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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 7 July, 2020
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Sitdown Sunday: How Yoga With Adriene became 'the patron saint of lockdown'

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

Image: Shutterstock/fizkes

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. Yoga With Adriene

If you’ve been getting some much-needed solace from doing yoga with Adriene Mischler, you’re not alone. If you haven’t heard of her, make sure to read on.

(The Guardian, approx 14 mins reading time)

Mishler was already huge before the pandemic – her channel, which has more than 7 million subscribers, is the first to pop up when you search for “yoga” on YouTube – but the lockdown has catapulted her to a new level of fame. Fans on social media recommend their favourite videos, post charcoal drawings of her and express their undying devotion to her for keeping them sane. One devotee even built a digital replica of her home studio in the video game Animal Crossing. There are countless memes about her, as well as ones about her dog, a blue heeler, or Australian cattle dog, named Benji, who frequently makes cameo appearances lounging beside the mat, or wandering into shot.

2. What happened to Val Kilmer?

Haven’t heard from Val Kilmer in a while, huh? In this wide-ranging profile, Taffy Brodesser-Akner brings us up to date – and he really has been through some tough things.

(The New York Times, approx 35 mins reading time)

He didn’t know how to handle what was happening to him. He’d gotten into acting because he wanted to perform serious roles, but the bigger they came, the more empty and cavernous too. “It was all silly to me,” he said to me in his office. “I’d been preparing to do ‘Hamlet’ for 10 years.” He always thought of himself as a character actor. He could do “a hundred different voices” and a million different impressions. “I would’ve loved to have been on ‘Saturday Night Live’ as a regular,” Kilmer said. “Fame wasn’t my priority, and I had it.”

3. What happens to couples under stress 

It’s a stressful time right now, so if you and your significant other – or family and friends – are finding it tough, this interview with Esther Perel is definitely worth reading.

(The New Yorker, approx 15 mins reading time)

I think that, really, what is essential at this moment, especially when we have just one person to give us what an entire village should be providing, is that we create boundaries, routines, and rituals. There needs to be, as best as possible, a separation between daytime and evening, week time and weekend, working time and idle time, family time and individual time, moments that are task-oriented and moments where we stop for a bit. When we’re going to eat, are we going to reset the table or just push our work stuff away a little bit so that we have room to put a plate down? I think that, more than ever, the routine that creates a structure, that brings a certain sense of order in a world that feels so chaotic and so unsure, is crucial. 

4. China’s coronavirus coverup

The fascinating story of how social media users found their posts about coronavirus censored by the Chinese government.

(Wired, approx 15 mins reading time)

What she couldn’t have realized, though, was that she had posted her screenshot at what seems to have been a turning point in China’s handling of the epidemic: Over the previous two weeks, the government had allowed what felt like an uncharacteristic degree of openness in the flow of information out of Wuhan. But now the state was embarking on a campaign of censorship and suppression that would be remarkable even by the standards of the Chinese Communist Party.

5. The ice swimmer

Meet the participants at the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival in Vermont, who just love swimming in a pool carved out of an iced-over lake.

(Men’s Health, approx 17 mins reading time)

This setup means no flip turns. (“If you turn wrong, you end up under the ice,” O’Connor says.) No holding the ladder or the wall too long at the end. (“It gets icy, and your hand can freeze to it.”) And no matter what, you need to stay in touch with how you’re feeling. (“You can go downhill really fast.”) The popularity of ice swimming has spiked in recent years, so about half the field at Winter Swim Fest is new. If you don’t have anxiety, O’Connor clarifies, “it means you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”

6. Is 2020 a write-off for gigs?

Sadly that’s what all the experts say in this piece. Terrible times.

(BBC, approx 10 mins reading time)

“I think this year is basically a write-off, if I’m honest with you,” he adds. These sobering sentiments were echoed again by former Creation Records and current Creation23 label supremo Alan McGee on Boogaloo Radio on Monday, who said the government “are never going to allow 200 people to congregate [this year].” “Also nobody is going to want to go to a show at the moment,” he went on.

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

 

Let’s go all the way back to 1957 for this profile of Marlon Brando in Japan – written by Truman Capote.

(The New Yorker, approx 55 mins reading time)

Brando scowled, as though unsympathetic to the idea of resuming their endeavors later in the evening. Having been slightly ill, as I learned later, he had spent the day in his room, and now seemed restive. “What’s this?” he asked, pointing to a couple of oblong packages among the literary remains on the lacquer table. Murray shrugged. The maid had delivered them; that was all he knew. “People are always sending Mar presents,” he told me. “Lots of times we don’t know who sent them. True, Mar?” “Yeah,” said Brando, beginning to rip open the gifts, which, like most Japanese packages—even mundane purchases from very ordinary shops—were beautifully wrapped. 

More: The best reads from every preious Sitdown Sunday>

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