From Emo to Indie

Such is art to be introspective, but how much is too much?

The Emo Diaries: The Digital Generation and How They Express Themselves

Zach Braff’s would-be mistress in The Last Kiss first seduces him with the bittersweet truth that: "The world is moving so fast now that we start freaking long before our parents did because we don't ever stop to breathe anymore."

Mid-life crises make for less trendy material, and so it’s the quarter-life crises of hipster working professionals that have the digital generation all a buzz. Proving to the world they have their fingers on the pulse, the creative team of Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick – also behind My So-Called Life and the Leonardo DiCaprio film Blood Diamond – are set to release Quarterlife, an online internet series about twentysomethings "coming of age in the digital generation," on November 11th.

Quarterlife will be distributed through Myspace in eight-minute video clips. Shortly after, episodes will also be available for download off quarterlife.com – a new social networking site targeted at media-types and creative-wannabes with promises to help them "get discovered". The show itself follows a group of young writers and artists who are searching for their "big break".

Internet series have been made before, such as YouTube’s infamous http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/19376/”>lonelygirl15. In 2006 Imogen Heap used MySpace to choose supporting acts for a UK tour. And more recently Film4 and Vertigo Films used MySpace to audition actors for Faintheart, a romantic comedy set for summer 2008.

But Quarterlife has been hailed by some in the media industry as "the first ‘network quality’ show to be produced specifically for the Web."

Harry Potter and Crises of Identity: Who do you belong to?

Last week, Harry Potter as a left-wing intellectual hero who triumphs over the middle-class petit bourgeoisie. The cover story, "Why Harry Potter is of the Left" identified the non-magical Muggles as the Thatcherite middle-class, and the magical population at Hogwarts as the intellectual aristocracy of the Left.

But this isn’t the first time someone has claimed Potter as one of their own. And this isn’t the first time that reader subjectivity clashes with current debates on identity politics.

Previously, parallels had been drawn between Harry Potter and Jesus Christ, not to mention the suggestion that Rowling’s books are none other than Looking for God in Harry Pottermodern-day adaptations of biblical parable. Some had suggested using Harry Potter’s popularity as a way to spread Christianity, and the Church of England even published a guide to evangelism using Rowling’s books.

Meanwhile, Rowling set cyberspace ablaze last week with her revelation that Dumbledore is gay.

London Gets a Big Dose of Canadian Indie

Canada has proved to be an Canada’s rock’n’roll renaissance unlikely hotbed of musical talent in recent years with indie-rock bands like Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and Feist. Some of the country's best bands are hitting the UK this month.

The crash-course in Canadian indie began on 26 October when the Montreal-based Arcade Fire brought their emotionally-charged live show to Glasgow. The band - on tour until 19 November – are busy promoting their second album, Neon Bible, while issuing witty and incisive rebuttals to the New Yorker’s music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, who recently called today’s indie music too white and too polite. They responded last week by compiling an mp3 of clips that prove he’s wrong. Their 2004 debut album, Funeral, was called one of "the decade’s most remarkable rock albums".

And that's not all. November sees an invasion of jittery dance-punk and introspective vocals from the northern bit of North America. The energetic British Columbian group Hot Hot Heat will be in the country from the 10th – 21st. Soon after Hot Hot Heat get started, the Ontario-based Alexisonfire will hit London on November 13. Finishing it off are The Weakerthans, the smart and introspective indie folk band with punk rock roots from Winnipeg, Manitoba. They land in the UK on November 23 and are promoting their new album, Reunion Tour.

Food-Obsessed: If we are what we eat, how self-absorbed can we get?

In what should have been an ironic joke – though probably just a result of poor planning – this week was both British Sausage Week and National Vegan Week. But in general this year has seen a deluge of debate and discussion on the things people eat.

Over the months we’ve seen piece after piece of quasi-anthropological "why do we eat what we eat?" writing, from Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral – in which she documents a year lived as a locavore (one who only eats food grown locally) – to The Omnivore’s Dilemma – the book by Michael Pollan which looks at how our food is grown and asks (for reasons of both health and ethics) "what should we have for dinner?" For the more historically inclined, we have the natural and social History of Food coming in December.

Meanwhile, Milk-n-Honey, a play based on interviews with farmers, cooks, dumpster divers, and others involved in production and consumption of edibles is currently on in New York.

Also taking advantage of the fusion of food and ideas, the London Review Cake Shop opens 7 November, as the London Review of Books expands its property and mandate to include the sale and consumption of baked goods, hoping the move will not be seen as an emulation of the fusion of big-time coffee chains with equally big-time bookstores, but rather the "London coffeehouse of restoration times."

Brian Dowling/Getty Images
Show Hide image

SRSLY #71: Swing Time / The Edge of Seventeen / Maggie’s Plan

On the pop culture podcast this week: Zadie Smith’s novel Swing Time, teen movie The Edge of Seventeen and the 2015 film Maggie’s Plan.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen using the player below. . .

. . .or subscribe in iTunes. We’re also on StitcherRSS and SoundCloud – but if you use a podcast app that we’re not appearing in, let us know.

SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s assistant editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

****Our next event is going on sale at midday on 7 December! Make sure you're on our mailing list to avoid missing out on tickets.****

The Links

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

The book.

The New Statesman review.

The Edge of Seventeen

The trailer.

The episode where we discuss Paper Towns.

Maggie’s Plan

The trailer.

For next week

Anna is watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]gmail.com.

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we’d love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

We love reading out your emails. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we’ve discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at]gmail.com, or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.

Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 

See you next week!

PS If you missed #70, check it out here.