Letter #66

Good morning / afternoon / evening,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Huge thank you to Becca for last week’s guest letter. I love writing this letter each week, but it’s nice to have a break sometimes too. I’ve got a few more guest letters ready to go over the next few months, but if you’d like to write one (or write another one), then please let me know. I’m always keen to find fresh perspectives.

This week’s letter is loosely themed around the piano. That doesn’t mean it’s melancholic (although it kicks off that way – but stick with it), it just felt like this week the piano had punched out of the music I’d been listening to more than usual. There are definitely some unexpected moments. And a few classics have crept on this week. I often think these playlists follow my mood over the week – like a journal, in a weird way, I suppose. This week this is especially true.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Here it is, and I hope you love it.

🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Interesting things this week: 

  1. Listen to Mr Scruff playing an incredible and eclectic selection of recordsfor Mixmag from 2014
  2. When you sleep, your brain does some amazing things
  3. Trawl through this playlist of classic hip-hop tracks that sample Roy Ayers
  4. Cult producer Matthew Herbert has published a book that’s actually an album that’s actually a book
  5. Watch Raf Simmons prepare for his first ever show for Dior in the fantastic Dior and I on Netflix
  6. Listen to the new album from Yves Tumor (and read this slightly OTT, but good-all-the-same review)
  7. Read this interview with Lewis Heriz, the artist behind the Strut-issued cover work re-releases of Sun Ra records
  8. Listen to a new track from Makaya McCraven’s forthcoming album
  9. Watch Novelist talk about his Mercury nomination and what drives him
  10. That’s just one of the things Bill Cunningham gave the world: his delight in the possibility of you

I’ve made the decision to include only ten links each week from now on. I’ve been uploading some old letters to the archives and sometimes there were as many as 20 links! So to drive a higher quality, and stronger consistency (and less laziness), I’m going to limit myself to ten from now on.

📚 The notes 📚
This week the notes are short, partly because I’ve been busy, partly because I’m thinking about how I keep this letter fresh, and partly because I’ve been thinking about death and the obsession in arts we have with the ‘tragic romantic’ character.

Mac Miller died this week. He was 26, and his early work showed acres of promise. Such an incredibly sad loss. He was nearly at that age when we romanticise the death of the rising star (the “27 club“). Our collective fascination with the premature deaths of those with talent is a strange one – and when they don’t pass away, we (the royal we) spend our time asking why not. This felt especially pertinent a few weeks ago when Peter Doherty was spotted eating an enormous (like, 4,000 calories enormous) breakfast. The collective gasp at his visible ill health was palpable. “How was he still alive?”. When we think about the impact on culture people within that ’27 club’ had, that Mac Miller had (and promised even more), and that even Doherty had – why do we virtually celebrate their demise?

There was an almost premonitory plea from influential hip-hop blog DJBooth back in March on Mac Miller and artists putting themselves through torture for stories; “don’t lose sight of the light while swimming with the sharks, and don’t self-destruct just so they can view the fireworks”.

Lot’s to think about.

This might be a weird thing to say, but if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m always here.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ❤️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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