The Culture Trip: November Newsletter


A regular round-up of the latest talks, films, music, books,
interviews and cultural news that have caught my attention
and have myself experienced in one way or another.

A new book by Patti Smith feels like a Christmas present, or, better yet (because I am a firm believer that you should enjoy the things you love every single day, not just on special occasions), like the best kind of gift. I feel peaceful when I read Patti Smith, her writing commands you to stay still and absorb everything you read, cherish your moments together and ponder on your own life, too. It’s like meeting an old friend again, and having a good old conversation, the kind we used to have (before everyone being so busy that the only conversations we have today revolve around how busy we all are, without knowing how we truly are and feel in fact), face to face with our friends, where we would find out what each other has been doing, what books we have read, what concerts we’ve been to, what trips we’ve taken, what our children have been up to, what we think about the world, a reality check of sorts, the kind only a good friend can give you. Because that’s what Patti Smith’s books, and Year of the Monkey, published this September, too, do for me: it’s heartfelt time spent in good companion, listening to the good, the bad, and filling up on culture: the books, movies, musicians, songs, places, cafés she peppers the conversation with and you take notes of. It always feels like it takes you on a path of discovery and you always end up the journey richer, a little wiser, more grounded, more present. But Patti Smith’s writing is also at this crossroad between reality and realm and you can just wander off. It’s beautiful.

“I just do not participate. I very much live in this little bubble. I don’t read fashion blogs. I don’t read fashion magazines. I don’t know who any other designers are. I really keep my head down. I feel that it distracts the work and it takes me off my path when I spend time doing those things. I don’t go to fashion events. I don’t go to dinners. I’m just doing me, you know? And I don’t do well with all the distraction. I do best when it’s just me in my space doing the work: go to the ocean, do that thing, come back, spend time with my family. That’s how I’m able to make something of value. That doesn’t work for everybody. But that’s just what I figured out through all this passing time, that that’s what I needed.” Fashion designer Jesse Kamm is interviewed for Time Sensitive by Andrew Zuckerman. If there is anyone who epitomises my idea of sustainable fashion designer, and the idea of a fashion designer as a matter of fact (for example, she has no intention of expanding her business beyond its current scale – “We can’t all grow. It’s just not sustainable. There isn’t enough resource on this planet for us all to keep growing. When I hear global expansion, I want to puke, because to me, it just means destruction. But I think by saying no, I keep my sanity. And in addition, it makes it a little more special.”), then that’s Jesse Kamm. Not just that, but she’s also someone I completely relate to from a personal lifestyle point of view, too.

Do tune in to the Time Sensitive podcast for more great talks with “curious and courageous people in business, the arts and beyond”. One of the things I particularly like about this podcast is that it is not solely an audio experience. You will find edited transcripts of the interviews on the site, with hyperlinks and corresponding visuals.

I do believe that beauty can save the world. Anuar Patjane Floriuk’s Underwater Realm Project is about raising awareness through beautiful photography. “We see and care when a forest is gone because it is visible to everybody, but we don’t see when we destroy life underwater, we don’t see how nets from the tuna, the shrimp industry and the whaling vessels cause damage and death to the sea.”

Jesse Kamm and her son on Panama island, when Kamm and her husband built a house with their own hands,
photo courtesy of Jesse Kamm and Time Sensitive / The Underwater Realm Project, photo by Anuar Patjane /
In search of silence in the Canadian Rockies, photo by Nadya Zim

“It is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown.” – Ernest Shackleton. The brand Shackleton was inspired by one of the greatest polar explorers of all time, and supported by Ernest Shackleton’s grand-daughter, The Hon. Alexandra. I always have a bigger appreciation for brands founded on solid values and inspired by real life and real life heroes, but my interest with this one also lies in their interviews with present-day adventurers and explorers.

Ernest Shackleton has also inspired one of the most beautiful illustrated children’s books.

Freedom of thought is something uniquely human and should be a fundamental right. Why should? Because it is an international human right given by law, yet it is a right we are constantly deprived of. How can we protect our minds to avoid being manipulated by others in the digital age? How can we own our own ideas? How can we stay human?

There are still brands who do not want to promote themselves. “The brand was not interested in press, we were told.” Yes, I would buy their clothes, too.

In anticipation of the release of the film Ford v Ferrari (it will hit theaters in a little over a week and I can not wait to see an action film that is not based on comic books or part of a franchise and which is hopefully a nod to the classic action movies of the ‘60s and ‘70s), let’s have a look at another movie revolving around the legendary 24-hour endurance motorsport race held annually near the town of Le Mans, France. A notoriously troubled production, the 1971 Le Mans racing movie starred and was produced by Steve McQueen. A passion project for McQueen, in tribute to a sport that had always been close to his heart. In one of our interviews, Pierre Vudrag, the founder and president of Limited Runs, the premier collectors of rare and limited edition photography, goes behind the scenes of Le Mans and gives us a rare view on one of the handful of undisputed Hollywood stars and on what makes McQueen such a contemporary figure.

Alec Baldwin talks to James Caan on his podcast, Here’s the Thing.

A good photographer and storyteller brings something new to any place: In search of silence in the Canadian Rockies is a different kind of travel experience, and in the noisy and over saturated media of overwhelming travel guides, easily forgettable photography and do-this lists, this truly is like a breath of fresh air, a connection with the feelings of the traveller.

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