Six things I loved in February

Nuala - A documentary

This is another of those recommendations I’ve held off from including, lest I not adequately convey its brilliance in a short paragraph. But I'll try.

Nuala O’Faolain was an Irish writer. If we’re living through a memoir renaissance, Nuala was the original. Her first memoir, ‘Are You Somebody?’, is among my favourite books.  A few months before she died, she was interviewed on radio by her friend Marian Finucane. I remember listening to it live (MP3) and being completely floored. My own mother had died just a few months earlier and I was still very sensitive. It was one of those moments when the whole country stopped in its tracks. That interview spawned the documentary, which is worth watching just for the look on Marian’s face as she interviews the man who broke her friend’s heart. It captures Nuala’s contradictions - a feminist who wanted to belong to man, a writer and a woman trying to navigate all the things that were expected of her generation. Also, here she is telling Gay that she sometimes had sex just for the exercise

The criticism of Anne Helen Petersen

Is there a writer who has made you interested in something that you had a neutral/negative attitude towards? Since reading Anne Helen Petersen’s criticism, I have become a person interested in celebrity gossip. It’s not about the gossip, though, it’s the cultural conversations that the celebs enable. Her Buzzfeed archive is full of great stuff. Start with this on Angelina and this on Drumpf. Her path from academic to journalist is interesting too. As discussed on the longform podcast, here and here.

Idalia Candelas' llustrations

It shouldn't be revolutionary for an artist to depict women living alone, enjoying the kind of delicious solitude that comes from fully inhabiting a space.  And yet it is. These beautiful drawings capture something of who women are when they're not being looked at.


While writing this piece, I was reminded of cliteracy. It had its five minutes of internet fame 2 years ago, but the “undertold and overdue story of the clitoris” is definitely worth revisiting. It begins: "In 1969, we put a man on the moon. In 1982, we invented the internet. In 1998, we discovered the full anatomy of the clitoris." Interesting too from an online storytelling POV.

The Breakup Survival Guide, compiled by Death, Sex and Money listeners

I love a good crowd-sourced project about emotions. And in the dark January days of Trump and chaos, don’t we all feel a little dumped? This selection of practical things (watch this, read this, do this) and actionable advice is lovely. I come from the generation who thinks the solution to every problem can be found via a deep google. It’s the modern version of that old saying about the solution to all life's problems being salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. I'm not saying using the internet as your guru is a perfect solution, but you could do worse than to plan your rebound via this list.

Combination of the 'Make America Drumpf Again' and 'Make America Kittens Again' plugins for Chrome.

Oof, how are we only 4 weeks into what could be a four year administration? I’m already exhausted and despondent. One thing that has helped is a combo of these two plugins which replace all images of the current POTUS with images of cats and all mention of his name with the word ‘Drumpf’. It started a jokey, fun internet thing but has been surprisingly useful in keeping me happy. (via Michelle