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Dublin: 16°C Tuesday 16 August 2022

Sitdown Sunday: Who benefitted from London's Olympics 2012 developments?

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: Shutterstock/Padmayogini

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. Winona Forever

An interview with the iconic actress Winona Ryder in her 50th year.

(Harper’s Bazaar, 11 mins reading time)

The one subject Winona Ryder doesn’t want to talk about is Winona Ryder. Every time I bring up some aspect of her career, she says a few words and then diverts to some other artist or actor or writer she loves. This seems less like a self-protective defense than a genuine interest in a wide range of people and things. When we finally land on the high-pressure zones of her career, Ryder becomes quieter. “Being talked about, being reviewed … realizing that someone could pause you, could rewind you? It was so overwhelming,” she says.

2. How swamps could help with climate change

Annie Proulx writes about the magic of swamps.

(New Yorker, approx 26 mins reading time)

Many people vaguely understand that wetlands cleanse the earth. In fact, they are carbon sinks that absorb CO2, and they are unparalleled in filtering out human waste, material from rotten carcasses, chemicals, and other pollutants. They recharge underground aquifers and sustain regional water resources, buffering the excesses of drought and flood. In aggregate, the watery parts of the earth stabilize its climate.

3. ‘Post-Roe’ babies

Who will care for the babies in Texas who were born because their mother or parent wasn’t allowed have a termination?

(New York Times, 10 mins reading time)

She said she had never sought an abortion before. But the prospect of raising four young children on her own, and of giving birth alone, filled T. with desperation. She agonized about the needs of her three children, and about sacrifices. “If I do this, I will make sure they’re always good, are always taken care of,” she said she recalled thinking. “It was a very difficult decision, but I felt like it was a smart one for me.”

4. Stranger Things

An interview with the Duffer brothers, the creators of Stranger Things (the final two episodes of the penultimate season dropped on Friday).

(The New York Times, 10 mins reading time)

 They finish each other’s sentences. They switch roles seamlessly, communicate without words. At times, they can seem to share a brain — “that weird telepathic relationship,” as Winona Ryder, a star of the series, described it — because they rarely seem to disagree, at least not vocally. When they write, they do it facing each other and in a shared Google Doc. To me, this seems insane. M. Night Shyamalan, an early mentor and collaborator, affectionately described the phenomenon as like watching a “two-headed creative monster.”

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5. Olympics

Oliver Wainright asks: who benefitted in London from the ‘orgy of development’ for the 2012 Olympics?

(The Guardian, approx 28 mins reading time)

When London won the bid in July 2005, its backers billed it as a groundbreaking moment. Previous Olympics had done so much damage to host cities, leaving behind useless venues, unleashing property speculation and social displacement. But London’s bid was different. It vowed to be “a model for social inclusion”. Its legacy would be “the regeneration of the area for the direct benefit of everyone that lives there”. Sebastian Coe, chair of London’s organising committee, promised that the regeneration of the area in and around the Olympic park would produce 30,000-40,000 new homes, “much of which will be ‘affordable housing’ available to key workers such as nurses or teachers”.

6. Sample culture

Dublin DJ Kate Butler writes about Beyonce’s latest single, which samples Robyn S, and how it relates to the long history of sampling Black women’s voices.

(Kate Marcella, approx 7 mins reading time)

Loleatta Holloway famously described how a dance hit produced by three men in Italy — Danielle Davoli, Valerio Semplici, Mirko Limoni — Black Box’s Ride on Time, topped the charts for six weeks in 1989, and that, “I sat there and watched the television every day and saw this girl pantomime my song and get credit for it.”


This 2021 story is about two babies switched at birth in Newfoundland. 

(The Atavist, approx 20 mins reading time)

According to Longreads: Although two children grew up in the wrong families, they were both surrounded by love, living just a bay apart in a homely place where towns are called Heart’s Desire, Leading Tickles, and Dildo. It is this small community that made the story possible, with the children meeting as adults and eventually uncovering the truth about their births. “Such an encounter could only happen in a place like Newfoundland,” Jones writes, “where your neighbors and the wider community, precisely because it’s never that wide, are often intimately familiar; where it’s possible to look at someone and know who their kin are.” 

Note: The Journal generally selects stories that are not paywalled, but some might not be accessible if you have exceeded your free article limit on the site in question.


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