Clubhouse, Hendrix, Democracy, Didion, Voyaging

A weekly selection of fine writing from Conked.


Clubhouse is the latest example of how capitalism screws Black creators

Michael Jones | The Supercreator | 26 JAN 2021

A discussion about the Clubhouse application and their recent round of funding. This voice-based social app has shown growth recently with huge contributions from black creators, including a live musical of The Lion King with actors, musicians, a choir and narrators and 50,000+ listeners. Where it was recently a place for venture capitalists, some with divisive views, it now has a valuation of $1 billion and a change in content and discussion focus. While there are many plans for the development of the app for creators and their listeners, there have been reports that some people of colour have faced racist abuse and barriers to success on Clubhouse. (1.433 words)

Rewinding Jimi Hendrix’s National Anthem

Paul Grimstad | The New Yorker | 26 JAN 2021

This article is a homage to Jimi Hendrix, written by fan Paul Grimstad, and Hendrix's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock in 1969. As a child, he tried to concoct his own wardrobe to look like Hendrix and learnt many of his songs. Grimstad soon hunted down a VHS cassette of Michael Wadleigh's documentary of Woodstock and eagerly watched Hendrix's performance with his take on the US national anthem. With his own experience in the army, perhaps Hendrix felt deeply about the young men in Vietnam, many dying, and his masterful use of feedback and distortion seem to echo the sounds of battle. (1,423 words)

A pro-democracy activist on Hong Kong’s year of turmoil: “The city itself is dying”

Jen Kirby | Vox | 26 JAN 2021

This article discusses the year Hong Kong experienced huge protests by the pro-democracy movement through an interview with Joey Siu, a student activist. Siu also has US citizenship and is now based there, continuing her fight for freedom by lobbying lawmakers to draw attention to the struggle in Hong Kong. As the protests shifted from a focus on an extradition law to a battle against the Chinese communist regime, the situation became even more dangerous. When the national security law was imposed, Siu made the difficult decision to leave rather than face arrest and continues the struggle for democracy where she has the freedom to speak openly. (4,804 words)

Joan Didion: Why I Write

Joan Didion | Literary Hub | 26 JAN 2021

In this excerpt from Let Me Tell You What I Mean, Joan Didion talks of discovering herself to be a writer - not a thinker, not an intellectual, not an ideas person. Instead, a person who focussed on the tangible, the sights, smells and tastes of life who spent her "most absorbed and passionate hours...arranging words on pieces of paper." She explains so well the process of her writing, and how even the sentences she may initially write are a mystery to her in terms of the characters or story at that stage. Yet, if she knew all the answers, perhaps she would not need to write a novel? (2,585 words)

I Saw the World on Cruise Ships

Devin Murphy | Outside | 19 JAN 2021

As a young man, Devin Murphy realised he could create his own adventures if he pursued them, and eventually, he ended up working for tour and cruise ships. In this fascinating article Murphy describes the characters he met working on the ships - not always positive - and the unique situations and experiences he had. He experienced the northern lights, saw orca whales, was chased by a polar bear while in a rubber boat, poured champagne surrounded by penguins and dealt with a dead body. All the time he was writing in his notebooks in order to capture these experiences until finally, despite the stories he collected, he wanted to give up the voyaging life. (4,933 words)


“I don't know what I think until I write it down.”

― Joan Didion

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Rand Leeb-du Toit, Conkerer

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