No Complaints #112: Snails, Skipping and a Stitch Up

I made a big change this week - yesterday was my last day at the magazine that I've worked for full-time for the last five years. I'll still be making podcasts for them, but I'll be a freelancer with (I hope) lots of other projects on the go too. I'm also writing a book. It wasn't really goodbye, but it was still hard to say goodbye to the people I've shared an office with every day for so long.

I'm also thinking of making some changes to this newsletter, to build it out beyond just a list of links and clips to share some more substantial writing, both by me and those I admire (any thoughts on this appreciated, hit reply and tell me who you'd like to hear from! Basically, I want to start my own zine). I'll have more details on this in a few weeks, but if you'd like to be involved in the meantime, the best thing you can do is head over to my Patreon - in exchange for a few dollars a month, I send you extra article and podcast recommendations. Thanks for reading this far!

Things to read

“Despite my support of active wellness, I loathe the self-care-industrial complex, which has invented countless problems to make women hate ourselves so that we buy more argan oil. Still, it’s hard to feel bad for the women who have been conned into buying the quackery and Moon Juice that Goop peddles.”

I've enjoyed various takes about Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop conference (don't judge me, this is how I relax), but this was my favourite. Email to Pocket.

+Related: The author, Claire Carusillo, also writes one of my top five favourite newsletters of all time and you can sign up for it here.


“Whatever it sounds like in The Paris Review, writers don’t lie around in open fields all day. Writers dig tunnels through mountains of gravel, using their bare hands. And sometimes the gravel gives them a bad rash, and they cry and then call their friends and say, 'I’ll bet that fucking button-eyed fucker never gets a rash, ever.'.”

An excellent Ask Polly column about professional envy, particularly for writers. Email to Pocket.


Nothing cheered me up this week like reading the @LRBbookshop Twitter account’s theory that the Griffin Poetry Prize is a stitch up perpetrated by people linked (however tangentially) to gentle ITV detective drama Midsomer Murders. Email to Pocket.


“It can all be traced back to a series of small, inadvertent errors. At the same time, Daly’s scrambled legacy reflects a century and a half of systematic gender discrimination in the art world. 'Even contemporary galleries have a hard time giving equal representation to female artists and artists of color. It’s still mainly a white male industry,”'Matthie said.”

The story of how a woman's art was misattributed to a man with a similar name, and then how the mistake was rectified. Email to Pocket.


“So what is lectureporn? It is the media spectacle of a lecture whose audience is the opponent of the lecture’s intended target. Jon Stewart, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow (again, friend of Roger Ailes), Aaron Sorkin, and a whole host of others have built their careers on this form. Lectureporn pulls off an amazing trick: it simultaneously delivers both elements of narcissistic supply. You sit and watch someone ingratiate themselves to you while they eviscerate someone you don’t like who is, in turn, unlikely to watch said lecture. ”

A provocative but somewhat persuasive piece about the confirmation bias problem of things like The Newsroom and Last Week Tonight. (I still like The Newsroom though but I do know that it's a fake liberal fantasy about a kind of journalism that isn't real.) Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I'm just going to put a big old plug here, and you can't stop me. We've just published the 100th episode of our podcast, SRSLY, and it's a bumper Harry Potter special that involved lots of my wonderful colleagues and even includes a dramatic fanfiction reading. Please have a listen, we had a great time making it.


Things to watch

How samurai swords are made.

Cinematic New York.

Bears, swimming.


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

Snails on a mission.

Thank you very much to the people who responded to my “wtf did all the knights hate snails?” question last week. I was sent several informative articles about it – read this one and this one. But ultimately, nobody really knows:

“Other scholars have variously described the ‘knight v snail’ motif as a representation of the struggles of the poor against an oppressive aristocracy, a straightforward statement of the snail’s troublesome reputation as a garden pest, a commentary on social climbers, or even as a saucy symbol of female sexuality.” 

The guest gif

Me, skipping into my new work life like a happy Voldemort.

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!