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Etcetera #32: Bánh Mì, Insignificance, R.E.M.

Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane
Hello. I stayed up late last night watching Peter Jackson’s Get Back documentary and I must say that it’s a real treat for Beatles obsessives. The story we’ve been told up to now is totally false. This wasn’t a period of unremitting misery; the band are whimsical, friendly, tentative, cautious of each others’ creativity. The Beatles broke up because they were a forward-looking band that had nowhere else to go, not because they hated each other, and it’s amazing to see that play out so intimately.
See you next time.

Notable Sandwiches #7: Bánh Mì
Jim O'Rourke's 'Insignificance' Turns 20
Michael Stipe on the Music That Made Him
Etc.
  • Bee Wilson on how certain flavours can become more popular than the real foods they are based on. (Think pumpkin spice, for example.)
  • Emily Cataneo reviews Lisa T. Sarasohn’s book How Vermin Helped Shape the Modern World.
  • Recent topics in this newsletter have included subtitling of foreign language films and capitalism’s strong desire to pay people peanuts then pretend no-one wants a job. Here’s an article by Miranda Bryant that covers both aspects.
  • The late-‘90s swing revival sure was money, baby!
  • The global biodiversity crisis naturally means different things at the local level. Some areas are actually doing well, others are catastrophic. Yet perhaps we aren’t asking the right questions to understand it fully, or maybe the data is being used to tell the wrong story. Gayathri Vaidyanathan explains.
  • I was really pleased to read Miranda Reinert’s take on Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, an album that I unconditionally adore. (I remain unmoved by anything Justin Vernon has released since.) I saw him play back in mid-2008, shortly after the album’s release, and I would say that it is the most spiritual I have felt at a gig—there was a real sense that we were watching something special, that we were all discovering it at the same time, and it remains one of my favourite live music memories.
  • A piece by Tom Williams on Matthew Le Tissier’s transformation from mercurial footballer to cosmic right wing thinker.
  • The geometry of grief.
Videos
Watch Greg Cannon’s AI play NES Tetris to breaking point. As well as the way it places the pieces, this is interesting for the odd things that happen along the way, such as glitched colour schemes in later levels, audio degradation, and the use of game sprites to stand in for numbers when it runs out of space to display the score:
AI BREAKS NES TETRIS! - 102 MILLION and level 237
AI BREAKS NES TETRIS! - 102 MILLION and level 237
On the consequences of London’s super-rich residents building basement swimming pools, cinemas and wine cellars. I didn’t expect Gianluca Vialli to pop up in this, but there you go:
The architecture trend dividing London's elites
The architecture trend dividing London's elites
A look at Bauhaus’s ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’. This video asks you to sync it with the song, and the approach works pretty well:
The Reggae Song that Accidentally Invented Goth Rock
The Reggae Song that Accidentally Invented Goth Rock
I’m getting into the Christmas spirit. It helps having a 4-year-old. I’ll leave you with my favourite festive song, Ed Harcourt’s version of ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’:
Ed Harcourt's In The Bleak Midwinter
Ed Harcourt's In The Bleak Midwinter
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Matthew Culnane
Matthew Culnane @coldbrain

Interesting & in-depth articles on lots of topics with added context & further reading from my archives.

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