Sunday Morning Stuff 11/08

Sods Law, or if you’re American Murphy’s Law, means if something can go wrong it will go wrong. I in Britain it also means that the “wrong” will happen at the worst possible time. So, I take a week off work, thinking about all the running I’ll be able to do and yes of course I get injured. Then of course I don’t respect my own rules about resting and end up running or at least trying to run on five of the seven days and here we are, with me slapping magnesium oil on my thighs. But that does leave plenty of time for sweet sweet stuff so let’s take a look what this last week has had to offer.  

Reading…

There are so many Stephen King books that I haven’t read, and so many of them are of such intimidating length that I’ve never even made much attempt to get into them. With that said The Shining has been gathering dust on my shelf for a while now, but I’ve finally picked it up and started my journey with it. Wish me luck.

Listening to…

Twitter exploded in response to a 50 Greatest Rappers List posted by an up and coming music podcast that was just outrageously bad. Just unforgivable. I’m not exactly the biggest hip-hop nerd and I have been pretty minimally engaged with the genre in recent years (although in place of a typical emo phase most white kids had, I had a rap one) I knew just how diabolical this list was.

If you want to see the list in full and understand exactly what makes it so poor I reckon you should check out Anthony Fantano’s video on it.

But if anything good came from this shocking lack of taste, it was how it made me evaluate my own favourites. I tried to put together a loose playlist featuring thirty of my favourite artists (I included groups as well as solo acts, although I did break up Wu-Tang) and this got me rediscovering some of my most beloved songs of all time, and also made me appreciate what we have happening in the rap game today.

To an extent hip-hop has never been more commercial and homogenised. Pop music has appropriated many of the most popular facets of its production, but with this standardisation comes a natural resistance. Listen to Denzel Curry, Rico Nasty, Run the Jewels. Try Doja Cat. Listen to BROCKHAMPTON. Look at Zack Fox. They’re turning things up to eleven. They’re delivering hip-hop on a destructive, rage-induced level that hasn’t been seen before. They’re making things weird. They’re keeping things interesting.

Playing…

Thanks to the power of Game Pass I’ve been dabbling in a little of Arkane Games’ Prey (2017). It is absolutely excellent. It’s rare to play a game which feels like it is about something deeper than what lies on the surface, but from the very beginning Prey asks questions about reality, humanity, and identity. It does this within the boundaries of an extremely entertaining first-person action game.

I don’t want to talk too much about the story because there is no sense in spoiling anything. I managed to avoid any spoilers in the two years between the game’s release and me actually picking up the thing to play, and I advise doing the same yourself. All you need to know is that you will find yourself on a space-station, and on this station there will be an outbreak of an alien race which has the ability to mimic nearly any object, making them extremely difficult to identify, troublesome to kill, and capable of delivering excellent jump scares. It is a game which encourages experimentation, improvisation, and role playing. There are plenty of avenues down which you can develop your powers, and the game gives out just enough resources to keep you upgrading and building and experimenting, but never so much that you feel overpowered. The atmosphere is one of dread, aided by a fantastic sci-fi score and grade-A voice acting.

This is one I think I’ll be writing about in more detail in the future.

Watching…

I can’t really explain why I started watching Basketball or Nothing on Netflix, but once I started a could hardly stop. It follows the trials of a High School basketball team from the Navajo Nation in Arizona as they attempt to win their first ever state championship.

Here’s the thing: I don’t care about basketball. I know nothing about basketball. I’ve seen Space Jam, that’s it.

But whoa, did I care about those boys by the end of the series. I was completely invested in their campaign, and their lives beyond High School. The series is fuelled by the simultaneous apprehension and excitement of its subjects and does a fantastic job of making each game as exciting as any top division game I’ve ever seen in any sport and is fantastically empathetic to the boy’s plight outside of the ludicrously oversized gymnasiums which house these young athlete’s games. One of the best things I’ve seen all year.

Running…

Nope.

And that’s that for this week’s Sunday Morning Stuff. I’m off to feel sorry for myself about my hip, and probably watch more sports documentaries on Netflix. If I can’t be athletic, I’ll just have to watch others do the work for me.

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