Category: Music

Weekend Links

Hi fam, how are we? We limber, rested, hydrated? Or we spiraling into existential dread? All are welcome in Small Dog Nation without guilt or shame.

This week’s links are not terribly light and fluffy, but are important. We’re emphasizing online culture, disinformation, and one or two nice things thrown in to surprise the palate. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments and keep safe!

Everyone who wants to understand current radicalization of all stripes NEEDS to understand the transition from meme/online culture to real life. Whether ISIS’ robust online PR operation to radical leftist anarchists on 4chan, the pathways are eerily similar.

as I was saying

again, still saying

Not unrelated: the attention economy politicians work, think, and measure success in a different way than actual politicians. Understanding this is important.

We’ve still focused on the police, don’t get it twisted. But we need to understand their culture in order to make change.

Also key: how the internet and online life is changing. Will the attention economy politicians keep up or will they be outstripped or outflanked by the meme cycle – including among their own ranks? I continue to believe that this cycle has dragged the right and left in their extremists directions more than leadership has – people are radicalizing themselves and institutions are scrambling to catch up or retain control. I also believe that the right has been more effective at allying around specific topics and staying on message than the left…but that this has in turn exacerbated the radicalization process and that they are at real risk of losing control of their wingnuts.

no shit, Sherlock.

Yep. Sure. The problem with the royal family is this pair and not…this mess. Sure.


Speaking of, “The Right Wing Myth of the Left Wing Mob,” is something that I sincerely want to send to a dozen specific people. But I’m not trying to convert anyone anymore (she reminded herself).

Meanwhile, on YouTube

Here is a nice list of book recommendations to consider!

(takes deep breath) BIRTH CONTROL IS HEALTHCARE. This week the US Supreme Court gave the double whammy of allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to workers on religious grounds, AND upheld religious organizations right to discriminatory hiring practices. I worked for an institution like this once. Never again. I had health insurance and Planned Parenthood was STILL a better option for my reproductive health.

10% of our entire population.

The Year in Albums So Far

Inspired by a chat with longtime Friend of the Blog Grace, I’m sharing what I’ve been listening to so far this year as part of my goal of listening to a new-to-me album each week of 2020. By far my best discovery is Snoh Aalegra, who also featured in my February Favorites post.

While I tend to prefer spoken word – podcasts, audiobooks, and so on – I know that music is helping a lot of my nearest and dearest right now. Check out my finds so far and then share your favorite artists and albums or newest discoveries in the comments with the rest of the coterie.

Ugh, those feels again, by Snoh Aalegra

Black Messiah, by D’Angelo

Music to Be Murdered By, by Eminem

Feels, by Snoh Aalegra

Hotspot, by Pet Shop Boys

Sanctuary, by Genghar

New Hope Club, by New Hope Club

Don’t Explain, by Snoh Aalegra

Lucky Ago, by Color Theory

La Vita Nuova, by Christine and the Queens

Foreigner, by Jordan McKampa



Weekend Links

“It’s 4:58 on Friday afternoon. Do you know where your margarita is?” Amy Neftzger Another Friday is upon us and I’ve compiled a bit batch of weekend reading to get you through the long hours until the Sunday Blues! It’s been another wild week of news and we have much to discuss. Meet me in the comments!
#FreeTheNipple goes way back! Something wickedThe joy of fall dressing is real! A thoughtful take on the future of a franchise. Super normal. Super great. “Be aware of false balance” is an editorial directive that should get behind a lot more topics and not just this one in particular. Two queens. I appreciated the conversation this sparked about how and where women’s rage is still deemed inappropriate, even among champions. Also, women supporting other women (especially in the face of absurdity and impediments) is literally the best thing in the world. This follow up piece resonated within me like a struck bell: demand the apologies you deserve. More good things to look forward to as a species. It’s not an accident that the US President and others has tried to rebrand protests against police brutality (and by extension racism, corruption or bad faith). It’s a conversation a lot of people are desperate to avoid. More allegations. Genuine question: when does Ronan Farrow sleep? [ETA later this week: Moonves and others out. Good. But my god, do NOT try and fuck with or attempt to discredit Farrow.] Just awful. This should be unacceptable and completely avoidable in a modern, advanced society. GOALS GOALS GOALS. Shut up and take my money! A thoughtful take on this next phase of #MeToo we find ourselves in. Another one bites the dust…I’m very sorry to say. Answer: no, but good question. Shock. Surprise. A lot of our preconceived notions and propaganda points about immigration are wrong and the actual facts are fascinating! A break from terrible news for this tease! This story is a good example of something that I find troubling and an example of how certain bad faith actors are incredibly good a manipulating media. It is very common for conservatives in particular to say that conservative viewpoints are censored–when what they really mean is unpopular in popular spaces like certain social media platforms. This is bad faith because it denies the reality of algorithims which cater and boost content relevant to the viewer in question–meaning that a person with a certain viewpoint is actually statistically likely to get their view reinforced with content. It is also bad faith because it fails to acknowledge the wealth, power, and influence of the conservative media machine and the fact that conservative politicians and appointees are in power at every level of state and federal government. What censorship?! The President routinely favors and calls into certain networks and platforms while vilifying others. Organizations who are led by left-leaning individuals are then pressured into appearing unbiased in favor of their own view points and, in my opinion, go out of their way to then cater to opposing view points. This is, of course, exactly what the aim of the accusations is in the first place. Again, bad faith. We have a new president…of Planned Parenthood! Absolutely fuck this noise. The number of immigrant children being detained has spiked again. Let us celebrate the anniversary of his never-ending war with Eddie. We have a contender for the “most dystopian phrase I’ve heard in a while, and boy isn’t that saying something” category from Mr. Bezos. And finally, we have another contender for the “worst thing he’s ever tweeted” category this week: ETA: your Friday news blast.

