Hello, beautiful influx of new readers!
We gather that many of you found us thanks to Ali Osworth's extremely kind mention of us in her Summer Tech Roundup over at Autostraddle. Both her words and our exalted company in the round-up are super flattering. We are delighted to have you all here with us! And, whether you're new to us or an Old Stalwart of Dames Nation, you should definitely make time this weekend to:
Listen to Dame Margaret talk about reading Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret and her traumatic training bra purchasing experiences on Overdue, a podcast about the books your really ought to have read already. She's super funny and charming in it, she swears.
Scour Brooklyn for this copy of Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, a cherished heirloom accidentally given away by a now-distraught husband. Judy Blume is on the case but we'd like Dames Nation to tackle it, too, because we believe strongly in giving back to the community.
Submit a question to our Two Bossy Dames advice form, because seriously, just LOOK at how #baller our answer to this week's question is:
Ask Two Bossy Dames
Dearest Bossy Dames,
Much as I love to read thoughtful criticism of Mad Men, Mad Max, et al, sometimes I just want to enjoy something enthusiastically and unreservedly with no need for nuanced opinions. Some examples that fall under this category for me include Jurassic Park (the movie), Call the Midwife, and 84, Charing Cross Road (the book). Summer seems like the perfect time to consume such delights. Can you share some recommendations for things (especially books) that delight you in this way? Thanks! -- Malia
We understand 100%. There are some things you want to just...enjoy and not think about it too much, especially during summertime. We’re not sure what you love most about the movie, TV show & book you mention, so we’re going to sling some of our favorite discovered-in-summer media your way.
Gail Carriger’s various steampunky series, which both your Dames have gobbled up on audiobook as if they were candy. Candy...that you put in your ear? Let’s not think too carefully about that analogy!
In the same vein, there’s Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia Wrede, an epistolary novel set in a Regency England where magic abounds.
Kitchen, by Banana Yoshimoto: two novellas about love, loss, and delicious food.
Little Children, by Tom Perrotta: lives of quiet desperation have never been so sexy or sympathetic.
Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger: even if you haaaaaaaaaate the Yankees or don’t think you especially care about the boys of summer, you will love this book, set in New York during WW2. Just be ready to cry a lot. A LOT.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart: possibly your Dames’ favorite YA novel of all time, encompassing feminism, capers, and silly vocabulary-based humor.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is perhaps Dame M.’s favorite novel of all-time. With its combination of a sparkling first-person narrative voice and genteel, literary poverty, it makes a glorious read-a-like for 84 Charing Cross Road..
...as do Helene Hanff’s other books, most especially her first memoir, Underfoot in Show Business, which recounts her experiences as an aspiring playwright subsisting on a shoestring budget in 1940s New York
And finally! Have you read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Dame M. feels like it was directly inspired by 84 Charing Cross Road, starting as letters back and forth between distant book lovers but then blossoming into something more. And it’s just glorious.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: This Week In Vocal Fry
Slate podcast producer Ann Heppermann put together a 48-second compilation of Fry Guys! We could listen to that all day. Jaya Saxena, writing for The Toast, is hilarious, comme d’habitude. (“It’s just really hard for me to take Mars seriously in the workplace.” -- great comment or BEST comment?) Debbie Cameron, whose work we have given the heart-eyes emoji treatment previously in these pages, issues a brilliant takedown of Naomi Wolf’s recent op-ed on vocal fry and how it is simply ruining everything for women in the workplace. If you need advice on how to speak properly, here are 13 critical tips just for you! And once again, with four-part harmony & feeling, dudes do this, too: they fry, they hedge, they say “like”, they uptalk, all of which started with teen girls. The girl-children are in every possible way our future, so let’s all stop shaming them for the way they talk and let them live and gently mock us, as we co-opt their speech, fashion, musical taste & political opinions in turn, ok?
Twee As Hell:
So long as the world includes at least one hero-mother willing to throw a themed birthday party about the local personal injury lawyer her son is obsessed with, we are willing to live in it.
Bosom friends, we would love to attend an Anne of Green Gables party, but seriously, though: OUR DUCHY for an Emily of New Moon party!
We apologize in advance for any unplanned expenses necessitated by your forthcoming purchase of a dwarf donkey, which we predict you will be acquiring in 3...2...1.
The mysterious German fad for posing with a polar bear imitator. We don’t even know.
Weimaraner + Dachshund + Dachshund = BFFFFFFFFFF
Netflix just announced Sofia Coppola’s A Very Murray Christmas special & if he doesn’t sing a jingle bells-ed-up version of "More Than This", Dame Sophie will cry.
Wait for it...
Matthew Perpetua: Source of So Much Sonic Goodness
Matthew Perpetua creates lists & quizzes for Buzzfeed, and also writes the longest-running mp3 blog ever, Fluxblog. He’s been the source of a lot of musical joy in Dame S.’s life, so here’s a Recent Gems By Perpetua Starter Pack for you lovely readers!
Mark Ronson was recently asked to share his purchases as part of Amoeba Records’ ongoing series, What’s In My Bag? We had intended to share with you Ronson's performance of "Uptown Funk" at the Glastonbury Festival, where he brought Grandmaster Flash, Mary J. Blige and George Clinton to the stage, but the BBC is not being cooperative about sharing that clip with us, ALAS. If it pops up again, we'll make sure to share it!
Sunday Candy, by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, is the song of summer Dame S. has been waiting for forever (forever-ever? forever-ever?): a hip-hop/gospel/R&B duet of perfection, and the video for it is pure joy. You can download the album SURF in its entirety, for free, directly from the band.
It will go great with Perpetua's proposed "12 New Indie Songs For Your Summer Playlists."
Get happy, get angry: The Best Song Ever By 203 Famous Rock Bands - including a Spotify playlist for your weekend earbuds.
AND: Throwback Perpetua gold: his introduction to HAIM’s “The Wire”, two years old this week!
We've been waitin' for you for the whole week!
Miscellany, Presented Tangentially:
Two essential trailers: Before We Go, featuring further evidence of Chris Evans’ unceasing & cruel campaign to kill Dame M. with nothing but his almost-freakish levels of charm, and Mistress America, which we think is going to be be Rushmore for Snake-People Ladies & their allies.
Two pieces about the current Gawker Brouhaha that are actually worth reading: "On Outing, Not Outing, and Working for Gawker" by Gawker's own Rich Juzwiak on how he would have reported the controversial story differently and why having the space to fuck up matters, and "How the Internet Outgrew Gawker" by Elspeth Reeve, which covers the more unsavory historical habits of Gawker and how, perhaps, our increased vulnerability as individuals has lessened our demand for that style of reportage.
A vital pair of road trip improvers: Atlas Obscura's Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips to decide where to go and Spotify's Musical Map: Cities of the World to decide just what to listen to while you're on your way there. Dame M. likes to think that the unusual popularity of some of her favorite artists (like Lake Street Dive) in Cambridge, MA's list is due, at least in part, to her own constant streaming of their music while at work.
Your dames are old softies, so this Sad, Stately Photo Of Nixon's Resignation Lunch makes us feel a twinge of...something there is probably a multisyllabic word for, for old Tricky Dick.
"Pony", "Closer" and Magic Mike XXL’s Embrace of Strip Club Classics. Quote of the week: “‘Closer’'s place [in popular culture] is not so easily discerned, although the influence of its video is everywhere from the opening credits of True Detective to Professor Snape's whole aesthetic in the Harry Potter movies.”
PS: Happy birthday, Harry!
PPS: I'm actually closer to God now! It's pretty great!