Merry, merry (and good riddance to those tumultuous teens)

Raise that eggnog: we're at the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

Happy Christmas!

May it be shared with the ones you love (and who don’t irritate you too much).

In this bumper special festive edition dispatch:

  • The inaugural Alex Awards (an incomplete, biased and subjective list of the things that inspired, infuriated, disappointed and delighted me in 2019)

  • My 10 favourite articles from the last 10 years (in case your Kindle got stolen and you need something to read)

  • Lastly, an “OMG, we’re starting a new decade, so let’s look back at the 2010s!” essay (I’ll forgive you — eventually — if you don’t end up scrolling down that far…)

An icy blast from the past: New Year’s Day, 2010, Canada.


The 2019 Alex Awards

THE GREAT AND THE GOOD:

  • Best cure for homesickness: Freshpak rooibos tea and Spotify’s Gqom Power House playlist:

  • Most dazzling debut novel: Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (read more of my reading favourites here)

  • TV show I can’t get enough of: HBO’s Succession

  • Sexiest movie: The smart, funny, sublime and sultry Hustlers

  • The TV talent I’m dying to get drunk with: Phoebe Waller-Bridge

  • Loveliest bookstore: A quadruple win! Tattered Cover (Denver), The Yankee Bookshop (Woodstock, VT), the Gallery Bookshop (Mendocino, CA) and Elliot Bay Book Company (Seattle, WA)

  • Worth subscribing to: HEATED, Emily Atkin’s newsletter, is a great way to keep abreast of the climate crisis

  • Favourite podcast: Eish, don’t make me choose just one!

    • In Conspiracyland , veteran investigative journo Mike Isikoff explores how the 2016 death of a Democrat party operative has been exploited by a whole cast of unscrupulous characters — including Russian intelligence, rightwing talkshow hosts and Julian Assange. The perfect (and perfectly gripping) primer on the post-truth era

    • The Dropout is an absolutely captivating (and rigorously reported) account of the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of blood testing company Theranos

    • You can find a full list of podcast favourites here.

  • Most exciting chef: Andre Hill of Upper Bloem who deliciously combines contemporary verve with Cape Town’s culinary heritage

  • Tastiest retail experience: Farmers’ markets in the US (especially Portland’s enormous one); but the variety of greens and veg is staggering even at much smaller markets such as the one in Arcata). When in Cape Town, OZCF Market remains my go-to

  • Negroni you’ll be tempted to order five of: The cosy Joburg wine bar Douglas + Hale serves up a dangerously good one!

  • Yummiest in-flight meal: Crispy and tender roast goose on Lufthansa

  • Most sublime wine tasting: bubblies on Twee Jonge Gezellen’s sunlit rooftop (near Tulbagh); goat cheese and gorgeous Pinot Noirs at Pennyroyal (in California’s Anderson Valley)

  • Tastiest milk alternative: Oatly — a game-changer

  • Most comforting scent: Mrs Myers lemon verbena liquid hand soap

  • Funnest way to spend an afternoon: Snorkelling with seals in Cape Town; a jet boat to hot springs near Tofino

  • Trees to stop you in your tracks: Phinda’s incredible sand forest; the HUGE redwoods of Prairie Creek

  • Room with the dreamiest view: Pel’s Post lodge in Pafuri, Kruger National Park

  • Colour I couldn’t stop staring at: The inky indigo of Crater Lake, OR (see pic below)

THE BAD AND THE UGLY:

Most disappointing new season: Season 3 of The Crown (dull, dull, dull; also… BRING BACK CLAIRE FOY!)

  • The country with the most reluctant, disgruntled service: Jamaica

  • Worst meal: “Malawian night” at the increasingly decrepit Mumbo island lodge gave me food poisoning that took a week to recover from

  • Shittiest stop-over: Niagara Falls, Ontario — a tacky “Vegas on the river”. After getting locked out of my hotel room due to a malfunctioning keycard, I had to prove to the concierge I was a resident and not some opportunistic meth-head/rent boy trying to break in. (His icy scepticism melted eventually…)

  • National Park you should really hire a 4x4 for: The stunning Richtersveld schooled us in the difference between mere SUV and fully-fledged 4x4. Pick the former at your peril…

  • Most underwhelming natural attraction: Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone (not the gusher I thought it’d be)

  • Most overhyped major art museum: Cape Town’s Zeitz MoCAA (have you been there lately?)

