No Complaints #116: Diaries, Diets and Departures

I'm baaaack, having done battle with Airbnb and boxed up most of my possessions to move to another city. Also, I've had to move this newsletter onto a new system (we finally outgrew tinyletter, which is nice but also a bit sad) so please bear with me as I learn how to use mailkimp, sorry if it looks a bit ugly at the moment. I don't currently know why everything is sort of centred but not actually in the middle. If you do, please tell me.
Things to read

“As the ideas that sprang from the fat-acceptance movement began to trickle into the mainstream, fat people began to wonder what it might be like to put all this aside and just live their lives. Some asked themselves if they thought they could figure out a way to not want to be thin; some began to ask themselves if they actually liked the way they looked. They began to wonder if there was even a proven and effective way to become and stay thin anyway. They began to ask themselves if they should be dieting at all.”

This is an amazing piece of writing by Taffy Akner - it's partly an essay on her own weight issues and relationship with food, partly a commentary on society's attitude to women's bodies, and part an analysis of how Weight Watchers has struggled in the "clean eating" age, when dieting is taboo. Email to Pocket.


“Other people are deeply ambivalent about the whole idea. 'Patronage itself has always been an iffy thing. You know, you piss off the Medicis, you get your head chopped off. And now we get that same kind of thing in the virtual world,' says writer and recording artist Mike Errico, a critic of the platform. Errico thinks Patreon can offer a good financial deal for musicians, but he worries that making artists immediately accountable to a loyal audience could discourage them from taking risks. 'You’ve got a boss, but your boss is this cloud of fans.'.”

Now, I use Patreon, because a handful of people over the years have asked me how they can give me money for doing this newsletter and it seemed like a reasonable solution. I'm thinking about doing more with it at some point, so this dig into the pros and cons of it as a funding platform was very interesting to me. Email to Pocket.


“I pick up a handful of multicolored stones, blow on them like they’re dice, and hand them to McCann. She blows on them too and recites a blessing that’s rooted in African shamanism. Then she closes her eyes again and meditates.”

Now I've noticed in the last year or so that lots of people on the internet I admire have been talking about crystals and tarot and new agey things like that. Guess what? It's a trend someone's making money from! Email to Pocket.


“But if you subtract age from the defining characteristics of thin-skinned snowflake millennials, I am also a thin-skinned snowflake millennial, and I want to strongly recommend it as a lifestyle choice. Why? Because it keeps you away from offices, which are places where all sense of time and space evaporate and all connection to your own desires and longings, to your own humanity, to the natural rhythms of existence, steadily erode until your life feels like a shadow, haunting a dim facsimile of what a life is supposed to feel like. (Spoken like a true thin-skinned snowflake, the kind who hasn’t worked in an office for two decades!)”

Obviously, as a just-departed office worker, I found this deeply validating. Email to Pocket.


“Every five years, she started a new large-format, hardback diary, in which she wrote a page a day before starting on her serious writing. Each day she did about 500 words, so each of her 11 diaries is at least 100,000 words. It is true they are heavily domestic, but she had lied when she said they were not personal. She wrote about her own writing, how her latest novel or biography was going. In real life, she would never talk about her work, and would drop everything if the children came into her room. Until they were late teenagers, I don’t think they properly realised she had a writing career.”

This account of diary keeping gave me so many feelings, especially since the writer, Margaret Forster, died last year and her husband Hunter Davies now has to decide what to do with all the notebooks he's found. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to
Will Young - you know, off Pop Idol! - has a podcast now, and I quite like it. It's called Homo Sapiens, and as it's an interview show focused on LGBTQ issues he gets +100 points for that very obviously punning title. Indeed, I enjoyed the interviews with John Grant and Rebecca Root so much that I'm willing to forgive the fact that the show's first guest was Owen Jones.
Things to watch
How horses work.
Ava DuVernay on Roger Ebert.
Radiohead YouTube clickbait is my kind of clickbait.
Things to attend
12 September, London – Anna and I are doing another Game of Thrones quiz! The last one was honestly the most fun I've ever had reading complicated questions about made up genealogy out loud, you should buy a ticket, they're only £3.

17 September, London – My podcast SRSLY is 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
Leaving London like. . .
The guest gif
I'll go now.

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THE END. See you next time!