Meta Letta

Things have been erratic of late: my adherence to schedule, my focus, the quality of my writing and photography. The only truly consistent elements have been a nagging imposter syndrome and an increasingly diminishing faith in my projects, this one included.

I’ve never been one to anthropomorphise the concept of a ‘muse’; I can see why it’s a handy construct, but all too often when people talk about their muses it’s regarding their absence. It’s a handy way of externalising periods of poor creative output. The alternative is to put in the work, to trudge through the quagmire of clunky text, to post the poorly composed photos, even to ignore reassurances given in good faith. You know when things aren’t right, when things need work – there is a vision and it either needs to be worked towards, or abandoned.

Here’s the good news: I don’t abandon lightly.

Mixed Media

I think I’m ready to re-read Gillen and McKelvie’s seminal comic, Phonogram. It won’t be my first re-read, by any stretch, but the occasion is different. This time it’s not for the art, or the artifice, it’s the very premise itself: Music. Is. Magic.

It’s an easy enough concept, we all have memories of that song that we played on endless repeat, that band we were obsessed with, that moment at a gig or festival where the entire world collapsed into a single point – all that existed was that single musical moment and it felt… magical. It gets harder to recapture that as we get older and our attentions seems spread so much thinner. Who even has the spiritual energy for that kind of dedication? That obsession? That religious fervour? But, last week, I did feel a glimmer of it return.

The gig in question was Foals in Brixton, and there was a moment where I closed my eyes and let it wash over me:

The joy. The thrill. The bass vibrating ribcage. The roar of thousands of people singing along to their favourite songs. The magic.

For just a moment, that time, that place, that feeling was all that existed. And it felt good to be reminded of it, reminded of how it felt. And that’s why I’m going re-read Phonogram. Because the magic they talk about isn’t just going to be something I read about, it’s going to be something I remember feeling again.

Speaking of Kieron Gillen, and continuing the theme of mixed media, in recent years he had a very successful independent comic called DIE which uses a roleplaying game as its narrative vehicle. Never one to shy away from being a bit extra, after years of development and play testing, that RPG is now available on Kickstarter for those who are into that kind of thing. 

And finally, late to the party as ever, I have recently discovered, and purchase Lore Olympus. It started as a webcomic and is a modern retelling of the relationship between the Greek goddess and god Persephone and Hades. Starting in 2018, it is one of the most popular webcomics ever, has won a Harvey award, and has been nominated for for an Eisner Award. It has since been published in glorious hardback, and Netflix has bought the streaming rights. Rumours are, the animated series will be coming to screens later this year. Fingers crossed! 

Mono Media

Yeah, I know, I’m getting silly with the headings now, but I’ll do literally anything to break out of my rut.

Something a bit more rapid-fire perhaps?

Netflix restricting account sharing – I can’t quite bring myself to care to be honest, though some family members might have to decide whether or not they want their own account. Do I think it’s a sensible business move by Netflix? Hard to say, it does reek a bit of a desperate plea to shareholders. But it’s not account sharing that’s hampering their share price, it’s the competition and the fact they’ve never turned a profit.

A Simple Favour – Is getting a sequel! This makes me very happy, I very much enjoyed the original movie. I don’t have very high expectations for the sequel, but I will be watching it.

My Chemical Romance – I did not foresee MCR returning to the music scene, but it does dovetail with the increased interest in the early noughties alternative scene. The new track is very much in keeping with their oeuvre, and can be found on the playlist.

Photo of the Fortnight 

Let me illustrate something I mentioned at the beginning. Here’s a flat lay I shot last week: 

It’s perfectly fine; it’s better than some I’ve seen. But when I look at this, once I get past the fairly unoriginal concept, here’s what I see:

  • The angles that the cutlery are at is neither perfectly symmetrical, nor interesting asymmetrical. It’s just askew.
  • Same with the positioning of the surrounding ingredients
  • The oregano at the top isn’t sufficiently green to balance with the lime and bay leaf. A better choice would have been some freshly chopped basil
  • The mustard powder has clumped, giving it too different a texture to the more muted paprika
  • The ying yang symbol in the spices doesn’t really come across, but even if it did, that has no connection with anything else in the photo, it’s an orphaned concept. 

Some of this was down to rushing the photo, of course. A level of ‘good enough’ had been reached and that was that. But if I was honest with myself, a little more work, a little more care, would have brought this a little closer to the vision I had in my mind.


So there we go, and here we are. 

I’m not going to do to critical an edit pass of this fortnight’s newsletter, because the end result will probably be a list like above and the resultant feeling of disappointment. But while having a vision and a goal are laudable, while striving towards them is how excellence is achieved, it’s also true that ‘perfect is the enemy of good’. 

And sometimes you just have to press the button marked Publish, and hope you can rediscover the magic.