“Who was more influential, Churchill or the Duchess of Windsor?” says Stephanie, and roars with laughter.
We are at The Stafford in London, the starting point of a six-day barge cruise along the Thames. From here, the small group of eight guests will be driven to the Magna Carta, a 1930s barge that was once used to transport gravel but has now been converted into a boutique hotel for tourists. American tourists, mostly. They love this shit. I’m the only Brit here, and the only one, apparently, who has no idea who the Duchess of Windsor is.
For me, all…
Much like the first time I did a Masterclass I am going into this completely biased.
I love Tan France. Love him. I watch anything he is on. I have read his book. I follow him on Instagram. Some times when I can’t sleep I rewatch his Architectural Digest house tour. I think he is everything that is good and right with the world, mixed with a little snark and style.
I am so distracted by the fact that his hair does not move no matter how much he bobs his head. What a sad commentary on straight men…
I love David Sedaris. He’s so catty, self-deprecating and honest that I could listen to him all day. In fact, I do listen to everything he produces on Audible, where he reads his own work.
Theft by Finding, the 40-years of diaries he published in 2017, provide one of the most useful insights into what it means to be a writer. You can see how Sedaris constantly engages in the world, observes it, and most importantly records his thoughts and experiences in text. It’s also comforting to follow his journey as a writer; The New Yorker writer who has sold…
I’ve been holding off publishing this one for a while now, since there seem to be many more important things going in the world that need space. While we are talking about Black Lives Matter, racial, environmental and social justice, it seems frivolous to think about what makes good comedy. Shouldn’t we be using our energy and voices in a more useful way?
We need you to make comedy because life fucking sucks right now — Judd Apatow.
It’s a question I discussed on my recent podcast episode on Satire, Pranks and How Making Jokes can Smash the Patriarchy, which…
Since we’re all in quarantine, what better time to experiment in the kitchen?
Massimo Bottura has some amazing recipes such as homemade tortellini in parmigiano cream, pasitelli with a broth that requires the slow overnight oven cooking of vegetable scraps, and an amazing complex layered “spin-painted” beet inspired by the artwork of Damien Hirst.
Be free to experiment, and be free to choose your own flavour. — Masssimo Bottura.
I loved watching Bottura’s passion and sheer Italian-ness in his Modern Italian Cooking Masterclass, but the idea of actually spending hours making smoked olive oil and zero-waste vegetable stock gave way…
Everything in life is a negotiation. Life is a negotiation. It doesn’t matter if you’re a terrorist or a businesswoman.
Chris Voss is a former FBI negotiator who worked on over 150 hostage cases including the Jill Caroll case in Iraq, the Steve Centanni case in the Gaza Strip, and the Dwight Watson case in Washington D.C. He retired from the FBI in 2007 then founded Black Swan, a company that helps individuals and companies develop their negotiation skills.
As you know, I’m struggling a bit with my ambitious plan to do one Masterclass a week, so I outsourced one to my brilliant and funny friend Rina Grob. Rina was the perfect choice to do Natalie Portman’s Masterclass on Acting because she’s studied drama and worked in the theatre, film and creative industries. Also, she can’t stand Natalie Portman.
Here’s her review.
I should preface this by saying I can’t consciously remember ever seeing a Natalie Portman film. In fact that first thing I did before starting this masterclass was to Google her to make sure this was correct…
I’ve fallen a bit behind in my Masterclass program because I was writing a mega article about sex tech. It turns out that it’s pretty hard to learn one new thing a week while trying to do other things at the same time — who’d have thought???
In any case, I sped through Will Wright’s Masterclass on Game Design and Theory and had a lot of fun doing so, which was surprising because I actually don’t play computer games. I used to play Tetris, if that counts, and Solitaire on my big old Windows desktop as a teenager. Oh, and…
I photograph people. It allows me to have a point of view, and have a voice — Annie Leibovitz
Annie Leibovitz decided that she did not want to be a photojournalist because she wanted to have more of a say; to be conceptual rather than objective in her work. She sees herself as an artist, who uses photography as her medium.
With that said, she thinks photojournalism is some of the most powerful work being done today. When Leibovitz looks at the New York Times every day, she looks at what photographs were chosen, their placement, how they are used…
This week’s post is a few days late, not because I didn’t finish the poetry masterclass on time — I did! But I wanted a poem that I had produced as a result of the course to form this week’s main content, and getting that into some kind of shape that would be useful in demonstrating the principles and process behind it took more time than expected.
Before I move onto that, I wanted to briefly discuss the question of voice.