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Substack Reads: Spray-on fashion, jerseys as protest; plus, paragliding with my Uber driver
Turn off your notifications and get cozy; it’s time to settle into the weekend.
This week: more great writing, podcasts, and stories exploring all facets of living. From the third act of parenting to the snack that saved a life to making unexpected connections with two strangers, today’s edition is packed full of big ideas and even bigger questions to make you laugh and think. Enjoy!
The runway shows feel split between those offering fashion and those offering celebrity moments that will rank when you search “paris fashion week” in Google, writes Amy Odell
Harper’s Bazaar’s Rachel Tashjian pointed out that the spray-on fabric called Fabrican is nearly 20 years old, meaning this wasn’t exactly the technological innovation it was made out to be. She added:
“I struggled to see or feel anything other than discomfort at Hadid bending her arms and legs to the whims of these two men and their canisters. Hadid certainly looked fabulous, and clearly sold the idea to many; the whole charade left me convinced of only one thing, which is that Bella Hadid is a true supermodel.”
[...] Asked about how cold she was, Hadid told the Times, “Honey, cold is an understatement… I really blacked out.”
Coperni chief executive Arnaud Vaillant explained that [lead designer Charlotte] Raymond came out to finish the dress instead of creative director Sébastien Meyer because “it would have been a bit pretentious for Sébastien to do it. We wanted something more humble.” This makes no sense.
The purpose of having Bella Hadid saunter practically naked onto your runway is not to make a point about being humble. It’s to scream to the Google gods SHINE THAT SWEET, SWEET RANKING UPON ME.
A series of unexpected “yeses” brought three strangers together for the adventure of their lives
Diana said when she got my text asking if she wanted to paraglide, she was transporting some radio executives who told her she was crazy if she were to accept my invitation. “She’s a stranger! Why would you go paragliding with her? It’s also so dangerous!”
She told me that when she told her kids that a random stranger had asked her to go paragliding, she was expecting them to tell her not to go. But on the contrary, they supported her and encouraged her to do it.
My new internet friend Juan was another story. He’s in his early 30s and said he hardly checked the Yes Theory Discord channel and for some reason decided to check it that day. “I’d never seen anyone come to Medellín from Yes Theory, so I was so surprised when I saw your post. Of course I’d say yes to a spontaneous adventure!”
Was Denmark’s football uniform provider Hummel right to make a stand against the World Cup in Qatar? U.K. writer Lee Wellings homes in on the intersection where sports and politics collide
Teams neglecting to wear their real kit is the least important thing in sport that bothers me. But what Denmark and Hummel have done? It’s important that the reason this has happened is openly discussed and analysed. The message has landed, and whether or not they had the right to send it, it’s certainly put the human rights questions for Qatar right back in the spotlight.
World Cups and winning games are as big as sport gets, changing lives, raising national moods, and causing great joy. But what we see on the pitch is only part of it. We must never accept any human rights issues because ‘the football has started’. Enjoy the games, yes, but don’t sanitise the event.
Doug Mack pauses his usual foodie forays for a personal history of sport shakes, chronic illness, and the pursuit of normalcy
The surgeon reversed the ostomy a few months later, this time at the big hospital in the city, but there were many other trips to the small-town medical center near campus over the next few years. For a while, I also had to get supplemental nutrition from an IV line at home, setting up the pump and connecting the line to the port on my arm every night. A doctor told me I should be “drinking milkshakes with impunity” and I laughed and thought, well, I guess that’s my new Sport Shake.
Even with my illness now on full display, undisguisable, no one around me cared, which I mean in the best possible way. My shyness, though still a constant presence, started to fade a bit. I had found my people. They knew my limits. They visited me in the hospital when things got bad. I never had to go back to Nutrament and Peptamen, but if I had, my roommates would’ve gladly cleared some space in the tiny dorm fridge, moving the Nalgene full of Dr. Pepper and the moldy yogurt container out of the way.
