Recommendations - from me, to you
What I've been reading, watching, listening to, loving, laughing at and finding levity in. Better late than never.
Happy first bank holiday weekend of the year. Big month for Abraham’s girlies!! May the Spring usher in some lightness and joy for you and your beloved!
Top three things I’ve enjoyed this month are: 1) Want to Love Your Body? Try Swimming Naked by J Wortham for the NY Times mag. This made me cry and feel possible. Deeply moved by it. 2) Mojisola Adebayo’s episode of Busy Being Black - I got 10 times smarter listening to this conversation I swear. So brilliant. 3) this video of Sally Rooney talking about her Marxist worldview and how it intersects with her writing. Includes a wonderful deconstruction of the notion of independence!
First post that’s paid only. However, figuring this out is a work in progress! I am trying to find a way to honour all of the work that goes into this but always want anyone to have access. If you don’t have the means but are keen to read, please email me and I will comp your subscription, no questions asked.
I have been known to indulge in exaggeration for effect, but I speak with complete honesty when I say this article - Want to Love Your Body? Try Swimming Naked. (subhead: Searching for myself in a nude beach in Mexico) by J(enna) Wortham for the NY Times Magazine is one of the best things I have ever read. I wept during my first reading and for quite some time afterwards. It left me feeling full of wonder, like I had been cracked open - in the best way. You KNOW you’re in for a delightful read when the opening sentences are like these; I heard about the gay beach the way I hear about all the good gay things: Through a lover, an ex-lover, my ex-lover’s new love. A warm mouth pressed against my ear on the dance floor, a dropped pin, an Instagram D.M.
Writing this brilliant, reflective, emotive, smart, able to touch your heart and simultaneously stimulate your brain has been such a huge source of inspiration for me. When I first discovered writing like this, it cemented that writing was for me. That I wanted to keep writing in the hope I could one day write something so powerful. It has also guided me in ways that transcend the page and my practice: it’s guided me in my life. Helped me become who I am, and enjoy this process of doing so. Grateful, indebted, endlessly inspired by writers like J Wortham! This should be getting so many flowers in any celebration of journalism!
FUCKING HELL THIS INTERVIEW WITH KATE BERLANT (AKA MOTHER) IS SO GOOD I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO SAY AT THIS TIME…. I LOVE HER
“I don’t feel comfortable making decisions based on fear” - I think about this brilliant profile on Michaela Coel from October last year all the time. That line in particular struck a chord with me and has helped me make some tough, but smart decisions.
Chanté Joseph on not waiting to be in a relationship to live a romantic life for Refinery 29. Deeply refreshing to read! A paradigm shift!
If something has Josh Rivers’ name attached? Honey, you can be assured it’s golden. Busy Being Black, his award-winning podcast exploring how to live in the fullness of queer Black lives, is a wonder. Each episode so full of intellect, emotion, wit and joy, it’s hard to imagine how so much can be squeezed into one episode without overwhelming. Listening to his conversation with Mojisola Adebayo, Black British performer, playwright, director, producer, workshop leader and teacher of Nigerian (Yoruba) and Danish heritage, was nothing short of sublime. From the episode description: a conversation that explores utilising performance to challenge the sanctity of whiteness, what an orgasm-seeking space odyssey tells us about the world-changing potential of queer Black pleasure, and how the reanimation of the life and story of Henrietta Lacks prompts us to consider our own genealogical and cosmic immortality.
When I said a lot of goodness can be squeezed into an episode, I wasn’t lying. Listen! Subscribe! Tell your friends! Be inspired! Feel yourself getting smarter as you listen! As an aside, I also recommend you read/listen/learn more about Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman who, without her knowledge, had her cells taken from her which went on to become some of the most important cells in medical and scientific history. They were used to create the Polio vaccine, advance Cancer research, among many other things. The book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (which they mention in the episode) by Rebecca Skloot, is the incredible story of Henrietta and her ‘immortal’ cells - which are still alive today 60 years after her death. It’s an astonishing story, that illuminates the ways racism is embedded in every part of our lives (in this case within medicine and science) as well as highlights the complicated nature of bioethics and what actually belongs to us - in a legal sense. The book focuses heavily on her family, who did not learn for until years after her death that her cells were immortal and being used globally, nor did they see any of the profits from the multi-millions that were made in the businesses launched off the back of it. They also struggled to afford their own healthcare. It is truly one of the most remarkable, shocking, heartbreaking, emotive stories I’ve ever read. There’s so much to say about this, its human consequences, the social-political and ethical issues it covers. For now, I will simply reiterate: We should know her name, and say it often.
I’m an album evangelist in the era of algo-curated playlists. Some faves I’m loving at the moment include: Desire, I Want To Turn Into You - Caroline Polachek, Raven - Kelela, Voice Notes - Yazmin Lacey, Endless Summer Vacation - Miley Cyrus and I’m still obsessed with NO THANK YOU - Little Simz.
I listened to Super Duper Love by Joss Stone the other day and I can’t stop. Immaculate vibes for spring
My March playlist (spring…honey…i (we) need you to get sprung)
I often return to this video of Sally Rooney, talking about how writing intersects with her Marxist worldview, and if the ‘Marxist novel’ is a possibility. Her explanation is brilliant and accessible, and has always stuck with me. The way she deconstructs the idea of independence cracked me open: “We all rely on each other’s labour all the time. To believe in myself as an individual or an independent person, just seems delusional. I’m not independent. Independent from what? My life is only sustained by my position within all of these networks that I belong to, whether I like it or not. That’s human life. It’s not sustainable otherwise: we all rely on each other.”
I keep saying I’m in my Samantha Jones era, and frankly, I mean it. Whilst we’re here, Sex and the City is, despite its flaws, one of the best shows that’s ever been made. Read this piece by Emily Nussbaum for the New Yorker if you agree and want to have your correct opinion validated. Also read it if you disagree I guess! I’m turning to Samantha for energetic guidance often these days.
Lauryn Hill on learning/mastership !!!!! So good.
BAFTA for this tiktok. “ELLGEEBEETEEQUE and all of that, come on!”
The way this captures how hard they’ve been laughing together. One of the best feelings in the world.
Aperol spritz season girlies.
Certified hood classic. These boys are the realest. I’m here for it. I LOV THEM
Every clip from this series is equal parts silly, funny and adorable. These angels must be protected at all costs. The random calculation was calculationing!!!!
A classic Alex McCord moment in early RHONY. “It’s not like ‘ooh hoo I’m a model’, it’s actually I’m modelling, I’m going to make money doing this and it’s going to be a business” Incredible. 12/10. No notes!
Thank you for being here, as always. It does mean so much to me. As someone who’s always loved culture, writing and interviews, it’s still surreal sometimes to me that even when I’m doing it on my own, not for a large publication, there are people who want to read my work. Your support is helping me work towards bigger goals as a writer. I don’t take it for granted!
Take it easy.
Love, David x