Considered - Culture
Andrew Stuttaford

Considered - Culture


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How bad is McDonald's, really? What happens if you freeze your body when you die? Why did everyone go so nuts over The West Wing?


Andrew Stuttaford's essays on culture are both eclectic and erudite. Arranged chronologically over a twenty-year period, these essays document Andrew's journalistic career and personal reflections on a changing world. Whether wandering through New York in the aftermath of 9/11, musing on his favourite writers (Ayn Rand, in particular), or debating whether to switch to e-cigarettes, Andrew writing is sharp and sensitive, full of wit and wisdom. 


Read this compilation and you will come to know a fine, but as yet inadequately appreciated, voice.



Years ago I travelled to a faraway place - it doesn’t matter where - with a well-known writer - it doesn’t matter who - to do some research work for his next book. After four or five days in that remote northern place, we boarded a train for the long, long journey back to something approaching civilization. My friend handed me a small notebook in which he had jotted down what he had noticed in the course of a few days in conversation with officials, and the opposite of officials, and what he had seen wandering the broken-down streets of a broken-down town, travelling to the sites of past atrocity and staying in a hotel so strapped for cash that any requests for drinks involved a visit by the staff to, in the English phrase, the local off-licence. ‘Had he missed anything?’

No, he had not. As I read that notebook, I was amazed by what he had written. By what he had noticed. By what I had missed.

I hope I learnt something from that. This collection of pieces, written for the most part on the fly in evenings and weekends (having a day job is handy, but it comes with its complications), is in some ways a collection setting out what I have noticed. Sometimes these observations have come from a chair - comfortably commenting on books, television, films and theatre. And sometimes they have come from journeys deep into the America that is open to anyone with a rental car, the willingness to ask a question or two, and a curiosity about some of the strangeness that is out there in the country that - even after quarter of a century - entrances me still.   

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