Chris Rea begins homeward journey ➜
Chris Rea has set off on the drive back to his house for the festive season, it has been confirmed.
Ho-ho-home for the holidays!
Take It Away: The Complete Paul McCartney Archive Podcast ➜
I discovered Take it Away a few weeks ago: It’s a podcast dedicated to Paul McCartney’s solo career, one album at a time. It’s definitely for the really dedicated fan, and the hosts tend to be give Macca more leeway than others perhaps would, but it’s nice to finally hear something nice about Press to Play. They also discuss the infamous pot bust in Japan, and, like Tom Doyle in his excellent McCartney biography Man on the Run, wonder why McCartney would put a full pound of hash in his travel bag, barely bothering to hide it. It’s a a mystery for the ages why a prodigious pot smoker of two decades would do something like that, but perhaps one day we’ll find out.
I bought a safety razor a few weeks ago, and it’s going pretty well, even though it felt a bit intimidating at first. Over the years, I’ve tried multiple Gillette variations, cheaper alternatives like BIC as well as several types of electric shavers. The safety razor took a few weeks to get used to, although I feel like I learned quite a bit about the science of shaving, after cutting myself a bunch of times.
Shaving is also a nice little ritual to have in your day. You can’t really rush the process of scraping a super sharp knife over your face, so you have to take care and spend some time on it. My kids are too young that I feel comfortable leaving it within reach, so it’s hidden away in the back of the top shelf, where they can’t get at it. So the ritual becomes taking the razor back out, lathering up, shaving, cleaning and putting it back up. It’s not much, I grant you, but it still feels healthful. More than anything, I suppose it’s a reminder that rituals, however minute, have value in themselves.
All 131 Van Halen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best ➜
Chuck Clostermann on Eruption, Eddie Van Halen’s landmark, rule-changing solo from Van Halen’s eponymous debut album.
I realize that if you hate Van Halen, this is precisely what you hate. You hate the sensation of having your brain trapped in a beehive, you hate the distance between the proficiency of the artist and the potentiality of his audience, and you hate that this guy just invented the 1980s. But if you love Van Halen, this is what you love, and you can listen to it a thousand times without diminishing returns. The experience does not evolve. You will always be inside that guitar.
The whole thing is worth a read, as Closterman pieces usually are, but his take on Eruption is extra good, because he captures in words what it feels like to be excited by music.
I’m three episodes into The Haunting of Bly Manor. It’s more of a slow burn than The Haunting of Hill House, which is a nice change of pace. For some reason, though, I can’t stop thinking about the young actor playing Flora also being the current Peppa Pig. Anyway, some nice callbacks to Jack Clayton’s The Innocents from 1961 as well.
Cycling to work: major new study suggests health benefits are staggering ➜
This study makes quite a compelling case for cycling.
We found that cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.
Fascinating, and, if I may be frank, validating.