On grifters, sneaky clients, and Tokyo at night
Enjoy your weekendly serving of good shit, curated by yours truly.
I used to keep lists of almost all the media I consumed – books, movies, video games, podcasts. All that stuff. I deleted my lists in a fit of frustration last summer – even my book list dating all the way back to 2004 – because I felt like tracking everything was affecting my enjoyment, and even my decisions about what to get into in the first place.
Like, I’d force myself to read a book cover to cover, even if it would’ve been better to flip through and find the sections that were relevant and interesting to me, just so I could ensure I read every page and was therefore ‘allowed’ to add it to my list. Yeah. I know.
So anyway, since I can’t refer to my lists, you’re getting a selection of things I can conjure from memory, which probably means they’re the best bits. That’s how that works, right? LOGIC. It also includes stuff I’ve enjoyed recently and haven’t had chance to forget yet. And, of course, my own work.
Some stuff I did
Clattermouth’s About page
Instead of replying to my accountant’s multiple emails, I finally wrote Clattermouth’s About page. A lot of it is scalped from my first newsletter (my cunning plan all along, because why write two things when you can write one) but there’s some new stuff too. Also, fair warning: if you say something nice about this newsletter, I will probably add it to this page unless you explicitly tell me not to.
I’m back on Twitter!
I took over a year off from Twitter without warning, and just resurfaced over there a few days ago. Because I needed to promote this newsletter, you know? I’m going to try to post less inane bullshit than I used to. If you follow me, say hi and I’ll add you back, dear reader.
Some cool stuff other people made/wrote/did
Beware the Add-ons (Article)
Freelance writer Jen Miller shares a handful of the ways clients have tried to sneakily get her to do work she won’t be paid for – and how she handled them like a badass.
I Was Caroline Calloway (Article)
In case you missed it the first time, this excellent bit of writing is part personal essay, part exposé of infamous Instagram grifter Caroline Calloway. These days, when Caroline’s not getting up to nonsense like painting half of her microwave blue, she’s most likely announcing a new, uhh… let’s be generous and call them ‘business ventures’, such as a $75 face oil with cat hair stuck to it, entry-level watercolour portraits for $250, or just some ratty old paperbacks she’s scribbled a platitude in for $25. Warning: this rabbit hole is deep, but if you want to observe someone’s extremely questionable and unabashed attempts to make $$$ online, well, you’re welcome. And I’m sorry.
Freelance Writing Jobs (Newsletter)
If you’re a freelance writer (or want to be), and particularly if you’re in the UK, you need to be on Sian Meades-Williams’ newsletter, where she shares paying writing opportunities every week.
Agents and Books (Newsletter)
If you want to become a traditionally published author (rather than self-published), established literary agent Kate McKean’s newsletter is for you. In it, she answers the most common questions she gets about writing, publishing, and agents.
After Dark by Liam Wong (Photography book)
I bought Liam’s first book, T0:KY:00, and devoured the whole thing with saucer-eyes, so I’m extremely hyped about his new book, After Dark – ‘an evocative, cinematic exploration of global cities after midnight’ – coming out next summer. It’s currently crowdfunding on Volume and will 100% be worth your money. In the meantime, get your hands on a copy of T0:KY:00, which is ‘a photographic, cyberpunk-inspired exploration of nocturnal Tokyo’.
Midnight Diner (TV show)
Speaking of nocturnal Tokyo, this is one of my go-to shows when I want some calm in my life. It took me a few episodes to get into it, but once I did, I was enchanted. Heart-warming, insightful stories about everyday lives, told in a cosy, atmospheric diner that only opens at night. (It’s fictional.) You can catch this on Netflix.
You’re My Pet! by Yayoi Ogawa (Manga)
A manga series about a fiery, fabulous woman who finds a guy living in a box outside her apartment building. She invites him in and he becomes her pet. It’s more romantic and sweet than it sounds, and less kinky. Zero kink, actually, which is weird. The art starts off a little shaky, but it gets better, and the writing is great from the get-go.
My Dad Wrote a Porno (Podcast)
On the off chance you haven’t listened to it yet, I’ve gotta mention what is hands down my favourite podcast. Badly written but strangely compelling erotica critiqued by the author’s son and his friends. Season six just finished so you won’t even have to go through the agonising wait for the next episode.
Mutazione, Kentucky Route Zero & Night in the Woods (Video games)
Just a selection of the indie games I’ve played and adored this year. These are my favourites, and they all feature beautiful art, music and storytelling, and can be completed over a rainy weekend. I played them on PS4 but they’re available on pretty much all systems. I’d love to play them again on Switch for a more intimate experience, and therefore I need to buy a Switch, yes?
The Nights in the Woods Original Soundtrack (Album)
I’ve been listening to this non-stop since I played the game. I’m listening to it right now. I listened to it at 3am last night. I listened to it in the shower this morning. It’s going to be the soundtrack of my entire autumn, I can just feel it. Can’t wait to listen to it while I kick through fallen leaves and sip a pumpkin spice latte.
Critical Role (Dungeons & Dragons stream)
This is how I spent a huge portion of lockdown. Dungeons & Dragons is such an interesting form of storytelling – nothing is scripted and everything relies on dice rolls, so you never know what’s going to happen. It’s basically fantasy improv, but with backstory. This particular D&D stream is performed by a talented group of professional voice actors, so it sets a high bar. There’s been two full campaigns so far, and a third one is expected to start later this year. You may have time to catch up, but each campaign is self-contained, so you don’t have to. Production quality is pretty naff in the beginning, but these days it’s superb. Prepare to laugh, cry, and compile a list of people who might be willing to play D&D with you.
The first paid edition of Clattermouth will be going out on Tuesday, in which I’ll share the uninspirational story of how I kept a roof over my head during the pandemic, plus the unexpected way I ended up rewriting Manchester Art Gallery’s website and what I got paid for it. (And it really is a case of what I got paid, rather than simply how much. Ooh, mysterious.)
If you subscribe by Tuesday, you can get 50% off forever, aka £2.50 per month. I, uh, don’t know if the offer will expire at the beginning or end of Tuesday or somewhere in between, or if time zones make a difference, so if you definitely want to sign up, it might be wise to do so before Monday draws to a close.
Alright, that’s it from me.
Take it easy,
P.S. This email does not contain affiliate links, because I am too lazy for that.
Have you played Disco Elysium? I think you would extremely love it, you play a trashbag detective who is a total disaster, yet somehow also solves a murder. It's REALLY brilliant.