They knew what they needed to know and they didn’t worry about it.
Every visit from Alex Dobrenko’s Ukrainian immigrant parents feels like a Shakespearean play. The question is simply which kind of play it’ll be—comedy or tragedy
Allow me to introduce my parents, two unique, delicate flowers terrified of any and all things that might blow them away. When they visit, they bring slippers from Rhode Island in plastic bags. They do not under any circumstances drink anything but bottled water. They will not eat at any restaurants except for one—Fish King—where they both order the same meal—swordfish with rice and steamed veggies—every single time. “Why would we eat at a restaurant when your mom’s cooking is the best cooking!?” they say, not joking even a little bit.
They are both on the shorter side—my mom coming in right under 5 feet and my dad about my height at 5 foot 6. And let me just stress: they love slippers.
For them, all of this is normal. For them, I am the insane one, the American who would risk eating food at some random restaurant run by some random people who are gonna do god knows what to the food and then just expect us to TRUST that it will be okay? That it will be healthy and also good and also not kill us? Now THAT is crazy, they would say.
Early web pioneer Michael Cina, who also creates artwork for music newsletter Herb Sundays, shares the process of his latest font in his new Substack
Typefaces are a labor of love. I completed Chrysalis in a cabin, close to the boundary waters. I make typefaces to relax but also as a tool for design. Designing letterforms/fonts is a process that engages a different part of my brain and is always challenging, like a puzzle. It’s part chess, part sculpting, while managing and designing a system for later use. I also see typefaces as an “open brand system” that is adaptable. Creatively, it’s almost the exact opposite side of my brain as painting, but there is a connection between the two still.
As part of his new podcast Ideas Don’t Bleed, comic artist Matthew Rosenberg and the Supple Boiz speak to candid photographer and comics portraitist Gerry Duggan
A few years ago I was taking the downtown A train late one night with Gerry Duggan for some reason or another. And, as often happens, a person started being uncool on the train. They had been acting strangely and yelling at passengers at random for a few stops when suddenly they went off. Screaming, pushing, throwing things, snarling, spitting. People began to flee. And as I turned to Gerry to tell him we should switch cars, I found him with his camera in hand, snapping photos of everyone involved, a look of pure delight on his face. As the car began to empty around us, I felt it was my duty, as a native New Yorker, to really explain to Gerry that we were about to be in a bad situation. I quietly stated what I thought was becoming obvious.
“Gerry, we need to go. This is when people get stabbed.”
And Gerry turned away from his camera’s display for a second to look me in the eye and say my favorite thing.
“Matthew, this is when the good stuff happens.”
Nobody got stabbed. Gerry got some amazing photos. And none of them were even good enough to make it into his beautiful new book. But I was glad I was there to watch him work. I’m glad the book exists. And I’m glad we got to talk about it for you all to hear.
Illustrator Alex Testere is reminded to pay attention by the attention-seeking mushroom
Recently launched on Substack
We’re trying out a new section in Substack Reads to highlight a fresh crop of recently launched publications. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Reality Shield by Dan Mangan: Reality Shield is a place where beloved Canadian indie musician Dan Mangan shares new songs, demos, live recordings, and writing. It serves as a home base for his community, and subscribers get an all-access pass to Dan’s brain.
Notes from Three Pines by Elizabeth Held and Aya Martin Seaver: Fans of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books celebrate the upcoming A World of Curiosities with essays exploring the world of Gamache, the pets of Three Pines, Queer Theory, sandwiches, and more.
Dr.G’s Briefing by Sebastian Gorka: Military and intelligence analyst and former Trump government official and advisor Sebastian Gorka writes about muscle cars, books, guns, chocolate, science fiction, and ’80s music.
Substack Reads is a weekly roundup of writing, ideas, art, and audio from the world of Substack. Posts are recommended by staff and readers, and curated and edited from Substack’s U.K. outpost by Hannah Ray.
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