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Sitdown Sunday: The dream jobs that were actually nightmares

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

Image: Shutterstock

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. Nightmare jobs

They seemed like dream jobs – but they were actually nightmares.

(The Guardian, approx 13 mins reading time)

“There was an element of ‘a million girls would kill for your job’,” says Rebecca, in her early 30s, who spent six years working in the fashion industry in a variety of design assistant roles before leaving it for good in 2017. She tells me she had to clean up after her boss’s dog during her time at one fashion brand. “There was a little bottle of spray and kitchen roll especially for the job. I’m not easily grossed out but it was disgusting and happened all the time. I was constantly checking the office for little ‘accidents’.”

2. An oral history of ATP

ATP was an excellent music festival that aimed to be the dream for bands and punters. And for the most part, it was. So how did it all go sour?

(Vice, approx 25 mins reading time)

One time The Fall turned up and, for their rider, took ten cases of beer, six bottles of wine and all the champagne. They cleaned us out. They put it all in their chalet to have a party. I get this call that they’re side of stage, and Mark E Smith is kicking off because there’s no rider. I explained they’d already had it, but they were refusing to play without one. So we took the skeleton key and broke into The Fall’s chalet and took their own booze and brought it to them. After the show, I hear this message on the radio: “It’s the Fall, they’ve been robbed!” 

3. Just asking questions

A fairly niche but interesting profile of Eric Alper, whose tweets frequently do the rounds – and are sometimes criticised. 

(Billboard, approx 20 mins reading time)

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, Alper repeats prompts. Yes, some people find this annoying. (One guy even set up a parody account to predict Alper’s tweets from “one day in the future.”) Alper doesn’t care. “I’m not asking the same question a couple times a year because I’m looking to go viral,” he says. “I’m looking to find all those new people that started following me, who’ve never had an opportunity to [answer] that question, or want to share some amazing experience, or what they think the best song under two minutes is.”

4. Walking the world

In 2015. Tom Turcich set out walking – he wanted to circumnavigate the globe by foot. How is he doing five years on?

(Afar, approx 15 mins reading time)

Since leaving his home in New Jersey in April 2015, the 32-year-old has rescued a puppy named Lulu in Texas whom he now calls Savannah, been held up at knifepoint in Panama, and halted by life-threatening sickness in Scotland. He has celebrated the nuptials of strangers in Turkey and waited out a global pandemic in Azerbaijan, returning to the U.S. multiple times along the way, for recovery following his illness, for rest, for visas, and for a COVID vaccine. 

5. Life of a tennis pro

Yes, some tennis pros make big bucks – but others scrape by.

(New York Times, approx 31 mins reading time)

At the U.S. Open, for instance, prize money amounts to around 14 percent of gross revenues; by contrast, around half of the National Basketball Association’s total revenues goes to the players, and the same is roughly true in the National Football League, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. “There’s so much money in tennis,” Pospisil said. “The pie is huge; the piece we’re getting is tiny.” If the tournaments gave the players a bigger cut, he argued, the extra money could be directed to lower-level events. 

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6. Lilith Fair

Back in the mid-1990s, America’s Lilith Fair aimed to bring women musicians to the forefront. Here’s an oral history of the festival.

(Vanity Fair, approx 43 mins reading time)

Powers: There were lots of identity-driven and niche-oriented festivals—like so many takes on the idea of “alternative.” Tibetan Freedom Concert, Guinness Fleadh, which had an Irish theme. Warped Tour. Ozzfest. But what all these “alternatives” had in common was 90–95% male lineups. Lilith flipped the numbers.
Molanphy: But Lilith was not trying to be Lollapalooza with women. Lilith was doing something very specific, and eclectic, and it had a very self-contained brand.

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

A profile from 2015 of John McAfee.

(Men’s Journal, approx 20 mins reading time)

What isn’t up for debate is that McAfee had a posse of teenage girls living with him­. They were misfits, runaways, and troublemakers; one pulled a gun on him. (His stay in Belize is so notorious that there is a libidinous, perhaps insane, gun-wielding character living in Belize in novelist Jonathan Franzen’s upcoming Purity that bears a resemblance to McAfee.) Ask him what he was thinking when he decided to shack up with a harem one-third of his age, and McAfee will flash a devilish smile and say simply he was single and having fun. The “fun” took a sour turn in April 2012, when a Belizean SWAT team raided his island estate looking for criminal activity and shot and killed his dog. That November, his American expat neighbor was murdered by gunshot.

 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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