Five things on Friday #317
Things of note for the week ending Sunday 25th October, 2020
Hello, it’s been quite the week hasn’t it?
Work is relentless. The weather has shifted. The nights are drawing in. And if you look from the window in your room to the sky outside to the window in your hand to the world outside, you’d be forgiven for feeling like things are pretty heavy right now.
And you’d be right.
And that’s OK.
But take a breath. Unclench your jaw. Breathe out.
I don’t know about you but for a lot of people I’ve spoken to this week - myself included - I’ve really hit that rub of just missing being people.
Talk to someone.
Talk to me if you want (that reply button is there for a reason).
But do talk to someone.
Let them know how you’re feeling. Start by acknowledging that you miss things. Admit that you’ve never been here - in this place, in a world like this - before. Neither of you have. And then from there - just ask each other questions.
See where you end up.
It sounds like a contrived way to talk about your feelings and that’s because it is. In life sometimes we need contrivances to get us over the stick in the backside that stops us from talking.
Like I said. Try it.
Shall we move to the things?
1. THE CULT OF EMILY RATJKOWSKI
In last week’s edition, in section three - aka ‘This Week In…’ - I drew attention to the Emily Ratajkowski essay, ‘Owning my own Image’.
At the time I described as two parts incredible and horrendous.
I think it still is.
But (and thanks to the frequently fantastic Jennifer Chang (author of the WAP: Women Asserting Power deck that was shared in these pages a few editions back) for sending this my way) this article, ‘The Emily Rajkowski Effect’, by Hayley Nahman, I see it with new eyes.
Nahman is/was in her own words unusually apathetic to the original essay. Her subsequent deep dive into why she felt that way, with well-researched references on EmRat’s commentary hitherto, might leave you feeling the same.
And it’s one of the best things I’ve read this week.
2. NINA CONTI IN THERAPY
I believe I am late to this but whatever. It is great.
Beautiful. Hilarious. Dark.
But just so well done.
I found my way into this via the lockdown episodes and then decided to back to the beginning and start over.
Watch it - and let me know what you think.
via the Chairman.
PS. On the subject of late discovery, Taskmaster on Channel 4 (been on Dave forever but finally made the jump to the big time) is a revelation. This new Channel 4 show is a) hilarious and b) actually Season 10. And Channel 4, in its brilliance, also bought the rights to the entire show so you can go back and watch the whole thing from start to finish on Channel 4’s streaming service, All 4. Good something-to-watch-while-you’re-having-dinner telly.
3. THIS WEEK IN… GAMING
Yes. Again. I’m sorry I don’t make the rules.
A few things to get through. I might just bullet them(.
Here we go:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ debut stream on Twitch peaked at 493,000 viwers. Making it the third highest individual Twitch stream in history (source). The BBC has a great overview on what happened and while not her first appearance on the platform, this is an excellent sign of things to come. AND if you read this great piece by Taylor Lorenz (from a couple of weeks back), then you also know why AMONG US was the perfect choice of game for this debut.
Some Stadia stuff? OK FINE. Three things on this. First: this week one of Google Stadia’s creative directors said that STREAMERS should be paying GAME PUBLISHERS. To be clear: the current status quo is that games are made, published, sold. Streamers then stream those games and, in most cases, those games then sell more thanks to the streaming. Streamers make money (ads/sponsorship), the publisher makes money (games sold) and everyone is happy. As is to be expected, said creative director then got REKT by pretty much everyone - including Google. This is a good overview of what happened. The fact this came from a Stadia Dev just exacerbated the whole thing (this says it all).
Second Stadia thing: there’s a gorgeous looking next-gen game called IMMORTALS FENYX RISING coming out and literally anyone with a controller and Chrome browser can play an hour-long demo of it right now. I’ve tried it; it’s very pretty (it’s basically the engine of Assassin’s Creed, painted with Breath of the Wild graphics, wrapped up in some sweet flying abilities) - and it’s coming to all platforms before the end of the year.
This free demo though? That’s only on Stadia.
Third Stadia thing: related to the above. If you DID want to try Stadia, the method above is probably the easiest, cheapest, and best way to do that before they go ahead and kill the platform. I mean, with Xbox making noises about its streaming offering potentially becoming available on sticks and browsers, and PlayStation no doubt working on its own rejig to its Now platform, and the big announcements from Google this week including games such as PACMAN (not a joke), you’ve got to wonder: what (and who) is Stadia for? Google certainly has previous here. What do you think? Dead by 2022?
