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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Earl-Wilkerson via Flickr
# sitdown sunday
Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads
The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The man who volunteered for Auschwitz
David de Sola on the Polish underground activist who deliberately sent himself to the concentration camp. (Atlantic)

Pilecki’s mission was to allow himself to be arrested and, once inside Auschwitz, to collect intelligence for the Polish resistance in the country and the government-in-exile in London, and to organize a resistance from inside the camp. ”I think he knew, he realized what he was getting himself into.”

2. Death of the American hobo
Aaron Lake Smith on the men and women still riding the tracks across the US, and his own formative years hopping freight trains. (Vice)

The scenery along the tracks is completely different from that seen through the window of a speeding car—there are no gas stations, billboard advertisements, bars, sidewalks, or pedestrians. It is a world of disused lots and shadows cast from backyard floodlights, stray dogs howling, underpass bums drinking, concrete monoliths, and telephone poles engulfed by kudzu.

3. The swingers’ guide to Islam
Aubrey Belford on the hill in the centre of Java where thousands of Muslims go to sleep with strangers in the name of religion. (Global Mail)

“There used to be no water in the rooms. So if I was to have sex in one of the rooms, there’s no water, no handkerchief, so it depends on what you bring. If you bring a tissue, use a tissue,” Koentjoro recalls of the old days, before Wahyudi cuts in, cackling. “Bring a newspaper! Use a newspaper!”

4. How much money do musicians make?
Nitsuh Abebe on ‘indie-rock royalty’ Grizzly Bear – and the amount successful indie bands actually earn. (NYMag)

Droste doesn’t expect a middle-class living, but he wouldn’t mind one. “I’d like to someday own a house, and be able to have children, and be able to put them through school, in an urban environment that one enjoys living in,” says Droste. “A lot of people do it.”

5. The not-so-beautiful game
Patrick Symmes goes into the world of Argentinian football fandom – where rival fans sometimes kill each other, and crime syndicates cash in. (Outside)

The Rat Stabbers started up their brass band, for courage, and with a hard push about 2,000 of us were swept up the stairs and jammed into the visitors’ terrace. Here, penned by metal fences and more police, we were pressed shoulder-to-shoulder, immobile, for two hours, a single screaming entity heaving up and down.

6. The beauty of the airline baggage tag
Mark Vanhoenacker on how that humble sticky strip gets your bag from country to country. (Slate)

Tags must be resistant to cold, heat, sunlight, ice, oil, and especially moisture. Tags also can’t tear—and crucially, if they’re nicked, they must not tear further—as the bag lurches through mechanized airport baggage systems. And the tag must be flexible, inexpensive, and disposable.


In December 2007, Tracy Ross wrote about her abuse as a child – and the legacy that left – in an award-winning piece for Backpacker magazine. The article was later published as a memoir.

I feet itchy and sick to my stomach, like I’ve been sunburned from the inside out. My dad puffs on his cigarette, exhaling streams of smoke that hang in the frosty air. ”I know what you’re thinking,” he says. “I know what you think that was.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by >

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