  • Scariest moment travelling: Getting two flat tyres simultaneously thanks to a gigantic pothole in Mpumalanga; three rounds of questioning upon arrival at SFO by America’s friendliest border agents

What were your favourites/least favourites this year?

Crater Lake, Oregon, July 2019. Of course a photo can’t do the real thing justice.


A decade of scribbling

Articles are like children — their creators always have their favourites. These are 10 of mine from the hundreds I wrote in the 2010s:

  1. Lines of beauty: In this 2012 interview, the Man-Booker author Alan Hollinghurst tells me about taking ecstasy (and putting gay fiction on the map)

  2. Paul Theroux reaches the end of the road: The 2013 interview that earned me some hate mail from the renowned travel writer

  3. Discovering Pafuri, a hidden corner of the Kruger, on foot: The first piece I ever wrote (in 2014) about one of my favourite places in the entire world

  4. Searching for silence in the Karoo: What I found where cell signal and internet do not reach

  5. Hit and miss: To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, every man should kill the thing he loves to eat. And so, on assignment for Sunday Times in 2015, I gave it a go

  6. Swaziland’s handmade revolution: A 2016 report on how fair trade design is helping to empower thousands in Africa’s last absolute monarchy

  7. Saving mantas — a ray of hope: The conservation efforts to save Mozambique’s extraordinary marine megafauna

  8. Katse dam’s deep flood of suffering: While this Lesotho scheme delivers ‘white gold’ to Gauteng, my 2017 report shows how the lives of residents in the area have been diminished

  9. A retreat-in-motion: In this 2018 article for Sawubona, I explore how walking the Portuguese Camino can be an opportunity for reflection and rejuvenation

  10. Same difference? (PDF): My 2018 report for Monocle about the (somewhat brief) period of hope in Zimbabwe following Mugabe’s ouster

Read more on my website.

On assignment for the Sunday Times in 2015. Who said journalism had to be a desk job?


Hello 2020! Looking back on the tumultuous teens

Do you remember the start of the 2010s? Back then, I was a fresh-faced, freshly minted graduate. The newspaper where I’d interned straight after college had shuttered on my fourth day – a sad but useful reality check about my chosen profession.

My next media internship a few months later, at Monocle, was more successful — landing me a “Devil Wears APC” job as an assistant to the editor-in-chief. And so, 2010 saw me moving continents (into a shitty London bedsit) and beginning full-time work. It was also the year I was diagnosed with and began treatment for OCD (thank you NHS!), the year I used a Blackberry and messaged via BBM and SMS, listened to music on an iPod Touch, watched DVDs, phoned to order taxis for my boss and even occasionally sent faxes.

By 2010, same-sex marriage was allowed in South Africa but not the USA. That year, the first iPad launched (and journos were wondering if this would save or destroy us); South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup (with aplomb).

WhatsApp voice notes, Airbnbs, Uber rides, banking apps, Netflix streaming, Alexa, the Instagram influencer epidemic, deep fakes, Russian election meddling, #MeToo, Brexit — all that lay in the future.

2019 is almost done, and a brand-new decade soon commences. Where do things stand?

  • The environment: Glaciers collapse; the Amazon burns – despite huge strides in renewable energy (and, in some instances, conservation) our climate, biodiversity and remaining habitats are in crisis. Solutions are attainable but typically stymied by corporate greed and government intransigence. Will the EU’s Green Deal be successful – and, even more importantly, inspire others to be as radical? While we all should be doing our bit (fly less, Alex; eat less meat!), it’s mostly down to countries, blocs and major energy companies if we’re going to stave off systemic environmental catastrophe. The clock’s ticking…

  • Tech: There are definitely upsides to smartphone ubiquity. With a few swipes and taps, you can easily meet new people, stay in touch with old friends, transfer money, get takeout or summon a cab. And yet accompanying these perks is a tech-fuelled dystopia of increasing alienation, polarisation, bullying, interference, and distraction. Big Tech spies on us, sells our data, fragments our attention and facilitates the dissemination of misinformation. Drastic change is required – from how these companies are regulated (hello, antitrust) to the ways in which we use (and relate to) their services. Many of us have a much stronger awareness of technology’s pitfalls and dangers than we did in 2010 (though given the proliferation of smart speakers, there are still lessons to be learnt). The rise in techno-scepticism is good: let’s hope it translates into technology use that is wiser, safer and more beneficial.