Xbox Unboxing. This Xbox Series X influencer unboxing of THE XBOX SERIES X FRIDGE is both great AND classic influencer unboxing stuff - dialled up to 11. It’s the kind of stuff we used to get up to with Nokia back when I worked at 1000heads (but X times bigger - pun entirely intended). For what basically started out as a meme to become part of the product launch? That’s pretty damn cool. Good work to the client/agency team behind this. Really really strong.
The Oculus Quest 2 is a brand new and widely well-received VR headset from Facebook. Everyone I know that has bought one loves theirs and if it wasn’t for the fact that it now has to be linked to your Facebook account to even work, I’d probably entertain the idea of getting one. Now it seems that if you ever did decide to leave the big blue attention machine, then you would automatically lose all access to anything and everything you ever did or bought on Oculus. That’s kinda sucky.
Finally, we’re now less than a month until the new next-gen machines arrive (press PS5s are out there already) and my excitement is reaching FEVER PITCH. So you can expect a) more on this and b) no newsletter on the weekend after the PS5 comes out.
OH and if any of PlayStation’s PR agencies wanna include me on their influencer list, you go RIGHT AHEAD.
So fast. So tight.
There’s a couple of v hairy moments in this whole thing and I spent the whole time thinking ‘BUT WHAT IF A CAR IS COMING?’
Bonus: watch the video yes but also check the post-cycle Strava 😱
M a d n e s s.
5. JAMES O’BRIEN, THERAPY, AND NOT WANTING TO FIGHT ANYMORE
It’s Sunday afternoon as I’m writing to you right now and this morning, laying in bed, I saw this tweet from LBC radio presenter, James O’Brien.
In the article linked, ‘I saw everything as a fight’, James opens up to Alex Moshakis about why his attitude to arguments has changed, what brought him to that change, and how that change will impact his way of life forever.
It is a profound read.
I’ve talked about my own mental health a fair bit in the pages of this newsletter and I must confess, there’s a section in O’Brien’s interview that punched me hard and when I got there; the tears came flooding back.
It was this:
“During one of his sessions, the therapist asked: “Why don’t you pretend that cushion over there is you, aged 10, having just come out of that study, having been brutalised by that man… Why don’t you tell 10-year-old you how you feel?” “And I did,” O’Brien recalls, “like it was the most natural thing in the world.” He looks half-sceptical even now. “There I was telling a cushion that everything was going to be all right, that you don’t have to pretend any more, that it shouldn’t have happened.” He realised that as a boy he had created a kind of armour, and that the armour had manifested as a tendency to argue, of letting nobody get the better of him, of always being alert to attack. “And look what it’s done to you,” he says. He is talking to himself again, weary now. “You can’t provide help and support to the people you love, to people who deserve it.”
I ask if he is capable of providing love now.
“Yes,” he says.”
When I was at my lowest, my therapist used this technique on me. ‘Remember that boy, that you were - remember how afraid he was - what would you say to him?’
It wrecks me now. Just had a little tear.
I wasn’t 10. I was a bit younger. But the armour that I built around me, to deal with my trauma, took me years to understand. To dismantle. And not only am I so much better off for it - but my friends, family, and loved ones are too.
It’s a short interview with James O’Brien but it is worth your time.
THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY. ENJOY.
Tracking every broken McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine. Also, take it from someone who has worked there, the machine is rarely broken. 9/10 it’s been taken apart to clean and someone’s either not put it back together again, lost one of the seals that goes inside, or simply doesn’t know how to put it back together again. Or they’ve run out of milk. In my four years of working there I think our machine actually broke maybe once? If at all.
The Lincoln Project’s response to a legal threat is, how they say, chef kiss dot gif.
NASA is announcing something about the MOON this MOONDAY - make sure you tune in.
While we’re on NASA: they LANDED A PROBE ON A METEOR AND IT IS DOING SUCH A GOOD JOB THAT IT IS OVER-FLOWING WITH ASTEROID ROCKS (all caps entirely required). Amazing.
With next-gen around the corner, believe it not now is the ideal time to buy a current/last gen console (I know a few people that swear by this). Why? The hardware is cheap and the catalogue is massive. Here’s a decent rundown of the games of this generation.
How to network effectively, with Oli Barrett for BT, is that rare beast: a great piece of branded content.
Hades and Failure (I’m yet to play this game but I’m edging towards it slowly - by all accounts, it’s GOTY for many respected voices).
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Until next time,
Whatley out x