3 min read

Macrame plant hangers are the key to happiness and I refuse to believe otherwise

A 7 minute rant about consumerism
Macrame plant hangers are the key to happiness and I refuse to believe otherwise

Hello, grownups!

The other day, I stumbled on this video of a PechaKucha talk I did in the long-ago time of June 2019 that seemed especially relevant to my life right now.

There’s this little plague going around, so I’ve been extremely stuck in my house recently. This has led to a lot of staring at all the things in my house wondering why I own them. And this quick 7-minute talk is about exactly that: how we buy things in the hope that they’ll fill the gaps in our heart, and how usually they fail to do that.

It’s especially funny watching this sixteen months later. Sixteen-months-ago-me was totally lusting after macrame plant hangers (which, if you remember, were all the rage back in ol' 2019). Current me is convinced that what I really need in my life is a £120 velvet bodysuit (even thought I've basically worn nothing but leggings and t-shirts for the past 6 months).

The talk is extremely silly, only seven minutes long, and it might even make you giggle. Enjoy!

Some links for more reading:

  • Jan-Emmanuel de Neve and Nattavudh Powdthavee 's research on how income inequality makes whole countries less happy in the Harvard Business Review.
  • I quote Victor Lebow saying “Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption…” The whole extract is worth reading, you can find it here.
  • A livestream of the lightbulb that has been burning since 1901. Here's a fascinating rabbit hole about the Phoebus cartel and the planned obsolescence of lightbulbs.
  • A more important rabbit hole - here's a good article to start reading about how upgrading your smartphone every two years is connected to child labour and death in the DRC.
  • Some more totally wild facts about Louis XIV (who I'm low-key obsessed with). And if you want to IGNORE MY ADVICE and learn more about his anal fistula, well, here you go.

Wishing you velvet bodysuits and the absence of fistulas,


Updates from Sam-Land

  • I'm putting together a piece about what to do when you're overwhelmed by debt, and how to figure out if you should apply for debt review, get a debt consolidation loan, or just use the Snowball method to pay your debts down yourself. Were any of you in a deep, dark debt-hole you managed to climb out of? How did you do it? Have any of you used debt counsellors, who did you use, and would you recommend them? Any other tips for people trying to put together a debt plan of their own? I'd love to hear your debt stories, buds!
  • Lost Toy, the wordless Book Dash book I wrote with Amy Slatem and Natalie Pierre-Eugene for little-littles, is now available for free download here.
  • Two kind readers wrote back after last week's newsletter suggesting two alternative mental health apps: Woeboet is a completely free counselling chatbot, and Shine is a meditation app that seems like a GREAT alternative to Headspace. Their review:
I can also recommend Shine as a meditation app alternative to Head Space (which I found very repetitive eventually). I swopped earlier this year after a year with Head Space. It was founded by two POC [people of colour] women and is (imo) much more situated in the context of the real world - like, today's started with "We acknowledge the anxiety of the recent election results process" etc.

They also have a much greater community element, in the app and in a Facebook group which I really enjoy. Their membership rates are also cheaper, and they often donate proceeds to BIPOC [Black, indigenous and people of colour] mental health charities etc.
  • I've never lived in a place that has SEASONS before, and I am LOSING MY SHIT at how absolutely wonderful Autumn is. The leaves have all turned red and orange and yellow and pink! They CRONCH when you stomp on them! The air is crisp but in a nice nose-tingly way! It feels acceptable to live off a 100% soup diet! There are all these strange new delicious vegetables to try like celeriac (brain root) and samphire (mermaid lettuce) and parsnip (hesitant carrot)! The whole world has turned adorable and I am HERE FOR IT.
  • Thanks for all your tips for things to watch/read/listen to during my lockdown, buds! I'm currently reading Axiom's End by Lindsay Ellis, one of my fave YouTubers (and fellow musical-theatre dork), and HOLY STINKING SOCKRABBITS it's so good. It's super pacy, but still full of big ideas, and it's making me feel nostalgic about the early 2000s, which is a feeling I never expected to have.

Stay cosy!