My Obsession With the Bon Appetit Cinematic Universe →

Throwback to that moment last year when my entire YouTube home screen was taken up by Brad Leone, so this one really hits home.

(Also, the “Bon Appetit Cinematic Universe”? 😗👌)

It's so much more than cooking →

Leaving aside the sexism in this article, I feel like it’s articulated a lot of things that have been bothering me subconsciously. My job is 100% remote and I work from home, so there’s a sort of expectation in our house that I’ll do almost all of the the cooking. And that’s sort of fine, because I genuinely enjoy cooking. But it’s also extremely stressful because it’s not just cooking. It’s the planning (two small picky-eating children who even smell garlic and complain “it’s too spicy!”), it’s the shopping, it’s the prepping. It’s the mental and emotional labour around cooking that makes it so stressful.

Inside the Tiny Bedroom Where Finneas and Billie Eilish Are Redefining Pop Music

Over the summer, I watched the Showtime documentary series Shangri-La, which is all about Rick Rubin and creativity and inspiration and his Malibu studio, which is treated like some holy place by everyone in the documentary. For example, when they are between artists, Rubin has his interns repaint the studio floors - I dunno, to make it feel like some blank page for the next artist that’s going to use it?

By contrast, Billy Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was produced in her childhood home, by her brother, using prosumer-level equipment. And, for my money, it was one of the best-produced albums of 2019.

This video is a really great companion piece to Shangri-La - both emphasise how important the space is to the creative process, but they approach the topic from entirely different ends of the spectrum.

Now

tl;dr this site now has a /now page where you can keep track of what I’m up to right now.


Back in the old days – I mean the old old days – there was this wonderful command called finger where you could look up information about users on a UNIX system1. It would tell you some personal information about the user, like their name and their phone number. But my favourite part about this command was that it would also return the contents of the user’s plan file.

.plan was supposed to be to tell people what you were working on that day, but people eventually turned started using it for other forms of expression. I guess it was an early form of microblogging2.

Looking at the blogs I still read in 2019, there’s a lot of “here are a list of curated links to cool things on the internet” and there’s a lot of “here is an article I have written so I can include it as a ‘publication’ on my linkedin profile”. But there’s not much in terms of personal writing. I never get a real sense of what the person writing the blog is doing, what they’re working on, what they’re reading, what’s bothering them (And before you say “isn’t that what Twitter is for?” I’d ask have you actually seen Twitter these days?) (And don’t get me started on Facebook).

The idea behind a ‘now’ page is to bring back some of that same .plan feeling. From Derek Sivers’s nownownow.com:

Besides answering the common question, “What are you up to these days?”, those who have a now page say it’s a good reminder of their priorities. By publicly showing what you are focused on now, it helps you say no to other requests.

So if you want to see what I’m up to now, you can just go to lowbrowculture.com/now.


  1. I realise the command wasn’t limited to just UNIX systems, but let’s just keep it simple, shall we?
  2. For a great example of someone using the .plan file and watching its use morph over time, check out the John Carmack .plan Archive

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: The Final Rodeo →

I wasn’t fully taken with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (On my letterboxd ranking of Tarantino films, it’s second from bottom), but Priscilla Page makes a pretty great argument for the film, explaining a lot of the smaller details that idiots like me might have missed, such as:

… their front gate opening to him like the pearly gates of heaven as Maurice Jarre’s “Miss Lily Langtry” plays. (When this song plays in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, the title card reads: “Maybe this isn’t the way it was…it’s the way it should have been.”)

An Elite Athlete's Training Plan →

You don’t necessarily have to train long for this, just smart. This is true for nearly any endurance event, whether it’s a 5K or 100 miles or everyday life. You have to be creative. You have to steal time from the edges of your day, teach yourself to eat on the fly, learn to function on suboptimal sleep, and keep going even when you want to lie down and cry. In other words, just like parenthood.

I’m not an elite athlete, but I am father to two children under 4 and it definitely confirm what this lady is saying - being a parent makes you very good at two things: ruthlessly prioritising and getting comfortable existing at the edges of what most people would consider ‘tolerable living’. I haven’t had an unbroken night of sleep in almost four years. When I finish something for myself, even something as simple as reading a book, it’s because I slowly slowly chipped away at it and it feels like a major accomplishment.

Anyway, this lady’s whole article is terrific and is worth reading.

An Important Update From Chef →

After the previous update by Barry Crist effectively saying “suck it up, losers”, Chef have announced that they would not be renewing their contract with ICE and CBP. More importantly though, it sounds as though they’ll be bringing a moral element to their business decisions from now on. This can only be a good thing.

Five Books →

Ever since the death of The Oyster Review, I’ve been pretty suck for a good source of book recommendations. The Algorithm is good at many things but recommending things that depend on personal tastes and interests is not one of them. Five Books seems like it might be a good replacement though1. It bypasses The Algorithm and asks real live human experts to recommend, as the name implies, five books on a given topic. For example, 5 Sci-Fi books on the future of Europe, or 5 books on The Art of Living.


  1. Come to think of it, could Five Books actually be related to The Oyster Review? “five books” was one of their original features too.

Come to the Edge

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
And he pushed,
And they flew.

– Christopher Logue