This week's Things I learned is a little shorter than usual because I've been moving house. I hate every part of moving house. Anyway, enough excuses, here are some of the things I learned this week:
- This thing about reading: I've been thinking about how much we read recently. I think we'd all like to read more, and you hear so often of speed readers who can devour books in hours. The thing about reading is that you're limited by a) how fast your eyes can move, and b) how much you actually take in when you read. Most Higher Education level readers can read and comprehend no more than about 400 words per minute, but you can typically expect to fall within the 200-400 words per minute range. (source)
- This incredible woman: Pearl White was an American actress born in 1889 who worked as an adult on stage, screen, and also the circus when she was a kid. She started in America, moved to Paris, and by 1924 (aged 35) she had been divorced twice, saved $2m, invested in clubs, casinos, and race horses (name three more badass investments) and bought a house in Egypt. She died aged only 49 following years of heavy drinking. (source)
- This Elizabethan law case: In 1623 a woman called Susan Baskervile, lived in London and was was married (not all at once) to various theatre- or actor-types (we've all got our flaws, Susan). Susan sued the Queen Anne's Men - a theatre group, because the actors were not able to pay her stipulated pension, which Baskervile was given in the will of her deceased husbands. Not only did she win this lawsuit, but the documentation which was produced provided some of the best evidence in the pay, duties, grievances, and general operations of a theatre company in Elizabethan London. This period was known as the English Renaissance, and because of these documents we know a lot more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the era. (source)
- The Parable of the Empty Boat a Zen parable explained by Sintagma. The core of this parable is that if you were sailing a boat out on a lake and you were crashed into by another boat you would be furious at whoever was in control of that boat. If that boat was empty, floating aimlessly about the lake, then you'd be more willing to accept the random bad accident. It's a nice reminder that bad things can happen and that your reaction to them won't always be constant, so you can control it.
- The End of Tourism? by Christopher de Bellaigue for The Guardian. Travelling, especially for western millennials, has become more about box-ticking than deeper investment, understanding, or a sense of seeing another culture. I've thought this for a while, and it's why I normally holiday in the same couple of places. De Bellaigue puts forward some interesting ideas here bout how the current global pandemic can be a force to promote sustainable and responsible tourism, which tour operators, governments, and tourists may not previously have been encouraged to do.
What I've had on rotation
- Something New: 20/20 by Knuckle Puck (Pop Punk). I love when a new, fresh Pop Punk album drops, and that's exactly what this is: upbeat but low-key sad, pop punk. I've been really enjoying this album. (links)
- Something Old III by Bersarin Quartet (Contemporary Instrumental). I've choreographed/danced to works by this band before - they've got a wonderful ability to create space and ambience around surprisingly little sound. Their sound is delicate and careful, but intense at times. (links)