Trivial Posts #22: Black Coffee, Bridge Of Spies, And 25

It’s been a busy November, bouncing around Europe, from the Web Summit in Dublin, to hosting the Junior Eurovision Song Contest’s international radio coverage (yes, once more I’m ‘A Eurovision Commentator’, never give up on your mad dreams, kids!). I’ve found some nice things online you might like to read about as well – which is what Trivial Posts thrives on!

‘Ted Drank His Coffee Black…’

Put aside your aeropresses, your hand-ground beans, your exotic steamers, what really drives the world is cheap, bad, coffee. Keith Pandolfi makes the convincing argument:

The best cup of coffee I ever had was the dirty Viennese blend my teenage friends and I would sip out of chipped ceramic mugs at a cafe near the University of Cincinnati while smoking clove cigarettes and listening to Sisters of Mercy records, imagining what it would be like to be older than we were. The best cup of coffee was the one I enjoyed alone each morning during my freshman year at Ohio State, huddled in the back of a Rax restaurant reading the college paper and dealing with the onset of an anxiety disorder that would never quite be cured.

Then again, maybe the best cup of coffee I ever had was the one I drank in high school, right after my mother married a man named Ted.

Maxwell Hosue gets the nod in the article, although my preference is for …….

The Case For Bad Coffee

From The Other Side

The fury of PR is (starting to) die away, leaving just the album, the music, and a handful of gems inside the puff pieces. The Rolling Stone’s interview is one of the former:

With a young child to raise, Adele took an unhurried approach to making the album. A full six months passed between writing the verses of “Hello” and nailing the chorus. “We had half a song written,” says producer/co-writer Greg Kurstin, who didn’t know if Adele was ever going to come back and finish it. “I just had to be very patient.”

Brian Hiatt spends time with the singer-songwriter to tell the story of the moister album.

Adele: Inside Her Private Life And Triumphant Return

It Was A Theme She Had…

Staying with music but looking back a little further, it’s thirty years since ‘China In Your Hand’ was released from T’Pau’s ‘Bridge Of Spies’ album (one of the first ‘pop’ albums that I can remember specifically asking for). Co-writers Carol Decker and Ron Rogers look back at how the number one single came to be.

I didn’t think more about it until we were in America recording our debut album, Bridge of Spies. You know the expression “polishing the turd”? One song wasn’t working, so we had to stop polishing! Our producer, Roy Thomas Baker, went: “Well, what else have you got?” I’d brought my cassette of China and played it to him very unsurely, and that was that.

How we made T’Pau’s China in Your Hand

When Amazon Built A Physical Store

Former indie bookseller Dustin Kurtz takes a visit to Amazon’s first retail store in Seattle. Cunningly named ‘Amazon Books’ it replicates the web experience in a physical space. Amazon may have web pages optimised, but shelving? That’s a little bit trickier:

The store is physically odd. It betrays inexperience with retail. The stacks are situated too close to one another so that you have to brush past other browsers—Paco Underhill’s famed “butt brush”—and can’t comfortably bend down to see books on lower shelves. The first display tables are too near the doors, which discourages browsing. Above the shelves along the walls are bays of books, spine out—decoratively arranged overstock. They have no bearing on the books below them.

The question for me is what Amazon will do with the data from a store. After all, they’re doing rather well with data from online sales, eBook consumption, and the Goodreads property.

My 2.5 Star Trip to Amazon’s Bizarre New Bookstore

You Take The Very High Road

Because every newsletter needs bagpipes in space…

Astronaut plays bagpipes on International Space Station

This Week’s Long Read: Robinson Crusoe On Water

The story of Salvador Avarenga is stunning in its enormity and power. Jonathan Franklin writes up his story in The Guardian, ahead of the release of the full novel of Avarenga’s 438 days:

In November 2012, Salvador Alvarenga went fishing off the coast of Mexico. Two days later, a storm hit and he made a desperate SOS. It was the last anyone heard from him – for 438 days. This is his story

Lost at sea: the man who vanished for 14 months

‘Trivial Posts’ is a mostly weekly series of posts that brings together interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye on the Internet. Read it online, or subscribe to the email newsletter version here.