The Reading List – January 2018

Presented for your amusement and intellectual enrichment: the best pieces of writing the Octopus Group Copy Team have read in the past month. Be inspired, disgusted, entertained, or a combination of the three.

The Robot Takeover Issue (Various, Stylist)

Keen to hasten to enslavement of humankind by machines, the editorial team at Stylist have allowed the magazine to be taken over by robots. There’s an interview with a robot, an article about feminism written by a content-creation AI and various contributions from other non-organic entities. While interesting, it’s disheartening to see journalists essentially cheerleading for the technologies that will put them out of work. Read it.

Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash (Botnik Studios)

Proof that machines still have a little way to go if they are going to replace writers (something we on the Copy team desperately need to be true). A predictive keyboard was fed the entire oeuvre of J.K. Rowling’s public-school-boy-wizard chronicles and wrote a chapter of text that is hilariously bizarre. Read it.

Le Pain Quotidien Is Weird, but It’s Clearly Doing Something Wonderful (Sathnam Sanghera, The Times)
Following his widely praised article about Pizza Express, The Times business journalist turns his attention to strange high street coffee and bakery chain, Le Pain Quotidien. Read it (paywall).

Here Are All the Pop Culture Retrospectives You’ll Read in 2018 (Various, Vice)

Prepare yourself for another year of shameless nostalgia-baiting, an endless parade of #content screaming for your attention by saying: Hey, it’s been [insert number] of years since that thing you love! Read it.

The 29 Stages Of A Twitterstorm In 2018 (Tom Phillips, Buzzfeed)

The semi-legendary 2013 article is resurrected and rebooted for a different social media age. Read it.

I Started the Media Men List (Moira Donegan, The Cut)

Moira Donegan is the creator of the ‘Shitty Media Men’ list, a collaborative spreadsheet in which women could share stories of sexual harassment in the media industry. It’s a highly contentious document, but Donegan’s explanation for her actions raises important questions about how we deal with systemic sexual harassment. Read it.

Twitter Account of the Month: @PerfumeAdsforSale

Perfume ads often feel like parodies of themselves. Case in point: every tweet from this Twitter account mocking the industry’s pretentiousness and abstraction could be a genuine advert for overpriced smelly water. Read it.