No Complaints #111: Montage, Marriage and Mossad

Lots of good things this week! Where else could you find some Zadie Smith AND something about butterfly copulation, eh?

Things to read

“So then Naomi Watts goes to the treehouse to kill Hank from Breaking Bad at a great distance with a sniper rifle, because she listened to a 90-minute tape from her dead son and now she's in the Mossad. The plan is that she will do a little yoo-hoo whistle into one walkie-talkie, and the other walkie-talkie will be right at the spot on the bridge where Hank needs to stand so he can be shot. Hank is in his study, and he hears a faint yoo-hoo whistle off in the distance, so of course he goes right out to investigate, with his handgun. (Rifle fire: not worth checking out. A whistle in the middle of the woods, which is presumably full of birds: investigate at once.) Naomi Watts aims. Henry is still in her earbuds, giving her motivational messages. But then she slips and activates one of Henry's Rube Goldberg things, which ends up lowering a bunch of Polaroids of Henry from the ceiling. And she looks at those pictures, really looks at them, and it hits her: ‘I can't do this. Henry, you're a child.’ So then she runs back to her car, with her sniper rifle in her hands, and this is fine with everyone.”

Sometimes, I really love a furious review of a bad film, and this one of inexplicable child-genius drama The Book of Henry did not disappoint. Email to Pocket.


“Yu, a gentle-looking man in his early forties, with the placid demeanor of a yoga instructor, works as a mistress dispeller, a job that barely existed a decade ago but is becoming common in major Chinese cities. His clients are women who hope to preserve their marriages by fending off what is known in Chinese as a xiao san, or ‘Little Third’ – a term that encompasses everything from a partner in a casual affair to a long-term ‘kept woman’.”

Mistress dispelling is becoming big business in China – fascinating story. Email to Pocket.


“Peele has found a concrete metaphor for the ultimate unspoken fear: that to be oppressed is not so much to be hated as obscenely loved. Disgust and passion are intertwined. Our antipathies are simultaneously a record of our desires, our sublimated wishes, our deepest envies. The capacity to give birth or to make food from one’s body; perceived intellectual, physical, or sexual superiority; perceived intimacy with the natural world, animals, and plants; perceived self-sufficiency in a faith or in a community. There are few qualities in others that we cannot transform into a form of fear and loathing in ourselves.”

Zadie Smith writing about Get Out. Need I say more? Email to Pocket.


“It can take a while to get into your stride, but walking soon becomes natural – the knack is to treat your stick like an extra leg, rather like this scene from Delicatessen, albeit without maracas. It is also teaching me a lot about people. My walking stick is a visible declaration that I am weaker than others, which occasionally makes me feel vulnerable – but I also enjoy quiet fantasies of being a cyborg with an additional metal leg.”

What it’s like to get used to needing a walking stick. Email to Pocket.


“A cabbage white’s ejaculate is very different from a human’s. Rather than a blob of white gunk, it’s a complex solid package called a spermatophore, which consists of a hard outer shell, soft nutritious innards, and a ball of sperm at the base. The male deposits this into a pouch within the female reproductive tract called the bursa copulatrix. Once inside, the sperm swim off into a second pouch – the female will later use these to fertilise her eggs.”

I will never look at a cabbage white butterfly the same way again. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

Sometimes, scrolling through the categories of the BBC Radio iPlayer app in order of how likely they are to contain programmes worth listening to*, you come across an unlikely gem. And so it was the other night, when I found a repeated edition of The Verb, which contained an in-depth interview with the recently-deceased author Helen Dunmore. She reads some of her poems, and talks about why she's obsessed with the sea, and explains how she arranged her bookshelves. It's wonderful.

*For those who are interested, it goes Drama>Crime; Drama>Classic & Period; Factual>Life Stories and then everything else mostly at random until you get to Comedy>Impressionists, which is the worst category of all and mostly just contains old episodes of Dead Ringers.


Things to watch

Nelson’s column is very tall.

Chokers: they were a thing long before the nineties.

The Soviet Theory of Montage.

Things to attend

This is where I put details of upcoming IRL things I’m doing:

9 July, London – The next SRSLY pop culture quiz is all about Game of Thrones, and is already sold out. HOWEVER, there is a waiting list you can join here and if there's enough demand we'll add another date.

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.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Take that, snail.

(Please can someone explain to me why everyone in the past hated snails.)


The guest gif

This cat is worried for you.

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

If you like the newsletter or its website and want me to keep doing it, maybe think about giving me some money.

THE END. See you next time!