Weekend Links

“… millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.” 
― Susan Ertz

It’s springtime in London this week, meaning it’s a bit warmer while still very gray and rainy. However, the daffodils are out, and sunlight hangs around until after we typically leave work so all things considered, this is a solid improvement over late season snow storms!

It’s an extra short post for you this weekend, kittens, but an extra juicy bunch of links to make up for it. Come avoid the Sunday Scaries with me with some longform writing and pop culture conversation. The news has been wacky again this week, but I’m determined to stay chipper…if snarky.

Well this is…bloody heartbreaking

I wish I didn’t have expensive taste. But I do. And I love and covet this blazer.

I find Ann Coulter a deeply problematic person and agree with her on approximately zero issues. But this interview with the New York Times is interesting to consider as we are no about half a year away from mid-term elections, because I don’t think she’s necessarily wrong about Trump voters.

Ambassadors share their recommended reads before you visit their countries.

Objectively scary.

A great and hilarious read on the epitome of hashtag GOALS, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

This Bustle post on the modern working woman and motherhood choices doesn’t cover tons of new ground, but this passage struck me: “As women continue to ponder the question of whether or not to have kids, they know the clock is running out — and they also know that the system is not going to change before their childbearing window closes.” I don’t want to try for kids for a few years more yet, but I’ve written before of the financial pitfalls having a child in London set us up for. And I’m keenly aware that even in a country with a significantly more progressive stance on maternity leave than my own, my career is such that if I paused it for up to a year to give birth parent a baby, that is a year that I will not get back professionally speaking. It would be a lie to say I don’t think about this a lot.

What do the aid epidemic, the Mueller investigation, science fiction, and the problem of anxiety have in common? I’ve discovered this podcast and if you are interested in an amazingly intelligent conversation about The Way We Live Now, seen through the lens of culture and cultural pieces, check out the March 29th episode pronto.

And if you’re in a podcasting mood, this interview with Mark Zuckerburg at Vox is a timely one given our current cultural dialog about human attention as a product, what can or should be regulated in the information age, and what makes a business ethical. Editor Ezra Klein asks a lot of pointed and intelligent question, and whatever your opinion is of Facebook these days (I’m not too positive), it’s interesting to hear from the CEO directly rather than just via talking heads. There’s an interesting point towards the end at how Silicon Valley is essentially techno-optimist and Facebook frankly didn’t consider at the outset the dark side of the idea that “anything is possible.”

Relevant to this, is a piece over at WIRED detailing the long history of Mark Zuckerburg apologizing for the “mistakes” of his company and the author calls bullshit. “There are very few other contexts in which a person would be be allowed to make a series of decisions that have obviously enriched them while eroding the privacy and well-being of billions of people; to make basically the same apology for those decisions countless times over the space of just 14 years; and then to profess innocence, idealism, and complete independence from the obvious structural incentives that have shaped the whole process. ”

I feel a sudden, overwhelming need to own a small house donkey.

