Happy Boxing Day — if such a thing exists.
Today is the perfect day to kick back and do some reading, with a good coffee – or just possibly something stronger. And so, a list of eminently readable links is my (*Trump voice*) absolutely perfect gift to you. Perfect. Everybody says so.
Incidentally, one of the established rules of writings newsletters seems to be that you should have a familiar and established structure that readers get used to.
I break that rules every single issue of this newsletter.
I'm kinda proud of that.
A Warm Welcome
Let’s Embrace a Little “Scruffy Hospitality” Because Our Homes Don’t Have to be Picture Perfect to Have People Over
I loved this piece.
I've long struggled with the fact that our home is not the pristine environment my parents managed — but my wife and I both work demanding jobs, and my Mum didn't. That makes a huge difference. And the occasional scruffiness (and tired decor) of our home has made me reluctant to entertain.
If you're in a similar boat — this piece might give you cause to think again.
On the socials
Fantastic short piece from Anil Dash, pointing out how the corralling of the link by Facebook (wearing its Instagram disguise) is slowly throttling the open web and, with it, our freedom of expression.
Talking of the 'gram, this headline spoke to me, if only because a number of my Instagram connections are former students, people who are largely round half my age, and so going in my stories sometimes feels uncomfortable and borderline voyeuristic.
Beyond that, though, there's some useful and interesting research here.
This is an interesting piece to read in conjunction with Anil's piece above.
What has social media being doing to our culture — and our sense of truth?
Since NEXT19, the conference in Hamburg that's been my longest standing client, I've been slightly obsessed by the idea of complexity, and that we need to embrace it more fully to deal with some of the problems that face us (and, conversely, that over-simplification is a dangerously alluring trap…)
This piece does a challenging job of connecting the dots around societal shifts around what was one perceived as a very binary world.
Family Pride, Fashion and Hospitality
My sister-in-law (whose house I am sitting in as I type this) has curated an exhibition for the Soane Museum in London. As Vogue puts it: "Details of Hogarth paintings tell an intimate story of dress and decadence."
I'm always proud of my family. But I think this is genuinely worth your time — and you still have time to catch the exhibition.
Taking of dress and decadence — and who doesn't talk of such things in the season of Christmas and New Year parties? — this article explores movies with the most iconic going out looks, as envisioned by the artist Anna Bak-Kvapil.
And you'll never quite look at silk in the same way again…
Alcohol has been more valuable to our species’ survival than we might imagine, argues this piece.
And it uses elephants, drunken monkeys and endorphins to make the point. Perfect festive reading from the FT.
Token religious content
It's the reason for the season, you know… 😉
In Ethiopia, church forests are withstanding environmental destruction — but just barely. This article had the strange effect of making me nostalgic for something I'm pretty sure I've never had. I have no idea why. Perhaps one of you can explain it for me.
I bet a huge number of you are bibliophiles — and that you'll love this idea as much as I do.
Let's face it: now Christmas is done, we're all going to need to know this.