  • Media: Over the last 10 years, the tools I use to ply my trade have stayed remarkably unchanged — notebook, pencil, voice recorder, laptop. The future of journalism remains every bit as precarious as in 2010, too. It’s not all gloom: some non-profit newsrooms are thriving, while the likes of the New York Times, and FT have shown it’s possible to build robust subscription-based businesses. And yet, the industry is still haemorrhaging jobs, freelance rates are stagnant, and newspaper and magazine closures continue unabated. In short, there’s still much to be figured out. Personally, in the years to come, I’d like to expand beyond text to become an audio (and possibly visual) storyteller too. Or maybe in the 2020s I’ll just become an organic veggie/cannabis farmer, natural winemaker or venerable ceramicist instead…

  • Politics: In this year alone there’s been Brexit drama, a Tory landslide, Ramaphoria, post-Ramaphoria, load-shedding, SAA nosediving, collapsing municipal coalitions, Maimanexit, impeachment, looming US presidential elections… at least it’s not dull. It’s impossible to predict the next week, never mind envision the coming decade so I’ll refrain from the latter. Still, I hope that civility, caution, compassion and constructive engagement in civic life and political discourse stages a comeback someday. Michelle 2024?!

In short, I’ve got more questions than answers. There is doubt, fear and frustration but also hope — in the power of communities and movements to achieve change and that science (might?) prevail over destructive greed.

As the world continues to speed up, I’ve also got a deepening appreciation for slowing down (and even stopping still). As life gets noisier and more digital, I treasure the quiet and the analogue more than ever. Time on mountains, by the ocean, in the forest and the semi-desert. Dog walks, wild swims, printed pages, writing by hand, moka pot coffee. Good food, wine and conversation with the ones I love. In a world that’s constantly changing, I guess some things don’t change all that much, after all.


I’m impressed you made it this far! You’ve just finished a special festive edition of my monthly(ish) dispatch, which I started as an alternative to social media. Replies always welcome (especially if they contain restaurant tips, hot gossip, movie suggestions or a picture of you in a Christmas sweater).

There's a bat in the sink

Cabin fever in California

Greetings from Mendocino

A cabin in the forest with a wood-burning stove is exactly as idyllic as it sounds — until there’s a bat scratching against the walls and zooming around your head as you’re trying to fall asleep.

The following evening, I discovered our furry friend had decamped to the kitchen sink. There was none of the previous night’s daring acrobatics on display; instead, it was panicked and flailing — a state I was quickly reduced to too. Fortunately, my (extremely calm) partner was able to scoop up the little thing with some Tupperware and fling it through the open door into the night.

I’m normally quite relaxed about nature stuff: I’ve hiked in Big Five bushveld and done 10km swims in shark-infested False Bay. And yet… bats terrify me. In spite of me being armed with a rabies vaccine, they remain the stuff of OCD-fuelled nightmares. Perhaps it’s time for a booster shot.


A return to redwood country

Soggy bats notwithstanding, Mendocino county (about three hours north of San Francisco) is my favourite part of California and I’m delighted to be back. Since returning, I’ve spent a decent chunk of time huddled indoors, quietly working on a few slowly gestating editorial projects while rain lashes the windows. In between storms, there have been misty walks on crumbling bluffs and jogs along a lonesome old logging road, gulping lungfuls of crisp, coniferous-scented air.

We’ve managed to revisit a few favourites from our summer visit — for example, enjoying harbourside bisque and a codfish sandwich at Princess Seafood and browsing the well-stocked shelves of the Gallery Bookshop. New haunts include the Cafe Beaujolais (extremely yummy lunch) and The Madrones (for a hattrick of Anderson Valley wine tastings).


Books, pods and scribbles

Okay, Okay, Okay, Finuala Dowling’s novel inspired by the student protests at the University of Cape Town is smart, funny, achingly poignant and powerful. Read my review in Business Day.

On Medium, I’ve written a rant about The Economist’s outrageous lack of diversity, and how it affects its coverage of the world.

Disappointing sequels:

  1. I started reading Winter, the sequel to Ali Smith’s amazing Autumn, and just couldn’t get into it. Have you read it; should I be patient and plough on?

