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Sitdown Sunday: A road trip with Ireland's most exciting hip hop acts

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

Image: Leon Farrell

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. Succession

A look at misogyny in the excellent series Succession.

(The Guardian, approx 6 mins reading time)

Women aren’t permitted to succeed in this world as women – only as proxies or pillars for male power. Even then, good luck getting a man to take you seriously. Shiv’s husband, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), offers cordially to hold her ageing dad’s “sceptre” while he urinates, but quails at the threat to his masculinity that taking a direct order from his wife would represent. “Of course it’s a minus,” booms Shiv’s father, Logan (Brian Cox), in season two after she wonders if her sex is an impediment to being taken seriously as his successor. “I didn’t make the fucking world.”

2. Mark Hoppus 

The Blink 182 member talks about his recent cancer treatment and how he accidentally revealed it on Instagram.

(GQ, approx 15 mins reading time)

“Throughout the day as I’m getting chemotherapy and more bags of chemicals are being dripped into my body, other people are reaching out and they’re like, ‘Dude, what’s going on?’ ” Hoppus remembered. But he could pay only intermittent attention to what he’d unleashed. “Chemo is like being on the worst international, overnight flight where you can’t sleep or get comfortable,” he told me. Later, as his wife, Skye, drove him home, Hoppus tapped out a brief statement: “For the past three months I’ve been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. I have cancer. It sucks and I’m scared, and at the same time I’m blessed with incredible doctors and family and friends to get me through this.”

3. Where is Peng Shuai?

How fans of the Chinese tennis player are getting around censorship rules to talk about her online.

(The New York Times, approx 8 mins reading time)

Mr. Chen couldn’t find anything. He searched the word “tennis,” but Ms. Peng — one of China’s most famous athletes — appeared in barely any results. With stunning efficiency, China’s censors had begun scrubbing references to her allegations from the internet. “All of a sudden, it became a forbidden topic,” Mr. Chen said. Ms. Peng is not the first celebrity in China to be almost entirely erased by censors. The country’s online propaganda machine can make just about any story — or person — vanish. 

4. Ireland’s rap scene

Dean Van Nguyen goes on a road trip to meet some of Ireland’s most exciting rap and hip hop artists.

(WePresent, approx 23 mins reading time)

Irish hip-hop can be reasonably described as thriving. Rap music didn’t begin on the island five years ago—it’s existed here in marginalized forms for most of the genre’s history. But a half-decade of artist proliferation has seen the country blossom into one of Europe’s true rap hubs. With this growth has come a compelling side effect: a sense of regionalism. Until recently, Irish rap has generally been viewed as a singular entity—not entirely surprising when you consider that the whole island has a population on par with a major American city. Now, areas are forming their own distinct sound, style, identity and methodology.

5. Mel Brooks

The iconic comedian writes about his life and career.

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(New Yorker, approx 23 mins reading time)

Gene [Wilder] and I wrote “Young Frankenstein.” Mike Gruskoff was going to be our producer, and Gene was going to star in it as the crazy Dr. Frankenstein. It was all set. We had a big, wonderful meeting at Columbia, and just as we left the meeting, before I closed the door, I said, “This is great! Goodbye! Oh, by the way, if we didn’t tell you before, it’s going to be in black-and-white.” I had an avalanche of Jews in the hall chasing us: “No black-and-white! Everything is in color! Peru just got color!” They said, “That’s going to be a dealbreaker.” Mike and Gene and I shouted back, “Then break the deal! We’re going to make it in black-and-white.”

6. Manifesting TikTok success

A very illuminating interview with an Excel TikTok star about how she’s made it big.

(The Verge, approx 35 mins reading time)

I didn’t even have a TikTok app on my phone at the time. I had so much resistance to it because my mental voice was saying, “You’re 27 years old. You cannot make a TikTok.” My gut voice was arguing, “Make the TikTok.” I ended up putting out a few videos, one per day. The fourth video hit 100,000 views. At that point, I hadn’t told anybody what I was doing besides my mother and my boyfriend. It starts getting shown to all these people I know. I’m thinking, “Oh, gosh.” By the sixth day, the CEO of an IT company reached out

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

 Virgil Abloh, the fashion designer, died aged 41 last week. Here’s a profile of him from 2019.

(The New Yorker, approx 27 mins reading time)

Before Abloh was appointed to LV, last spring, he considered a laptop his office. He is a trained architect, and likes to say that he is not a fashion designer but a “maker.” On Instagram, where he has almost four million followers, he has posted photos from the d.j. booth at Circo Loco, in Ibiza, and from his gallery show with the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, at the Gagosian in Beverly Hills. Abloh has lectured at the Rhode Island School of Design, at Columbia, and at Harvard, where the audience, inspired by his discussion of design “cheat codes,” threw dozens of shoes at the dais for him to sign.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday

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