort of bracing, al fresco, grass-against-your-soft-bits wee that becomes essential if you’re spending more than about six hours outdoors. ”

I'm not sure I'm confident enough to enjoy the bracing pleasure here extolled of weeing out of doors, but I like reading about the author's bold attitude to the whole experience. Email to Pocket.


“Fat acceptance was indeed born during the same era as second-wave feminism; today, body positivity and pop feminism exist as the significantly less radical, more widespread versions of their predecessors. As these ideals have deviated further from their origins, becoming more watered-down and commercialized, they’ve also become inextricably linked.”

Part summary, part opinion piece on the feminist discourse around weight loss. Pair with this episode of This American Life entitled "Tell Me I'm Fat". Email to Pocket.


“For all the many celebrities who harp on about self-improvement and remembering how to be humble, Wood strikes you as someone who has just got on with it by working hard and having a good old go at understanding who she is. Intrinsic to this understanding seems to be her embracing of Quakerhood. 'Well, a quaker meeting involves sitting in silence,' she explains, 'which actually, is just lovely. And then, if anyone is moved to speak, they speak. But that doesn't happen often. It's a wonderful thing.'”

An archive interview with Victoria Wood by Pete Paphides. Email to Pocket.


“In the wish-fulfilling world of Jane Eyre, the equivalence of human souls promises to nullify the power imbalances of gender, money, and class. Brontë, of course, had no such luck, yet by insistently maintaining an authorial persona distinct from, if inevitably linked to, her “real” identity, she staked her right—forcefully, defiantly, furiously—to a scrap of utopian equality.”

Why Charlotte Brontë was angry. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

Invisibilia is back with a new series! They've kicked off with a two-parter about emotions - what they are, how our body produces them, the different things they make us do - but the show's return has also prompted me to go back to some favourites from the previous two series: "The New Norm"; "How to Become Batman"; "The Problem with the Solution"; and "Outside In". (The NPR website makes it frustratingly hard to link to individual episodes (sort that out, please!) but if you go to the main show page and scroll, you'll find them all.)


Things to watch

Beautiful little film.


Things to attend

This is where I put details of upcoming IRL things I’m doing. Which, this summer, is mostly live podcast events! Here all the details:

9 July, London – The next SRSLY pop culture quiz is all about Game of Thrones. It's at The Book Club in Shoreditch, and costs the highly bargainous price of £3 a head. Tickets go on sale here at midday on 7 June.

5 August, London – Anna and I are doing our first ever live SRSLY episode at the ShoutOut Festival - an event dedicated to the celebration and discovery of diverse podcasts. Buy a ticket for the whole day, and see us as well as lots of other great shows like Another Round and Mostly Lit.

17 September, London – We're also part of the line-up for the 2017 London Podcast Festival at King's Place. Tickets for our show are already on sale, and I know because he tweeted me that at least one person has bought one so far, so hurry and get yours before they're all gone.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Smell you later, suckers.

The guest gif

No gif this week because bad cafe wifi wouldn't let me upload one. Back next week!

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THE END. See you next time!