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Sitdown Sunday: 'Own your grey hair and be powerful'

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

Image: Shutterstock/goodluz

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 internet won’t let me forget my cancelled wedding

After Lauren Goode cancelled her wedding, she was still followed around the internet by reminders of it. 

(Wired, approx 25 mins reading time)

Two and a half years later, in early 2019, my partner and I decided to get married—surprising ourselves, maybe, as much as anyone else. He paused for an abnormally long time during a hike, long enough for me to whip out my iPhone and take a photo of him under a wind-bent cypress, just before he proposed. When we got back to our apartment, I realized the exercise-tracking app Strava had recorded it all, even the drive home. I had been too distracted to press Finish. We didn’t start calling people to share the news until the following morning, when I was on my way to the airport for another reporting trip. When I got back, we started planning a wedding.

2. Sweden’s pandemic experiment

Sweden didn’t implement lockdowns – so how has it fared?

(The New Yorker, approx 19 mins reading time)

The Swedish constitution gives government agencies extraordinary independence, so Tegnell and the public-health agency have led much of the coronavirus response, and, constitutionally, the government has little power to impose restrictions. Tegnell, who is sixty-four and tall, with round glasses, has often said that lockdowns are not supported by science and that the evidence for mask-wearing is “weak.” His stance is a startling departure from the scientific consensus, but he maintains that if other countries were led by experts rather than politicians, more nations would have policies like Sweden’s. The world has been left gawking. 

3. Own your grey hair

Women who stopped dying their hair during the pandemic talk about what it has meant for them.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

I am now living my true self. I feel liberated, free, and released. I am loving the change, the colour, and all the silver – it reminds me of the warrior woman I am. It is by far, the most empowering and wonderful thing I have ever done for myself. Society places enough pressure on women to act, look, dress, and speak a certain way. In the last year, following Covid-19, I personally feel there have been enough restrictions placed on our lives. Own your grey hair and be powerful.

4. Scott Rudin allegations

A series of serious allegations have been made about Hollywood producer Scott Rudin.

(The Hollywood Reporter, approx 13 mins reading time)

At about 4:15 p.m. — more than 10 hours into a typical Rudin day that began at 6 and never wrapped before 8 — the Oscar-winning producer was enraged that one of his assistants failed to get him a seat on a sold-out flight. In a fit of fury, he allegedly smashed an Apple computer monitor on the assistant’s hand. The screen shattered, leaving the young man bleeding and in need of immediate medical attention. One person in the office at the time described the incident as sounding like a car crash: a cacophonous collision of metal, glass and limb. The wounded assistant headed to the emergency room, and Rudin called his lawyer, according to another staffer there that Halloween afternoon. Everyone else huddled in the conference room, shaken. No one stayed until 8 p.m., with most of the staff heading over to a Times Square bar for a therapeutic drink.

5. Crosby. Stills, Nash and Young’s lost album

How CSNY fumbled a chance to make their best album.

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(Longreads, approx 21 mins reading time)

Expectations for their debut album were through the roof. Atlantic reported millions of pre-orders. But the recording process was far from smooth. Crosby was drowning in grief for his girlfriend, Christine Hinton, who’d died in a car crash. Young proved to be only an occasional presence, playing on just half the album’s tracks. Stills worked at a manic pace. Nash was driven to tears, one night, over the widespread dysfunction that threatened to derail the band, which was proving to be highly combustible as a quartet. Oh, and there was too much cocaine.

6. Net loss

Noteworthy has been doing an investigation into fishing in Ireland, and its impact on our oceans. This article reveals over 30 tonnes of threatened fish were discarded in one year, including the endangered basking shark and critically endangered skates.

(Noteworthy, approx 19 mins reading time)

Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust said that these discard figures are “absolutely shocking”. The ecologist and environmental scientist said they “highlight how flawed our system of management of the ocean is”. The common (blue) skate and white skate populations have been reduced by over 90% but “this is still happening”. Shark species are not like other fish, explained Fogarty. They can live for decades, some up to over 100 years, and have very few offspring. “When you take those species out, their numbers can’t recover [as] they can’t withstand that level of pressure.”

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

The great journalist and culture writer Sarah Hughes died this week. Here’s her article about dealing with cancer in lockdown.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

The thing about living with stage IV cancer is that it’s ever-present. You can be doing the most mundane of tasks – cooking dinner, chatting to your children or lying on the sofa reading a great book – and suddenly the unwelcome thought will pop into your mind: “Oh I have an incurable disease and one day it’s going to kill me.” These thoughts are at their strongest during situations such as the last lockdown and, now, the current one.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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