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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019
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Sitdown Sunday: The mysterious disappearance of the famed actress Fan Bingbing

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

Image: Frederick Injimbert

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. Dee Dee and Gypsy

The incredible story of Dee Dee and Gypsy Blancharde was unveiled in this Buzzfeed article back in 2016. Now that the tale has been turned into a film, it’s a good time to revisit where it all started.

(Buzzfeed, approx 42 mins reading time)

It was a perfect story for a human interest segment on the evening news: a family living through tragedy and disaster, managing to build a life for themselves in spite of so many obstacles. But the story wasn’t over. One day last June, Dee Dee’s Facebook account posted an update. “That bitch is dead,” it read.

2. How being a female cyclist led to vulva surgery

Hannah Dines is a world champion trike cyclist – but her career has led to major vulva surgery, due to the design of the bike seat.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

The consensus is that when you first start cycling on your good-as-new, unbruised foof, it is going to hurt. After a “breaking-in” period, the pain-to-numbness ratio becomes favourable: as long as you protect against infection, wear padded shorts with a generous layer of chamois cream, no underwear and make regular offerings to the ingrown hair goddess, things are manageable. This is wrong.

3. Why procrastination has nothing to do with self-control

Thought you procrastinated because you were just bad at self-control? Turns out it’s actually more to do with emotions.

(New York Times, approx 10 mins reading time)

Procrastination isn’t a unique character flaw or a mysterious curse on your ability to manage time, but a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond. “Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem,” said Dr. Tim Pychyl.

4. The amateur sleuth who found a missing person’s body 

A volunteer helped discover the body of a missing young mother – so why didn’t the police find her first?

(BBC, approx 33 mins reading time)

Nine months earlier, in the autumn of 2017, a young mother of five named Olivia Kerri Lone Bear vanished from New Town, a tiny oil-boom city on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The 32-year-old was last seen on 24 October, at the wheel of a teal-coloured Chevy Silverado pick-up truck that she often borrowed from a friend. She was a caretaker for her father, and the following day, he found her wallet and mobile phone at his home.

5. Catchers

The man behind The Blackpool Sentinel has been responsible for some fantastic writing about Irish music over the years. His latest longread is about a band from Northern Ireland called Catchers, who emerged in the 1990s.

(The Blackpool Sentinel, approx 15 mins reading time)

In the best and worst traditions of the period, the band had sent a crudely-formed demo to the Setanta mailing address , 123, Shakespeare Road, SE24, a fine pile in Brixton owned by a Virgin Prunes-loving builder from Wexford. Featuring an early version of one of their best songs, ‘Cotton Dress’, that tape piqued the label’s interest enough to trigger a gushing note by return mail, stuck inside a jiffy-bag of recent Setanta releases and a compilation cassette compiled by Keith with no little affection. This, my friends, was how some of us conversed and flirted way back.

6. The mysterious disappearance of Fan Bingbing

Fan Binging, the huge Chinese movie star, disappeared in June 2018. What happened to her?

(Vanity Fair, approx 32 mins reading time)

She is often described as baifumei, a phrase meaning pale-skinned, rich, and beautiful. “The rules of Chinese beauty are rigid, and she follows them,” says Elijah Whaley, a market researcher who specializes in China. Fan has been the face of Adidas, Louis Vuitton, and Moët, selling everything from lipstick to diamonds. They say you can’t take a good selfie with her, because she will suck all the beauty away. 

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

The amazing director Agnes Varda died this week. Here’s a delightful interview with her from Interview magazine, about her appearance (alongside some nude men) on the cover of the very first issue of Andy Warhol’s magazine.

(Interview, approx mins reading time)

 I remember telling Jacques, “I’ll go with you to America, but if I don’t like it, I’m coming back.” I wasn’t attracted to American cinema, but I fell in love with Los Angeles the minute I arrived. We rented a little house and two white convertibles. In those days, when Jacques was starting to work with Columbia [Pictures] on Model Shop, I loved driving slowly down these endless boulevards. I got very excited not only by the Los Angeles landscape but by that generation. It was a lot of peace and love, hippies, huge Sunday meetings in the parks. The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, and the Mamas & the Papas would come over and play for free.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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