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27. Mess

Services, accessibility, friendships
sketch of hands with mess around them

Looking through 27 months of these updates (27 already?) and I've noticed that on two previous occasions I've referenced the word 'mess' in the title. (17. The Messy Middle, and 2. Growth is Messy). While 'The Messy Middle' is a title of an (excellent) book , more generally this points towards a fascination of mine: the contrast between the neat narratives we tell and the messy lives that are carefully hidden away. (Or as Marie Kondo says: "I love mess").

I thought of this with a couple of books that I've been getting through. Anne Theroux's The Year of the End (yes, that Theroux, though when she wrote the first draft, this meant "ex-wife of Paul" rather than today's "mother of Louis). It's diary entries from 1990 then overlaid with some reflection years later. The Guardian nails the book when describing it 'strange but moving', but what I loved about it was Theroux's descriptions of brilliant but complicated people: dazzling but difficult VS Naipaul, various people she interviews as a BBC radio producer, and above all, her charismatic but contradictory husband (or soon to be ex-husband) Paul.

I'm currently working through a biography of Peggy Guggenheim (she of the museum) and she's also amazingly contradictory - rich but not true Guggenheim rich, shocking but isolated, and controlling but generous.

This month in digital government and design


Until next time,