No Complaints #118: Sleuths, Scams and Sounds

No Complaints #118
25 August, 2017
Illustration by Isabel Greenberg
Enormous thanks to everyone who subscribed to the new No Complaints zine and its new regular Tuesday email on Patreon! I sent the first dispatch this week - a piece I wrote about the 1999 solar eclipse - and the postcards/physical zines are also in progress. This is a lot of fun, so thank you for making it possible.

If you're wondering what I'm on about, check out the start of last week's letter for a full explanation. And if you'd still like to sign up and get next Tuesday's email (which is going to be a digest of my favourite "back to school" novels) you can do that here.

Things to read

“How does a book with such a low Amazon ranking that’s ‘temporarily out of stock’ suddenly become the most read book in YA? How does something that has next to no organic blogging coverage or even Twitter buzz do this? If the only Twitter gossip for your book is variations of ‘Seriously, has anyone heard of this book?’ you’ve got problems.”

A gripping story of a publishing scam (make sure you read all the updates at the bottom). Email to Pocket.


“There was never a time when their relationship was wholly private, no time when they belonged only to themselves. When they were first hanging out — not quite dating yet, ‘just talking’ — Walker had an iPhone, and Taylor immediately wore out the battery taking videos and pictures. He wasn’t big into social media back then: ‘I was kind of laid-back, real reserved’. But Taylor had always loved taking pictures and video, and she had a healthy following on Instagram.”

A profile of two social media stars who are famous for their relationship. I would love to read a "ten years on" update of this piece, too. Email to Pocket.


“It is as if he floated through people's lives leaving nothing for them to recall. One teacher who spent time with him in her classroom every day says that she typically has a good memory, but she apologizes because she really can't remember anything about him. He did absolutely nothing that would trigger any attention except that he compulsively used hand sanitizer. Dylann Roof emptied bottles and bottles of the stuff into his hands, so much so that it became something of a running joke in class that Dylann could not do anything, not even go to lunch, until he had disinfected and scrubbed his hands clean. As if he were aware of some stain or some filth that others did not see.”

Magnificent is really the only word for this piece of writing. Email to Pocket.


“Wild experimentation is indeed a hallmark of Zimmer’s career. The self-taught composer’s film work is known for its outside-the-box approach to sound: Inception’s oft-mimicked foghorn 'BRAAAMS', for instance, is famously the result of Zimmer hauling a piano into the middle of a church, putting a book on its pedal and having a dozen brass players blare into it. The eerie, frenetic Bane chant from The Dark Knight Rises was crowd-sourced from 100,000 Batman fans who submitted their own voices through a website. ”

I'm not sure I'll be going to the Hans Zimmer live experience any time soon, but I enjoyed reading about it. Email to Pocket.


“Poirot is a professional, Miss Marple a professional amateur, but I have special affection for Christie’s accidental sleuths. They don’t start out with the presumption of omniscience; they struggle like the rest of us.”

A lovely little essay focusing particularly on Tommy and Tuppence (who appear first in The Secret Adversary). If you ignore the recent and quite strange David Walliams adaptation, you can get a lot of joy out of them. Email to Pocket.

Things to listen to

Millennial, a podcast I have enjoyed very much, has aired its last episode. The host's reasons for ending production - that the show was at its best when it documented her personal struggles to get a job in radio after graduating, and now she's achieved that, the format doesn't really work anymore - make sense to me. I think she's made a brave decision not to try and force more out of the product that made her name, and I'll look forward to what she does next. I will miss it Millennial, though, and if you haven't heard it yet, I highly recommend starting at the beginning.

Things to watch

A list of the films used, in order (it'll drive you mad otherwise).
That sound you can hear is me screaming.
The magical mystery chord.

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
Girls' night out.
The guest gif
Don't look round.
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THE END. See you next time!
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