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Sitdown Sunday: How Anna Delvey's cons got uncovered

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

Image: IMDB

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 power of a good cry

Sometimes, you just need a good cry – here, Wesley Morris writes about what crying over movies taught him about life.

(New York Times, approx 16 mins reading time)

 What I’d felt was the ancient power of art to make a puddle of us. “E.T.” led me into a love affair with being made to cry among strangers in the dark. I almost typed “being reduced to tears,” except where is the reduction? Crying for art is an honor, an exaltation, a salute. It’s applause with mucus and salt. I’m not the only person who lost it at “E.T.” It was the No. 1 movie of 1982. And what I presume we all experienced was a willingness to give ourselves over to the ridiculous beauty of a story about feeling everything.

2. Labi Siffre

A fascinating and moving interview with the musician Labi Siffre – the man behind the song ‘Something Inside So Strong’ about his music, life, and the love of his two husbands.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

Born in 1945 to a Nigerian father and mixed-race mother who refused to “pass” as white, Claudius Afolabi Siffre was raised in west London. He says he had already worked out his life plans at an early age. By 11 he knew he had to “find someone and make them love me for the rest of our lives”; by 13 he had resolved, thanks to one of his four brothers’ impressive record collection, to become a musician. Both of these things were under way before he was 20. Siffre wrote his first song aged 18 and, a year later in 1964, met Peter John Carver Lloyd; they remained together for 48 years, entering a civil partnership in 2005, until Lloyd’s death in 2013.

3. Search for the slave ships

Explore Tara Roberts took up diving to learn about slave ships, but also ended up find out more about her family’s past.

(National Geographic, approx 23 mins reading time)

“When you are African American and you’re diving on a slave ship, that’s a whole lot different from somebody else doing it,” says legendary diver Albert José Jones, a co-founder of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers and board member of DWP. “Every time you go down, you realize basically two things: One is that maybe your ancestors were on the ship. The other thing you realize is that you have a history. Your history didn’t start on the shores of the United States. It didn’t start with slavery. Your history started [in] Africa at the beginning of time, the beginning of civilization.”

4. King Tut

There has been a fascination with King Tut since his discovery, but there are still many more things to learn about him.

(The New Yorker, approx 10 mins reading time)

This latest wave of fascination, which is part of a tide that never fully recedes, has also brought reproach and critique. The Pharaoh is seen by some people as a prop of empire, and by others as a symbol of resistance and revolution; the thousands of artifacts removed from his tomb are presented as the greatest treasures ever found, or as the spoils of an unforgivable act of colonial desecration. Depending on which source you consult, the centenary is an occasion for celebration, for apology, or, most radically, for the eradication of the field of Egyptology.

5. The visionary

A feature on Thai Richards, who has started a radical new running community,

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(Runner’s World, approx mins reading time)

Beatrice waves her sign and holds her cellphone in her other hand, ready to take a photo the instant Thai runs by. The moment is significant. In his late teens and early 20s, Thai could have easily landed in prison or been killed. Instead, at the age of 30, he’s the literal face of the 2021 New York City Marathon, featured in its marketing banners, social media posts, and commercials. Starring in a major ad campaign like this one isn’t the kind of influence that motivates Thai. His focus is more intimate. Friends call him the “consummate vibe curator,” and with Rage & Release he has created space for a community to coalesce around a common interest in running and using cannabis not to party or to zone out, rather to be present and talk about things like physical and mental health.

6. And Just Like That

People had a LOT of thoughts about And Just Like That, and not all of them were positive. Here, creator Michael Patrick King and writers explain some of the choices they made. 

(The Hollywood Reporter, approx 19 mins reading time)

I mean, deliberately, there’s not even a cosmo in the show until episode four at the bar with Seema, where Carrie is trying to be in that other show before death. Miranda says to her that it’s fun. There’s no death. She didn’t know Big. She’s having a suspended reality in the old show by having a cosmo and talking about dating apps. So to me, I knew that we were always going to broaden the characters the way we did over the six years and two movies. Those characters in Sex and the City started out simpler than they ended. They started as archetypes and became fully fleshed-out characters. They started as “I got to get a man” and wound up being, “I’ve got to love myself and see what the universe hands out to me.”

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

A series on the con artist Anna Delvey just dropped on Netflix. Here’s the original longread about her.

(The Cut, approx 35 mins reading time)

The way Anna spent money, it was like she couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. Her room was overflowing with shopping bags from Acne and Supreme, and in between meetings, she’d invite Neff to foot massages, cryotherapy, manicures (Anna favored “a light Wes Anderson pink,” according to Neff). One day, she brought Neff to a session with a personal trainer–slash–life coach she’d found online, a svelte, ageless Oprah-esque figure who works with celebrities like Dakota Johnson. “Stop sinking into your body,” the trainer commanded Anna. “Shoulders back, navel to spine. You are a bright woman; you want to be a businesswoman. You gotta be staying strong on your own power.” Afterward, as Neff panted on the sidelines, Anna bought a package of sessions. “It was, I’m not lying, $4,500,” said Neff. Anna paid cash.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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