Issue №48 | 15 June 2020 | ‘No Glory in the West’
Issue №48 | 15 June 2020 | ‘No Glory in the West’
Hello friends. Welcome back. We’ve missed you. How have you been spending your time this last week? Have you made any discoveries? We were very pleased to see that in this week’s Sunday Times Bestseller list, anti-racist books have dominated, with Reni Eddo-Lodge and Bernardine Evaristo becoming the first black women in UK history to reach the №1 spot on the non-fiction and fiction charts respectively.
The fact that we are only just seeing black women in this position is proof of inequality within the publishing industry, but it’s pleasing to see that people are putting money where their mouths are and educating themselves on these issues. We’re learning right along with you.
There have been so many ‘reading lists’ to do with the Black Lives Matter movement floating around online recently (good examples here, here and here), so instead of adding to it, we’re dedicating this week’s ‘Read’ section to the articles we’ve found to be particularly helpful. With all the — excuse the pun — white noise on the internet at the moment, sometimes great journalism by writers of colour can get missed. Alex and Freya
What Freya has been up to this week: Started discovering the poetry of Dylan Thomas, which feels particularly poignant at the moment with its connection to nature and the human experience. Watched the beautiful Only You on Netflix that broke me in half like a tonne of bricks.
Amol Rajan is now back from paternity leave and has taken on the reins of The Media Show once again. We’re #thrilled to have him back.
On this week’s episode, Rajan speaks to journalists about how newspapers and media outlets decide what gets reported. After last week’s controversy of the sudden extensive coverage of Madeline McCann — a white child who went missing 13 years ago — displaced the coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests, Rajan explores why this happens and whether the critics were right in declaring this to be evidence of systemic racism within the British media.
After all, with so many other children having gone missing in the years since, why has the Madeline McCann story always garnered so much press attention? It’s an essential listen for anyone who consumes any news — ever, which hopefully makes all of us. Freya
After banging on about this project (and neglecting my relationship with Freya) for the last few weeks I’m really proud to share a new lockdown cover and video from my barbershop quartet, The Ashatones!
However, we’re also painfully aware that we’re four white men singing a medley of tunes by an iconic black female artist in the midst of the worst racial tensions we’ve seen in our generation.
We’ve therefore made the song available to download for a donation of your choice via our bandcamp page, with all proceeds going to the Chineke! Foundation, whose work aims to champion change and diversity in classical music, an industry that is whiter than Donald Trump’s make-up-less face. Ask Freya about it — she has a lot of thoughts.
If you like it, share it far and wide and give us a follow on our social channels. If you really like it, support a great cause by owning a copy of our best arrangement yet. Alex
A couple of articles…
If there’s one person whose work you should be following in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, it’s Bristol-based historian David Olusoga. I have it on good authority that his programme A House Through Time, which tells the story of a house in Bristol throughout its life, is utterly brilliant. It’s on this week’s TV list.
In this piece for The Guardian, Olusoga looks back on his arrival in Bristol in the 90s, when he was reassured over the phone by an estate agent — who didn’t know he was black — that he didn’t want to live in St Paul’s, because it was ‘where all the blacks live’.
Olusoga explains how Bristol remains a segregated city, with deep-seated racism at the heart of the city and its politics. Freya
There are a few articles published recently that have been real food for thought and made me regret how I responded in the immediate aftermath of the protests. This is one of them.
Priska Neely has noticed a trend of her and her friends of colour receiving texts from their white friends ‘checking in to see if they’re ok’. The answer is no, no they’re not. White people can do more than vapidly sending messages out of the blue, and all should be finding more concrete ways to help.
‘If you’re trying to be an ally, then ask yourself some questions before you do this’, writes Neely. ‘What assumptions am I making? What burden am I putting on this friend I care about? Would I normally ask this question? Did I, say, wish this person a happy birthday? What would I do if they really aren’t?’
I would recommend any white person read Neely’s article. With all the noise online about supporting your black counterparts, this is a perspective I think we all need to listen to. Freya
An online film series…
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the state of the world — and who can blame you — perhaps what you really need is filmmaker Taika Waititi, comedian Mindy Kaling, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and the bloomin’ Duchess of Cornwall read you Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.
It’s more addictive than you care to imagine. Plus, you get the bonus of seeing into all their homes. Anna Wintour’s dogs are worth sticking around for. Freya
Dates for your diary
A round-up of upcoming virtual events to do from home…
London Fashion Week is taking place online this week, with talks,
Author and podcaster Elizabeth Day talks to Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half, on Waterstones’s IGTV. The Vanishing Half has taken the world by storm since its release, telling the story of twin sisters whose lives take very different paths, as one is able to pass as white.
6.30pm: Gender*uck: Media art beyond and between concepts of gender
A conversation between artists who look at gender through the lens of photography, beauty tutorials, algorithms and media. Tickets free.
7pm: Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild with author Lucy Jones
An exploration of humans’s relationship with nature and why we need it to survive. Tickets free.
6pm: Society of Young Publishers’ Career Cafe for Junior Publishers
Freya tries to not make this section too #journo and #publishing heavy, but this event sounds too good to miss. Tickets here.
Cribs of the Week
This house — with its superbly manicured gardens — is light, bright and spaceship-like, with stunning lines. With those big, beautiful windows, this is a house you’d want to hang out in, come rain or shine.
This is just about our dream house. Within walking distance of Bermondsey Street, our favourite road in London (proof here), the apartment is perfectly positioned and in a stunning old renovated building. We love its open-plan setup, with lots of individual nooks to break up the space.
You can catch a glimpse from one side of the building straight through to the city views the other side, with this glass pavilion dividing the two buildings making up this sleek LA home. The highlights of black steel frames and wooden cabinets throughout round it out nicely.
Now we’re spending so much time at home, why not make your pouffes as glamorous as this?! It’s got Freya’s name all over it.
Alex is slowly getting into memory foam pillows. This is high up on the shopping list.
Odds and Ends
Bernardine Evaristo’s Booker-winning Girl, Woman, Other has been released as an audio series on the BBC. You’re welcome.