  2. After about 20 extremely dull and disappointing pages, I also gave up on Find Me — the follow-up to Andre Aciman’s dazzling Call Me By Your Name. Don’t buy it!

Luckily, I’m now slowly and joyfully wading into Richard Powers’s transcendentally delightful The Overstory. With trees (my favourite thing!) at its core, it’s the perfect novel to read in a forest — or anywhere, actually.

Audio I’ve recently been enjoying includes:

  • Evil Genius: a panel of comedians skewers the reputations of the famous and (in)famous — including Amy Winehouse and JFK. Thought-provoking, hilarious (and sometimes a little sick)

  • Tunnel 29: the can’t-switch-it-off true story of a tunnel built underneath the Berlin Wall to rescue refugees from East Berlin

  • Cautionary Tales: Economist Tim Harford’s accounts of catastrophic mistakes from history — and the lessons we can learn from them


A little shout-out: The Wilds

A few months ago, I interviewed James Delaney for MONOCLE about how he and a band of volunteers have transformed The Wilds in Joburg from a derelict, dangerous park into a beautiful and safe sanctuary for all. James has launched a crowdfunding campaign (where you’re able to buy several of his gorgeous art prints — like the one below) to raise money for further improvements. Support this phenomenal cause — and get yourself some terrific South African art while you’re at it.


If you made it this far, thanks for reading! You’ve just finished my monthly dispatch about where I’ve been travelling, what I’ve been reading/listening to, and what I’ve been writing. It’s my old-school alternative to social media.

Feel free to hit “reply”! Travel tips, gossip, article ideas, podcast recommendations, rabies vaccines and news of novels you can’t live without are always welcome.

A seal pup, a man and a dog...

Greetings from Kommetjie

This morning on the beach, I looked up when I heard a bark. Lucy (pictured) was dashing towards a youngish seal pup which was now making his clumsy way towards the icy Atlantic. I called away Lucy, and we watched the seal’s hasty re-entry into the water. In a way, his departure reminded of my own relieved arrival to this sleepy seaside village three days ago.

After a dune-sized number of meetings and deadlines (interspersed with the occasional forest walk and visits to a few of my old favourite eateries — including the marvellous-as-ever Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia), I’ve retreated to Kommetjie for a few precious days of contemplative, creative quiet. A DIY writing retreat of sorts — entailing long stretches sans internet at all, deleting news emails en masse when I do go online, hitting the pause button on my (prodigious) podcast intake, and — most importantly — devoting hours to writing, reading (paper!) and long walks. Walking is a crucial component of the creative process, by the way. It’s amazing how light bulbs start flashing in your head when you’re amidst fynbos and staring at clouds.


Scribbles (and mutterings)

Finding Beauty Amidst the Brokenness: On Medium, my essay about how cultivating attention towards nature can help us to recognise signs of hope in the human world. In part, it’s inspired by Jenny Odell’s amazing book How to Do Nothing, in part, it’s the result of a few soul-nourishing visits to Newlands Forest.

The Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative: Business Day last week published my feature on this inspiring new hub for biodiversity education and training in Kruger National Park.

A holiday of ditches, dirty nails and rotting seaweed: I recently chatted on-air with Cape Talk radio’s John Maytham about the Business Day article exploring my agricultural adventures on the isle of Jura. Listen to my rambling here, or read the original article here.

In honour of the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup victory, here’s a piece from the archives (2016, to be exact) about the Jozi Cats, Africa’s first gay and inclusive rugby club.

Above — the Skukuza Science Leadership Initiative (picture by Alistair Daynes).


Books and pods

Half of a Yellow Sun: I’ve finally gotten around to this searingly brilliant novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Haunting, complex, exquisite.

Mzansi Zen — I’ve recently returned to reading Antony Osler’s third book, which offers so much gentle, calming and compassionate wisdom about living life in a country filled with bounties of both tragedy and despair. (Read my 2016 review of the book here).

Pivot — While its two bantering hosts are a tad self-regarding, this podcast is still arguably the smartest and sassiest weekly take on the colliding worlds of tech, business and politics.

