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Sitdown Sunday: Listening to vinyl got me through lockdown

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

Image: Shutterstock/Nattapol Meechart

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 fall of Armie Hammer

A look at the controversial film star and his controversial family. 

(Vanity Fair, approx 32 mins reading time)

Several weeks later, however, Hammer found himself in a darker crisis. Amid the turmoil of divorce proceedings, several women took to social media to accuse the actor of emotional abuse, manipulation, and violence. The scandal ballooned as screengrabs circulated that seemed to show the actor describing sexual fantasies involving rape and cannibalism. Hammer stepped away from two high-profile projects, a rom-com with Jennifer Lopez and a Paramount series about the making of The Godfather. Shortly after, his agency, WME, dropped him.

2. Careful how you go

An in-depth look at how films like Promising Young Woman and Pieces of a Woman deal with trauma and revenge in women’s lives.

(Letterbox, approx 26 mins reading time)

The conversations reminded me that the answers are endlessly complex. The concerns over spoilers, the effectiveness of trigger warnings, the myriad ways in which art is crafted from trauma, and the fundamental question of whose stories these are to tell. These questions were valid decades ago, they will be for decades to come, and they feel especially urgent now, since a number of recent tales helmed by female and non-binary filmmakers depict violence and trauma involving women’s bodies in fearless, often challenging ways.

3. Brexit Witness Archive

This site has set up a page where you can read in-depth interviews with public and political figures in Britain about Brexit – like the MP Jess Phillips, and the former speaker, John Bercow.

(UK In A Changing Europe)

I remember Gavin Barwell, who is a great man, came in as Chief of Staff. I said to him fairly early on, ‘Of course, we’ve got this stuff about no deal is better than a bad deal, but this Parliament is never going to allow a no deal.’ And I said, ‘By the way, I think, if anything, the majority of this Parliament if for a customs union.’ So we were clear fairly early on that parliamentary arithmetic had changed profoundly, so had the politics.

4. Being alone has been a relief 

Irish author Naoise Dolan on being autistic and how this has contributed to her coronavirus experience.

(The Guardian, approx mins reading time)

I haven’t socialised with anyone in six months and it is entirely my fault. I live in London and have friends within walking distance. There are many more elsewhere who I owe a Zoom. Dozens of people have messaged and I’ve been too anxious to reply; I just hope they’re thinking that I’m doing my best. As a result of my own decisions, I have not said a word aloud to someone who is not my colleague, family member or flatmate since September. And I’ve thrown up on the latter, so he’s basically family, too.

5. Vinyl got me through lockdown

Anna Doble on how listening to her 300-strong vinyl record collection has helped her through lockdown.

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(BBC, approx 14 mins reading time)

It’s dark, there’s condensation on the windscreen and we’re listening as The Bends crackles in the tape slot of my friend Yorkie’s pale blue Mini Cooper. The light beams pick out the drizzle and we flick ash from the windows. Well, Yorkie does: a proper teenage chain smoker who – yes! – plays guitar and always wears Vans. She’s into Nirvana, I’m into Blur. We both love Radiohead. It’s 1996 and we spend many nights driving around country lanes with nowhere to go but quite sure where we don’t want to go: sticky-floored pubs awash with older men trying to snog us.

6. The poet

As a teenager, Ruth is branded in a horrific attack. Years later, anonymous phone calls come from a man who threatens to spread the news about the incident if she doesn’t pay him money. (Content note – contains descriptions of violence and sexual assault.)

(Truly Adventurous, approx 40 mins reading time)

Local media remained riveted by Ruth’s case, and on the Fourth of July the story broke nationally with a detailed — and remarkably accurate — story in the National Enquirer titled, “She’s Living a Nightmare: The Victim of a Crazed Tormentor” that included an interview with Captain Hill. Apparently Ruth’s story needed no exaggeration to enthrall the Enquirer’s regular readership. 

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

This 2012 story is about a bowling player who ‘came so lose to perfection that it almost killed him’.

(D Magazine, approx 20 mins reading time)

His teammates aren’t interested in talking about what he can do to make his strikes more solid, though, or even tonight’s mildly competitive league game. They’re still discussing a night two years ago. They mention it every week, without fail. In fact, all you have to do is say the words “That Night” and everyone at the Plano Super Bowl knows what you’re talking about. They also refer to it as “The Incident” or “That Incredible Series.” It’s the only time anyone can remember a local recreational bowler making the sports section of the Dallas Morning News. One man, an opponent of Fong’s that evening, calls it “the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in a bowling alley.” 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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