Things are ticking over in Denmark: restaurants, museums etc. are still closed but people are allowed to meet up if they *have* to. As such Netflix is still the lion’s share of evening activities, but it’s been nice to see a couple of people face to face.
On the work front, things are developing nicely. I’m now struggling to keep tabs on my different clients and so am in the process of getting my first “proper hire” (even if we just start part time) which also means I’ve graduated to needing a financial model to keep track of costs. Spreadsheet fun awaits…
I’m writing this from our apartment in Copenhagen where the prospect of early evening walks has opened up again thanks to more sociable sunset times. This evening we’re treating ourselves to Grød which is a little amusing seeing as it shares the etymological root with the peasant food “gruel“.
Anyway, on with this month’s newsletter..!
Things I’ve been thinking about last month
- In 2015 I became a “default vegetarian”: it came from a sense of wanting to eat less meat, but also acknowledging that, in practical terms, I needed some get out clauses. My approach was to say that my default stance was to take the vegetarian option, so I wouldn’t constantly get in a should I/ shouldn’t I situation when faced with food choices
- “I’m not like, an actual vegetarian”: this idea of being a bit fuzzy between eating less meat but not being absolutist has become more popular but I always felt it struggled to be a “thing” without a proper name.
- Flexitarianism is the word: it seems that the English language was settled on “flexitarian” that encapsulates this idea: “Joe, I thought you didn’t eat meat?” “It’s OK, I’m flexitarian” *mutual non confusion*.
- A word = “a thing”: I really like this article about the power of giving things a name (e.g. downsizing). Once it enters a shared lexicon it has a status that means others can freely start discussing it
- Will it happen with alcohol?: as dry January finishes (for some) and the trend away from perennial boozing continues (for some) it’s interesting to think whether people who try and drink less, but don’t identify as teetotal will also find a word that can be used as a response to “Joe, are you not having a drink?” and “Joe, I thought you didn’t drink?”
- Non-alcohol alternatives?: either way, it’s been interesting to see how the no/ low alcohol market is picking up. If you’re after some tasty kombucha, my friend is giving away free cans of his new brew
Let me know if you have any ideas for Joe’s response “It’s OK, I’m a …”
A selection of podcasts etc. I’ve enjoyed recently
- Yotam Ottolenghi: my life in five dishes | The Food Chain: a culinary Desert Island Discs. Ottolenghi has an interesting life story which is well covered in this format. The description of hummus has pushed the Middle East up the travel list…
- Stop Micromanaging | HBR IdeaCast: there’s delicacy in giving good feedback. I’ve experienced the annoying version (micromanaging) and the absent version (giving no support). As managers can often help, but are also the “adjudicators” of team members’ work it’s best for them to state what role they are playing when reviewing work
- The book that predicted 2020 would be a disaster | Witness History: I really like the storytelling of his podcast. This talks about the Club of Rome in the 1970s breaking the news that infinite unlimited growth wasn’t a reality
- How to Relax More and Work Less | Life Kit: a lot of this is reciting well known adages about the importance of taking a break, but it does well at going further by coming up with practical responses to ones inner voice saying that it makes sense to keep on working (“if it’s not important nor urgent, forget it”)
I’ve also been enjoying some “Lo-Fi music” this month. This playlist is a good intro to the genre.
- How Fanta Was Created for Nazi Germany | Atlas Obscura: I can’t remember how, but this came up in a sofa conversation this month. It was one of those dubious things I remember hearing years ago (“Did you know Fanta was Nazi coke?”) but it turns out to be true…
- The New Abolitionism | The Atlantic: a really interesting framing. The author delicately draws the comparison of how both slavery and keeping carbon in the earth require powerful people with vested interests forgoing economic gain
- Blackass | A Igoni Barrett: an enjoyable Nigerian novel about what happens to a black man when he wakes with his skin turned white
- 150 Great Articles & Essays to Read Online | TETW: a solid curated list I found after some self-flagellation from scrolling on Twitter for too long…
- Another Round: thought provoking film exploring the upsides of being drunk the whole time. In Danish it’s called Druk
- Lupin | Netflix: kind of like a French version of Sherlock with some additional societal dimensions to the storylines
- Eurovision | Netflix: Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdam are a small town Icelandic pair hoping to win big by entering the Eurovision song contest. Lots of silliness.