Friday ramble: haircuts, telemarketing and city pop

I’m trying something new today! Recently this blog has felt a bit like work – I was hoping to get a post out once a week, but it’s not always easy to come up with an idea that I can churn out 1000+ words about. Also I’ve really been enjoying Nicole Cliffe’s newsletter recently, and I like how she touches on lots of topics, and it made me want to try something like that. Hopefully this will mean I can just write for fun instead of slaving over a lengthy and self-obsessed essay about my tween years which I later decide not to publish because it’s incredibly unflattering.

So. Friday ramble! Go!

I got a haircut

A few weeks ago, I went from shoulder-length hair to a pixie cut. Every time I get a haircut that isn’t just a trim, I go through the same predictable cycle, regardless of the level of quality or anticipation. At first I think I’ve made a huge mistake and freak out. Then I begrudgingly accept, but do not believe, compliments. After about two weeks, I decide it’s the best haircut ever and I’m never changing it.

It has been funny seeing reactions to the haircut. I’ve had multiple women tell me I’m brave, and multiple men joke that they couldn’t recognise me – but none of the reverse. I’m not sure what conclusions to draw from this.

I don’t think cutting my hair short is particularly brave – I’ve had it this length before, and it took literally years of internal dithering to actually cut it off again – but I am glad I did it. If you want to cut your hair off, you should cut your hair off.

Currently reading

I am about two-thirds of the way through The Children’s Book by A. S. Byatt. It took a while for the book to click for me – the writing can feel relentlessly descriptive, sometimes at the expense of getting on with the plot. But I’m now at the point in the novel where horrible bombshells are being dropped one after the other, and so I spend all day wishing I could crawl back into bed and read more. Also the narrative is now in about 1904, and I can just feel the First World War bearing down on these characters like a freight train.

The book has so many characters that Byatt apparently had to keep track of them in a spreadsheet. I recently read a Eurogamer article about how Stuart Turton used spreadsheets to plan out The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (one of my favourite books I’ve read this year, by the way) and this reminded me of that. Spreadsheets: underrated as a writing tool? I’m not sure I could write a novel, but I think I could start with a spreadsheet.

A new favourite film?

I watched Sorry to Bother You a few weekends ago and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The film is ostensibly about our down-on-his luck hero (Lakeith Stanfield) getting a job as a telemarketer and discovering he can reach professional success by affecting a “White Voice” (David Cross), but there’s a lot more happening on top of that. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve seen in ages – it is awesomely weird, very original and so, so funny. I don’t think it’s included in any UK streaming services yet (we paid to rent it) but it’s definitely worth checking out if you can.

Can’t tell me nothing

The best thing I’ve seen this week was Lil Nas X surprising an elementary school with a live performance of “Old Town Road”. These kids really, really love “Old Town Road”.

I went through a similar process with “Old Town Road” to my haircuts – at first I thought it was rubbish, and then I begrudgingly admitted it might have some appeal, and then I became obsessed and had to listen to it about 20 times a day. (I’ve calmed down a bit now.)

Also listening

I have been enjoying this playlist of Japanese city pop from the eighties:

Like a lot of people, my first exposure to city pop was Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love” randomly popping up in my YouTube suggestions. That song isn’t in here, but it’s fun to explore the genre.

That’s all

Have a good weekend! I will be eating pizza and watching The Football.

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