On Being — this series of conversations between Krista Tippett and notable thinkers is an evergreen favourite. I recently listened to the chats with conversation with the late poet Mary Oliver and the 2012 conversation with audio ecologist Gordon Hempton. Both capture the exquisite connections between presence, attention and the natural world — and how this can both soothe and inspire us.


About this dispatch: Since fleeing social media, I’ve resorted to good old fashioned email to keep in touch — with a monthly dispatch about where I’ve travelled, what I’ve been reading/listening to, and what I’ve been writing. I hope you liked it!

"People just like you have died on this trail"

Hot and bothered in the Mojave

In Joshua Tree they scare the bejeezus out of you — and for good reason. Even in September, when most of the rest of the northern hemisphere has dipped towards saner temperatures, this national park remains bone-dry and furnace-hot. Not the best place, in other words, to get lost or run out of water. We did go on two shortish rambles in the park close to sunset, when it was marginally more bearable to be outside. In spite of the desert’s harshness, I loved it — the huge skies, golden silences, tumultuous geology and, of course, those weird plants.

On our last evening in the area, we went on another sunset jaunt (this time by car), to the tiny town of Amboy which serves as a pit-stop for honeymooners driving Route 66 in rented red Mustangs. Suddenly, our nostrils filled with petrichor and, for a few exhilarating minutes, drops were leaping from the metallic sky, spattering across the windscreen. Rain in the desert! There’s nothing quite like it.


Bye for now, ’Merica

As the US government isn’t terribly fond of foreigners who overstay their welcome, I headed to Europe not long after our desert adventure. Portugal (or at least its wild, southwestern coastline) is experiencing an endless, sun-drenched summer of its own. Happily, though, hiking here is less potentially hazardous to your health than in Joshua Tree — thanks to cooling Atlantic breezes and little village snack bars serving up icy drafts of Super Bock beer.

After 111km of walking (and a LOT of bread, meat, cheese, fish soup and hearty red wine) today was time to leave this gorgeous country (and to eat some salad).

In my piece on walking the Portuguese Camino last year, I described a multi-day hike as having the potential to be a retreat-in-motion. As fond as I am of road-tripping, motorised transport often involves a churning up — a clouding of thoughts, feelings and movement. However, when you’re on foot (and alone) for hours at a time, things slow right down; the mind’s sediment settles, allowing for a spacious clarity and sharpened perspectives to emerge.

Craig Mod nailed it when he recently wrote in Ridgeline (his weekly newsletter on walking): “Solo walking extends, I believe, a kind of invitation to the world to reach out and show you things otherwise hidden.” That applies inwardly as much as outwardly. It’s a gift — albeit not always an easy or comfortable one. (Not least because there’s something about miles of empty beaches and windswept cliffs that makes you miss your better half on the other side of the ocean even more terribly. Saudade indeed!)


Books, pods, emails

How to Do Nothing — this terrific manifesto by artist Jenny Odell doesn’t simply bemoan the alienating addictiveness of smartphones: it offers ideas about “resisting the attention economy” and leading richer, happier lives that are more deeply connected to the natural and social ecosystems which we’re part of.

Lie With Me — Philippe Besson’s autobiographical novella packs a punch, precisely capturing the powerful, lingering effect of a short-lived romance

In spite of (or perhaps partly because of?) my own Yeti-sized carbon footprint, I’ve been reading a lot about climate change and the environment lately:

  • I’m a big fan of the fascinating, rigorous reporting done by InsideClimate News, a non-profit environment-focused newsroom, which has a terrific weekly newsletter.

  • New York Times’s Climate Fwd: newsletter offers helpful advice on how to make a difference as well as a round-up of the Times’s climate coverage.

  • The new HEATED newsletter by Emily Atkin also offers interesting coverage of the climate crisis (among other things, she interviewed Greta and investigated the non-recyclability of the freezer bags Amazon Prime Now uses)

Speaking of Amazon, the first season of Recode’s Land of the Giants explores the extraordinary rise of this retail behemoth. At times the podcast feels a tad simplistic, but it is thought-provoking (and a little frightening) nonetheless.


The rugged Alentejo coastline, which is not dissimilar to South Africa’s West Coast.


This dispatch is a monthly round-up of where I’ve been, what I’ve read/listened to, and what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!

