Staff Picks: Grimes, ‘Phonogram Volume 1: Rue Brittania,’ and Grantland’s Archives


Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Scroll through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

Phonogram Volume 1: Rue Brittania, written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Jamie McKelvie

As a fan of both Britpop and Gillen and McKelvie’s current project, The Wicked + The Divine, I had high expectations going into 2006’s Rue Britannia, the first collection of comics from their Phonogram series. Well, I spent the entirety of a short plane ride lost in its story of a Britpop survivor whose unfinished business from the era begins to haunt him ten years after the mod-goddess Britannia’s mid-’90s demise, and it’s not just one of the best comics I’ve ever read — it’s also some of the best music criticism. Embedded in its supernaturally tinged narrative is a persuasive, empathetic, and moving argument about the dangerous implications of cultural nostalgia for moments that get quickly distorted through the lens of history anyway. And its deft use of Britpop icons, from Jarvis Cocker to Richey Edwards, betrays an understanding of the era that lends Gillen and McKelvie’s critique a startling potency. — Judy Berman, Editor-in-Chief

The Grantland Archives

Well, one of the best sites on the Internet got shut down on Friday, and if there’s a pencil-thin silver lining to this hulking storm cloud, it’s the opportunity to revisit the very best of an always-excellent publication. I spent my weekend clicking through best-of lists from the likes of Slate and Longform, listening to interviews with alumni like Wesley Morris and Rembert Browne, and of course, rereading old favorites: on 30 Rock and identity politics, on the superhero industrial complex, on the cult of Dan Harmon. (I’ll take the Internet’s word for it that the sportswriting was excellent as well, but my own cultural myopia prevented me from ever reading it.) None of these writers are dead, obviously, and they’ll all continue to produce great work at other publications—Morris, for one, came right out the gate at the New York Times with the kind of essay that eliminates the need to read anything else for at least a week. But Grantland was a special place, and the loss of its formidable collective of writers and editors is one worth commemorating. — Alison Herman, Associate Editor

The intro to Grimes’ Art Angels

Grimes’ new album is set to drop in less than 36 hours, and today we got yet another taste of Art Angels—a short intro, titled “laughing and not being normal.” Atmospheric and mostly instrumental, the track slowly builds to a crescendo of noise before coming to a quick and jolting halt. Just a tease, for sure (and no visuals to match, either!), but at this point, we’ll take anything. Friday can’t come quickly enough. To hear “laughing and not being normal” head to Grimes’ website. — Matthew Ismael Ruiz, Music Editor

No Man’s Woman

If you’re doing like the cool kids do and following up your October horror marathon with a “Noirvember” journey through film noir, take a gander at this 1955 programmer from Republic Pictures (new on Blu from Olive Films). Marie Windsor, familiar from noir classics like The Killing, Force of Evil, and The Narrow Margin, gives great femme fatale as Carolyn Emerson Grant, who spends the first half of the picture infuriating everyone she touches: her estranged husband (“Thirty thousand? That’s not a settlement, Pop—that’s a tip”), his father, her lover, her employee, and her employee’s fiancé. Then she gets popped, and the movie transforms into more of a murder mystery; which of these entirely motivated people put her on ice? It gets a little stiff in the home stretch, mostly because Windsor’s no longer on screen, but when she’s in play, it’s a delicious little B-movie. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

The Unlikely Bond Between Sister Harriet and Cleary on The Knick

In the weeks following my initial immersion in The Knick’s second season to review it, it hasn’t left my mind, and my enthusiasm for the show — perhaps to the annoyance of my colleagues, family, friends, and you — hasn’t settled. But having one’s mind stuck in the pestilent gutter (indeed, there’s bubonic plague this season!) of this relentlessly brutal show, one needs, on occasion, a bit of light-spiritedness. This comes in part from the excellent Cara Seymour as Sister Harriet and Chris Sullivan as Tom Cleary. Which is funny, because their comic relief-ish plot line has actually taken a nerve-wracking turn — with Sister Harriet potentially facing decades in prison for clandestinely performing abortions. But as the stakes get higher for Harriet, the bond between the nun — now ostracized from the Catholic church — and the often unscrupulous, boozing behemoth Cleary is turning into one of the sweetest friendships on TV. Both Seymour and Sullivan are skilled enough to maintain a perfect balance between their deep understanding of one another and their befuddlement over the more superficial aspects of one another’s lives. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor