The fiction equivalent of Martin Luther’s 95 theses arrived in the form of B. R. Meyers’ A Reader’s Manifesto and caused a long-overdue stir. It was an odd direction from which to launch a broadside: an associate professor of at a South Korean university with a well-worn passport is not the typical source of literary whistleblowing. Any fans of contemporary fiction should, however, have a look—while you may find yourself with qualms regarding some individual points, the brunt of his essay is undeniable: we tend to be lazy readers, and fail to question the books we consume as long as they have the Great Author stamp on them. Dwight Macdonald, one of American literature’s fiercest critics, would have approved of Meyers’ apostasy.
From this great tradition emerges today’s condemnation of music journalism. Tremble in your boots, friends. But really—it’s hilarious:
Infectiously upbeat — Another stock pairing; possibly revealing in that it implies that ‘music reviewers’ think of happiness as some sort of idiot germ to be transmitted in moments of low critical resistance. Presumably, critics would think sex is ‘infectiously upbeat’ as well, if they ever had any.
Jaunty handclaps — As opposed to what? Sombre handclaps? “As the credits rolled on the three-hour documentary exhaustively detailing the horrors of the Russian pogroms, songwriters Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn were inspired to add the jaunty handclaps that provided bubblegum pop smash ‘Mickey’ with the magic needed to make it a number one smash.”
Hip hop is going from strength to strength, but this time the east coast steps up its game. DyMe-A-DuZiN released a mixtape mid-January; the beats within leave something to be desired, but his lyrical technique is noteworthy. Today a remix has surfaced, and with the new backing track, the song has the backbone to support both DaD’s lyrics, as well as rhymes by Flatbush Zombies and The Underachievers newly featured on the track.
Word has it the track will appear on Peter Rosenberg’s upcoming mixtape.
Australia Day means two things to young Australians:
-drinking excessive amount of Carlton Draught, XXXX, or Tooheys (VB, which still happens to be amongst the most consumed brews, is by far the least enjoyable beverage of the bunch; it’s generally consumed by those with a penchant for mullets, utes, and southern cross tattoos) whilst draped in an Australian flag and having a BBQ.
-Triple J’s Hottest 100. This is a compendium of the past year’s top songs as voted by over 1.25 million Aussies, organized by “formerly hipster, but now mainstream, so really, kind of passé” radio station Triple J.
The whole affair is a hot, boozy, musical mess, which degenerates into a drunken debate on the merits of song placement, and waxing nostalgic about how the public—oh stupid, incompetent public—was much more astute in 1997 when the Whitlams’ “No Aphrodisiac” hit #1.
This year’s list, the first to regrettably omit any Aussie talent from the top 3, is below.
Check out the remainder of the countdown here for dozens more of the year’s best tracks.
At the beginning of January, I read an exceptional piece by a young writer named Nathan Heller. The prose is languid, yet holds a firm, steady rhythm; the thought behind it sharp and perceptive. I would include an excerpt, but it would not do it justice—read this piece immediately.
Last year, I began a series on the supreme inanity one finds in Complex Magazine’s online lists. Perhaps others are aware of how ludicrous their coverage is—I, however, having read their Macklemore and Earl Sweatshirt pieces, was oblivious to the poop rainbow that their online coverage spouts.
Today, I point you towards their Awesome Shoes to Buy Right Now post. Intrigued by the alluring title, you click the link. ‘This really does sound awesome,’ you think, heart aflutter with trepidation over the site’s contents. The older amongst you watch the hourglass begin to rotate as Internet Explorer lags, while the youth experience a flash of fear as the apple pinwheel of death begins to spin. You narrow your eyes. ‘Blast this computer, blast this bandwidth restriction, and blast the internet!’ you exclaim, unleashing a series of furious clicks. And then, after what seemed like an interminable wait, glory glory hallelujah HAIL MARY JESUS, it appears! Only to read the following:
The Perfect Non-Sneaker, Non-Dress Shoe Moccasin
Moccasins are how really cool guys kick it up a notch. They are cool, understated, and comfortable. They look good with or without socks, and come in a hundred different versions. Basically, they’re the perfect in-between option when you don’t want to wear sneakers and don’t want to wear dress shoes. Say bye to boat shoes and pick up a moc.
A puzzled look begins to creep across your countenance, illuminated by the deathly glow of the complex.com website. One eyebrow slowly migrates north, while the other sidles up to the bridge of your nose. This must be the sentiment that American country music singer Deana Carter channeled when she named her debut album Did I shave My Legs for This?
You shake the doubt from your face and smile. Deana Carter had it rough, what with a beer-guzzling TV aficionado of a cowboy to sate her needs. This is Complex magazine! Once more unto the breach!
And then you come across the following:
A Casual Designer Sneaker Over a Loud and Flashy One
You should invest in at least one pair of designer sneakers, and these Masion Martin Margielas are a good choice. There’s a reason why cool celebrities all have a pair. The sneakers are a modern play on a vintage basketball silhouette and look so much cleaner than the shiny, spiky, studded designer sneakers that tacky dudes wear.
Cool celebrities? Tacky dudes? Where is this authorly Jimmy Neutron, this boy genius, who set proverbial pen to paper? What the hell is going on? Has Complex magazine completed its transition from the Music category to sit alongside Elle and Cosmo (word up to the advice section: “Complex has DEF helped me score like, at least 12 vapid honeys”). Perhaps many years from now, Complex and I will look back at this and laugh the laugh of old friends who have let bygones be bygones, and leave their quarrels on the shuffleboard (or on the petanque court, if we’ve done especially well for ourselves and happen to reside in a French retirement home). Until then…
“Yeah I was really lucky! I got a room in the village for only $1000 a month. It was the perfect location. The only downside was that it was in between another bedroom and a bathroom, so one of my roommates would have to walk through it.”
—You mean it was a hallway?
—Well, I mean, yeah, but…
Complaining about NYC’s real estate prices is the New Yorker’s equivalent of Montrealers’ perennial gripes about the city’s endless winter.
Recently, Bloomberg has sought to boost the number of affordable apartments, and the sole way to do this is go smaller—shockingly so, in fact, ranging between 270 and 350 square feet. The city’s competition to design the most efficient use of minimal space (read: coolest tiny apartment), announced yesterday, includes “9-foot-high ceilings, large windows, lofts and Juliet balconies.” The latter seem wholly useless, but look ridiculously homey.
There’s something intuitively appealing about this sort of space: small, minimally obstructive, and wholly useable, kind of like a real-estate version of a Swiss Army knife. Perhaps it’s just an obsession people pick up when travelling, consistently having to make choices based on both design, aesthetics, space, and functionality—I know that this sort of road-worthiness is something I’ve thoroughly embraced.
The coolest apartment I’ve recently seen belongs to treehugger.com founder Graham Hill. It’s 350 square feet of multipurpose space; Optimus Prime designed with minimalist Bauhaus aesthetic. Watch the video below, and get ready to drool at the efficiency.