California dreamin'

Beneath the redwoods

Greetings from the Golden State

9,000 circuitous miles since setting off from Connecticut, I’ve reached the sun-seared, smog-stained, traffic-choked sprawl of Los Angeles. While the tacos are great and the city’s (multi)cultural vibrancy and creative and economic clout are enthralling, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Coming after months of living a mostly rural existence, the concrete, noise and crowds are a bit of a shock to the system.

At least respite — in the form of mountains, ocean and canyons — is never too far away. And, when I’m not able to jog/stagger up Runyon (from where the above was taken) or get my toes wet at Santa Monica beach, I can daydream about the redwoods of northern California’s Humboldt County. A few weeks (or a lifetime) ago, I was surrounded by the forest, neck craned and spine tingling, quietly admiring the soaring sweep of these ancient, hardy giants. There’s nothing quite like trees thousands of years old and hundreds of feet high to give you a jolt of perspective. These evergreen koans are wordless yet wondrously wise — if we’re prepared to stop and listen to them.


The long road south

I’m sorely tempted to run away to live on the (blissfully WiFi-free) lavender farm we stayed at in Mendocino. In this rural, quiet, understatedly stylish county four hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area we:

  • Wallowed in a shady swimming hole (Jenny Odell captured the magic of California’s swimming holes in a recent NYT piece — thanks Carien!)

  • Browsed at the excellent Gallery Bookshop which overlooks the headlands in charming Mendocino village

  • Ate fantastic food, including crab bisque and a codfish sandwich at the all-female-run Princess Seafood in Noyo Harbour and heavenly, charred pizza from Café Beaujolais' hole-in-the-wall pizzeria, The Brickery

  • Rode horses on a beach and kayaked through rumbling sea caves

  • Tasted Chards and Pinot Noirs in the redwood- and vine-covered Anderson Valley

Then came Sonoma County: the hushed and sterile “utopia” of Sea Ranch followed by scruffy, campy Guerneville. Bougie Healdsburg nearby was more my style (and palate: a tasty stromboli in the courtyard of Italian restaurant Campo Fina; Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Landmark at Hop Kiln along the winery-studded Westside Road).

Santa Cruz was like a Californian Blackpool. During our brief pitstop there, I felt as if I was trapped in a Lana del Rey music video — its gaudy Boardwalk the embodiment the epitome of summertime sadness.

Luckily, we had Big Sur to escape to: bracing river swims; a hike among redwoods. And my absolute favourite: a 1am soak in Esalen’s hot springs, watching the misty moonlit waves smash the rocks below.

Pictured above: Switzer Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains, a 40-minute drive (and then two-mile hike) from our north-east LA Airbnb. Paradise!


Jottings

  • For MONOCLE’s summer newspaper, a write-up about Mami Wata, the African surf brand (PDF)

  • A pithy Q&A with artist James Delaney in MONOCLE’s July/August cities-focused issue about how he and other volunteers transformed a Joburg park from a crime-ridden no-go area into an urban sanctuary. It’s behind a paywall, but you can read the extended version on my site

  • On Medium, an account of my recent travels in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia


Books and pods

  • The Nature Fix by Florence Williams: An easily digestible treatise on the sciencific research which explains why standing under redwoods (or hiking in the desert, or even a stroll in your neighbourhood park) benefits body, mind and soul

  • Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran: By turns hilarious, heartwarming and tragic, this 1978 novel (republished this year with a lovely forward by Alan Hollinghurst) elegantly and clear-sightedly captures the hedonistic frenzy of gay New York life after Stonewall and before AIDS. I’m pairing it with The Gay Metropolis — Charles Kaiser’s magisterial non-fiction account of gay life (and the gradually increasing tolerance of it) in American cities from the ’40s onwards. As we celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, inhabiting a time where “queer” is now mainstream and Pride has become a commodified and corporatised pastiche of its former activist self, I figured it’s worth being reminded of the courage, sacrifice, loss and lives of the queer people who’ve endured far greater prejudice than I (thankfully) have

  • Bundyville: I’m a few episodes into this rigorous, nuanced and spellbinding podcast about the ranchers fighting the US federal government. It touches on so many important themes — including religious fundamentalism, right wing terrorism, the future of public lands — and how these all intersect. This is podcasting at its addictive, thought-provoking best


This dispatch is a monthly round-up of where I’ve been, what I’ve read/listened to, and what I’ve written. Thanks for reading!

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