Though there are many reasons to recall a moment when, as Rolling Stone described it, “everything went perfectly wrong’’ — a day when famous bands didn’t play; when bad acid felled dozens and scores more were injured; and when one of the Hell’s Angels hired to police the event knifed and killed a man during a Rolling Stones set — the image I return to is a peaceable one.
“What the hell was he doing?’’ said Bill Owens, the journalist who took the picture that appears on the cover of “Altamont 1969,” a book of previously unpublished photographs from the concert released in May. “He was just somebody that decided to take off his clothes and walk off into the distance.’’
The perfect cup of coffee is like the perfect lipstick: a quest that will end only with your death. I disapprove of Nespresso machines and their ilk, and I don’t particularly like the coffee they make either. Cafetieres are so messy and gritty, and I never seem to get the coffee-to-water ratio quite right; also, the coffee gets cold so quickly. I love my blackened stove-top Bialetti for reasons to do with nostalgia and all-round stylishness, but it makes pretty mud-like coffee: good for days when you’re knackered, but very bad indeed when the last thing you need is to be wired like Frankenstein. The huge, orange Italian espresso machine that I bought at vast expense some years ago looks fantastic. But working it is such a performance, and the coffee it makes always tastes of its metallic bowels to me.
“I am always confused,” Tolentino confesses in the introduction to her first book, Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, “because I can never be sure of anything, and because I am drawn to any mechanism that directs me away from that truth. Writing is either a way to shed my self-delusions or a way to develop them.” Trick Mirror is a collection of essays, pieces that consider such subjects as drugs, religion, celebrity culture, and the wedding industry, but all of them wrangle with the challenge of arriving at an organic self in an age of pervasive, technology-facilitated phoniness.
There's a pulse that runs through Temi Oh's debut novel, Do You Dream Of Terra-Two. A living, beating heart that races and stalls, stutters and recovers; that pounds in rage and desperate longing, in fear, in mortal goddamn terror; that slows in calm, in crushing sadness or the perfect tranquility of memory; that occasionally stops.