Three staffers, three unabashed recommendations.
For musicians and bedroom producers with limited space at home, customizing your workspace can be a tiring, seemingly endless task, a constant reshuffling of gear and cables when you’d rather be playing. Proper studio desks have generally always run quite large and expensive, requiring many of us to get creative with Ikea mods. But last year synth company Output answered the call with its relatively affordable, compact, and high-quality Platform desk. I finally bought one last month, and my short time with it has been wondrous. Because it’s multi-tiered, I was able to get rid of a whole other piece of furniture I had been using, gaining elbow room and floor space for instruments being stored in the closet, and the thoughtful cable management system means the desk’s sleek, Scandinavian-inspired look isn’t ruined by a mess of wires running everywhere. My one tip—after “buy this”—is to grab a friend ahead of putting it together. It’s not light. [Kelsey J. Waite]
My husband was recently trying to remember the phrase “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.” What we realized upon a cursory bit of research is that the source of the quote isn’t—as I had thought—Ed Norton in the 2002 Spike Lee drama 25th Hour, but rather that it’s a classic toast dating to at least the 19th century. We know this, apparently—and according to Wikipedia—because of the book The Perfect Gentleman; Or, Etiquette And Eloquence: A Book Of Information, a nifty tome that happens to be available on Google Books thanks to the Harvard University Library. It’s kind of like one of those little “fun fact” books they sell at fancy florists or stores where you buy whiskey stones, but it’s authentic and hyper-specific about the occasions in which fine gentlemen could use handsome turns of phrase or other similarly gentlemanly skills. In it, you can learn how to carve a saddle of mutton, what to wear to an important meeting in Washington, and the best way to give a speech at a wedding. A lot of the skills aren’t what I would call useful in the 21st century—nor are the toasts all ones you’d necessarily want to give in mixed company—but they’re still neat to look at, especially if you think about how wild it is that this book of gentlemanly pursuits ended up on the internet all these years later. [Marah Eakin]
I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole recently when I was writing about Hüsker Dü’s “Diane” for our new Off The Charts feature, which led me to footage of the legendary punk band playing its first U.K. show for TV in 1985. I was a mere 11 years old when the Hüskers called it quits, so I never got to see them—which became a particular bummer as I grew older and they became one of my favorite bands. A lot of the existing footage of them out there is pretty low quality, but Live From London is excellent, with multiple camera angles and solid sound. Even better, considering Hüsker Dü recorded it at the peak of their powers in May 1985, the set draws from their best work. C’mon, “Chartered Trips” into “Diane” into “Celebrated Summer”? Are you kidding me? [Kyle Ryan]