Filtered for storytelling

19.52, Sunday 14 Dec 2014


Cracking profile of Billy Joel in the New Yorker from October, Thirty-three hit wonder.

Long. Full of good word nuggets.

The saxophone is the radiocarbon.

I seem to be reading a lot of New Yorker articles recently. My current magazine subscriptions are The Economist and the London Review of Books which is max capacity. Maybe time to change it up.


There’s a new place in Shoreditch that only sells breakfast cereal. It’s called Cereal Killer Cafe. There’s a portrait of Hannibal Lector made out of Cheerios on the wall.

Rob Manuel visited, expecting to hate it, and didn’t. Lovely story, good luck to them.


I’ve been totally immersed this weekend in the iPhone game A Dark Room – minimalist, just text and tapping, and what a picture it paints.

Don’t read any reviews, just play it with no preconceptions. Absolutely top fucking notch, best game I’ve played all year.

Once you have played, here’s the development blog.

Also on my iPhone:

  • Workflow which lets you link together actions (“take a photo”, “make a GIF”, “tweet it”) and create custom, automated workflows that you can run from the home screen or wherever there’s a Share button. Official site. The app has tons of examples.
  • Pocket Storm plays a thunderstorm from crickets to deluge to fading out again, you choose how long it lasts from 5 minutes to an hour. Different each time.


Very excited – Adam Curtis has a new film out in January: Bitter Lake.

Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events. But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis - leaving us bewildered and disorientated. And journalism - that used to tell a grand, unfurling narrative - now also just relays disjointed and often wildly contradictory fragments of information.

Here’s the trailer. (Down at the bottom of the blog post.) So good.

Curtis’ style is distinctive – a collage of archive footage and music with CAPS stamped over it, and the essay in his own voice. This new film is about the stories that politicians tell - and Afghanistan and all the usual politics - but also looks like it’ll be about journalism and his own technique:

It tells a big story about why the stories we are told today have stopped making sense. But it is also an experiment in a new way of reporting the world. To do this I’ve used techniques that you wouldn’t normally associate with TV journalism. My aim is to make something more emotional and involving - so it reconnects and feels more real.

Looking forward to this enormously.

Curtis’ The Century of the Self (2002) is on Vimeo – part 1 here.


I recently finished The Art of Captaincy by Mike Brearley. Brearley was England cricket captain in the late 1970s, and one of the most successful in recent decades. Then later, President of the British Psychoanalytical Society. The book is exactly as excellent as you can imagine – and has a tendency to illustrate points with detailed anecdotes about moisture on the wicket and fielding positions.

And also The Cyberiad by Stanislav Lem, funny short stories about robots who invent weird things in a galactic civilisation of robots. Here’s how it opens: One day Trurl the constructor put together a machine that could create anything starting with How the World Was Saved.

More posts tagged:
Follow-up posts: