Films

Last night



Hanif Kureishi Substack

Last night I went to the Substack Writers’ Party, invited as a plus one by my friend Katie.

It was held at Reference Point, the reference-library-slash-bookshop-slash-bar near Somerset House. It was super busy and quite network-y but also, fun. Best of all, we got chatting to Carlo Kureishi, the screenwriter son of writer Hanif Kureishi. Carlo is also known as the guy who types up the Substacks dictated by his dad, since his dad endured a freak accident a year ago that resulted in him unable to use his hands or any other limbs and obviously unable to write.

Hanif Kureishi is the writer famous for books and films including The Buddha of Suburbia and My Beautiful Laundrette, but his writing on Substack is possibly more astonishing and thought-provoking. According to Carlo, “dad” speaks his prose to Carlo, who types it verbatim onto the computer, the words, sentences and paragraphs coming out fast, furious and fully formed. They then make minor tweaks together, then Carlo presses Publish.

I find this process fascinating. As a slow writer who writes in longhand, editing as I go, I cannot fathom how someone just verbally dictates extremely high quality, raw (in feeling) yet refined (in language and ideas), philosophically provocative and often very funny posts, off the cuff while mostly bed-bound recovering from a shocking accident. Perhaps in the absence of normal everyday activity, the mind, imagination and memory are hyper-sharpened to compensate…? (Plus, clearly he’s not a best-selling writer for nothing.)

Carlo also talked about Kureishi’s friend Salman Rushdie who flew to visit him, having experienced his own life-changing injuries after being stabbed on stage at an event last year. While our conversation was tinged with a ‘there but for the grace of god’ seriousness, it was mixed with an appreciation for humanity and for the reader community bonded by empathy and shared experience.

You can read The Kureishi Chronicles Substack here.

And as it fits the sentiment, this feels like a good time to wish my U.S readers a Happy Thanksgiving!

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Via The Kureishi Chronicles
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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Quote of the day: Michael Chow



Michael Chow studio 1973 Barry Lategan

“It’s a photograph dress, not a wearing dress. And that reminds me of a story. This man sold a thousand tins of sardines, and the buyer rang him up and said, ‘I’ve just eaten one of your sardines. It was disgusting,’ and this man said, `You fool, they weren’t eating sardines, they were buying and selling sardines.’”
Michael Chow on Tina Chow’s Fortuny dress, Vogue, 1973 (more…)



The soft openness of a scrapbook



Sofia Coppola Archive book

Continuing on a books tip, here’s an excellent recommendation if you’re in a creative fug or a chronic procrastinator.

Do Interesting: Notice. Collect. Share* (below) is a highly bookmarkable little companion that suggests unexpected approaches to unlocking creativity. It’s all about seemingly micro actions; paying attention, collecting and sharing.

Author Russell Davies interviewed me for it following a brief email exchange about his fab cool cafes blog. We discovered we had a similar dot-joining approach to creative thinking and he particularly liked the descriptions of my overstuffed scrapbooks.

Do Interesting is genius because you can passively consume it and let the advice seep into your subconscious, or you can actively follow the “Do” takeaways at the end of each page. Or a bit of both. (I just discovered some more scrapbooking intel from Russell here.)

Do Interesting Russell Davies book - Scrapbooks (more…)



Merch watch: are you consuming culture as a performative act?



The Gentlewoman x Arket tee

Rachel Cusk and Zadie Smith have become, in effect, literary brands — once their names are removed from the context of a book’s cover and placed on a hat or a tote bag.” Terry Nguyen, New York Times.

The merch machine refuses to die. In fact, I would argue it’s only just getting started. The New York Times recently published this article on literary merch, explaining the relatively new popularity of #litcore caps (and totes and tees) that show allegiance to revered writers while telegraphing the wearer’s (perceived) intellectual superiority. The Guardian calls this “consuming culture as a performative act”, while comedian Dan Rosen simply calls it “liberal cringe” (ouch #guilty).

It’s also rampant in media, with mainstream and niche publications going all out on taste signallers. (more…)