Well hey, we’ve now come full circle to Mexican rapists as threat device. This man does not have very many ideas to begin with and has exhausted them, all he has is conspiracy theories and stunts. It’s all he’s ever had.

And the Darwin award for the week goes to

This story is wild.

Well this list is certainly instructive!

Molly Ringwald wrote a very good piece for The New Yorker about questioning the media she helped to make (which was genuinely groundbreaking) and where cultural conversations about young people and young women need to go.


Daughter Concert

“For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry!”
― John Lennon

Confession time, we have not been taking appropriate advantage of London in the summer and we need to rectify this immediately. Working from home obviously contributes to the problem, as does the fact that my clients are several timezones behind me and I often have to be at least partially available during hours that most people spend frolicking. Jeff also has a lot of studying to do for the ever present reality of tests, and weekends are largely devoted to the necessary errand running that we haven’t been able to do during the week.

But it’s summer. In London. We need to be outside absorbing as much Vitamin D as humanely and safely possible because the cold, dark days will arrive much sooner than we all probably realize. To that end, we’ve started making an effort to track down as many outdoor adventures as possible, while varying up the routine a bit.

If I’m a theatre girl, Jeff is the resident music guy. When we were deciding what to do for our anniversary this year (travel being out of the budget for a while to go, alas), I picked the midnight matinee at The Globe and he wanted a concert and found a great one.

Somerset House, on the banks of the Thames, has a long history. The site has been home to a Tudor palace, a residence for members of the Royal family and their entourage, and apparently later a barracks. It was demolished and rebuilt in the neoclassical style and has moved over time to house various arts and learning societies and is a popular venue for performances. Particularly in, hey! Summertime! We first heard about the band Daughter on NPR and Jeff snapped up tickets as soon as he found out they were going to be performing.
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Not bad, venue.
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Drinks boys circulated the crowd with these signs and easy-to-spot flags that I probably found entirely too funny, but that I clearly had to document.
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No makeup and summer allergies, but pretty happy to be here!

The opening act was D.D Dumbo, an Australian artist who builds his songs while you listen (see more here, thanks again to NPR’s music reporting).

 photo daughter4_zps4bac89fa.jpg

A disproportionate amount of my music is tragic or vengeful, the blues feature heavily, so make of that what you will. Daughter makes music that is gorgeously sad and depressing, and the lead singer Elena Tonra has a perfectly haunting voice so she’s right up my street. The band is still learning how to tour and their stage presence could use some work, but the music is the slow, quiet kind that gets its claws into you.

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Just as pretty in the dark. Hopefully there can be more concerts in our future, as this has only been my third ever. My second, incidentally, was my first date with Jeff, so things are working out pretty well so far.

Sing, Choirs of Angels!

“Christmas is more than a time of carols, cards and candy; it is a season of dedication and decision.”
– William Arthur Ward

If you were to open my Christmas Music folder in iTunes, a quick scroll downward would tell you something else about my holiday tastes: apart from being a “purist” I’m also a traditionalist.

You won’t find Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Let it Snow, or White Christmas.

What you will find is The Cambridge Singers, Hereford Cathedral Choir, and a smattering of various monastery choirs.

You will hear Good King Wenceslas, The Cherry Tree Carol, Adeste Fideles, quite a bit of Handel, Angels We Have Heard on High, Quem Pastores Laudevere, and my very favorite The Sussex Carol.

Mum and used to sing Fum Fum Fum, while baking Christmas treats.  The whole clan, if in a silly mood, could try the Hallelujah Chorus, blissfully murdering time and tune.

Like so many other good things, though, even Christmas songs can’t be taken too seriously.  Because, traditionalist I may be, but dour faced pillar of tradition I am not!

If A Equals B, and B Equals C, Then A Equals Muffin

“Fastidious taste makes enjoyment a struggle.”
– Mason Cooley

The science of Recommendations seems, to me, to be very imprecise.

Pandora, set to my station of summery, party, of-no-artistic-value-whatsoever music, was feeding me a lively stream of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and other culturally reprehensible choices.  And then suddenly, out of no where, an unmistakable disco beat.  And then, “Ah, ah ah, ah, stayin’ alive!  Stayin’ alive!”  Who ordered the Bee Gees?

Then later on, Small Dog’s personal crack, I was casually leafing through their recommendations for me.  They defy logic.  Wondering what had possessed it to recommend Conan the Barbarian I clicked on it to see why.  Answer: because I once ordered  Planet Earth.