No Complaints #117: All change, please

This looks a bit nicer, doesn't? All thanks to the wonderful Isabel Greenberg, who is responsible for the new design. I've been hinting for a while that I had more plans for this newsletter, and now it's finally time to share them with you.

I've decided to start a zine! Last year, I was interviewed for a medium piece called "email newsletters are the new zines" and I thought, hang on, I'd like to make an actual zine as well as an email that is like a zine.

Over the nearly three years I've been doing this newsletter, a lovely community has developed around it. I like choosing things for you, and I love hearing your thoughts about them. Now, I want to make something physical for you to enjoy as well. I've been an editor for a number of years; I'm confident I can make something good.

To make this happen, I've rejigged my Patreon. For just $3 a month, which is the price of the coffee I hope you'd spot me if we met up in real life, you get a second weekly email from me, with extracts from works for the zine.

It could be anything - writing of mine a bit like this or this, or an article by a guest writer, or a drawing by one of my collaborators, or a recipe I've been working on, or a series of thoughts on some books I've read, or an acrostic made of podcast episodes, or anything. And if you pledge a bit more, you'll get a monthly postcard from me too, plus - once a quarter - a physical copy of the zine itself.

How does that sound? If you'd like to get involved in this new phase, go to Patreon and pledge something. If you have any technical difficulties with it or want to use another platform, hit reply and let me know. And if you'd like to appear in the zine or have strong feelings about something we should cover, tell me about that too.

The first zine email will go out on Tuesday. See you there.

Now, back to scheduled programming.

Things to read

“It rained a lot that summer. When I think back to it now, my mind fills with water cascading from overflowing drainpipes, the sloshing of waterlogged pavements beneath my feet, and the gush of flooded drains. The pouring rain, that mixed with filth as it ran in streams along the gutters, left grimy, streaky splatters up the backs of my bare legs. My feet were often sodden, a small hole in the leather by the toe of my right shoe an inlet of watery ingress under constant assault.”

A beautiful essay about being a woman alone in London. Email to Pocket.


“Now - take a long, slow look around you. Is this the home you once envisioned for yourself? Well, maybe that's a bit deep. We are only getting started here.”

Home is a cup of tea, as drawn by the artist Candace Rose Rardon. Email to Pocket.


“The term ‘world music’ has no place – and never had a place – in the world in which we live. It might have been created with the best of intentions but it is not a representative and universal term. It segregates music. Terms such as ‘ethnic music’ are even worse. Just think about the etymology of that combination of words: ethnic music. It tells you all you need to know about what’s wrong with the term ‘world music’ and all its friends and the – probably subconscious – mentality behind it.”

This is all so bang on. Email to Pocket.


“Lanvin, Hermès, Dries van Noten, Lemaire. These are just a few of the luxury fashion houses that have continued an ancient Parisian fashion tradition: obliging guests to watch their shows while seated on a piece of furniture whose design is exquisitely uncomfortable. This antique folding chair has a seat made of five stapled slats of splintery wood and is apparently available in unlimited supply. Rows of them are lashed together with zip-ties to ensure you are intimately acquainted with your neighbours: each chair is a little over 40cm wide. The angle of the chair’s back is even worse: with a pitch of around 125°, you can recline only if you’re prepared to stare at the roof.”

The fashion world is utterly foreign to me, but I am fascinated by it all the same. Email to Pocket.


“Among the affluent classes who already ate a healthier-than-average diet, the Instagram goddesses created a new model of dietary perfection to aim for. For the rest of the population, however, it simply placed the ideal of healthy food ever further out of reach. Behind the shiny covers of the clean-eating books, there is a harsh form of economic exclusion that says that someone who can’t afford wheatgrass or spirulina can never be truly 'well'.”

Bee Wilson is one of my favourite food writers, and this careful examination of why the 'clean eating' fad is so popular is excellent. Also, who knew that avocados now outsell oranges in Britain? Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

I am completely obsessed with the Switched on Pop podcast at the moment. It examines both music and the industry behind it in a way that I find utterly compelling. Also, the most recent two episodes are about 'Despacito' and Selena Gomez's 'Bad Liar', two songs I can't stop humming but did not understand at all.

Bonus: The latest episode of Answer Me This also includes an excellent discussion of the Bieber earworm conundrum.

Things to watch

What on earth is this film, I'm so confused.
All the close ups from Mad Max.
How the sound in Dunkirk works.

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.
Also - at 4pm on the same day I'm doing a workshop entitled "How to Promote Your Podcast on Social Media". You should come - tickets are only £6.50.

Compulsory medieval thingamabob
The news right now.
The guest gif
This wolf has just been waiting down here for you the entire time.
Did you enjoy this? Hit reply and let me know, or consider supporting me on Patreon.

THE END. See you next time!