October Surprise

If I was going to start a newsletter with friends, it would be a weekly round of up the UK/US news cycle. Written in the purposely irreverent style of a TV entertainment section.


8 minutes

β€œSunday neurosis, for example, is what happens when, without the obligations and commitments of the workweek, the individual realises how empty he is inside.”

Hector Garcia, Albert LiebermannIkigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life

If I was going to start a newsletter with friends, it would be a weekly round of up the UK/US news cycle. Written in the purposely irreverent style of a TV entertainment section. I have spent years talking about the news as infotainment, so we might as well review it the same way.

S2020W40: October Surprise

The writers on these last few episodes in the (it’s rumoured) final season of End of America certainly are pulling out all the stops.


The appearance of Scott Atlas as the head of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was a surprise to many, but a welcome one. Viewers may remember him as a secondary guest character on End of America’s sister show ‘Fox News’. Many commentators have already noted that Atlas appears to be acting as the face to Dr Fauci’s heel. He was an important bit player in pushing the story arc towards the reopening the country. He is clearly meant to be seen a a close ally of Trump.

It’s too early to say how is storyline is going to develop. But we certainly see some conflict and drama ahead. There was some general murmuring around the office about central casting however. They seem to be really pushing the limit as to how many second rate white men it can shoe horn into the pandemic management sub plot.

Late in the episode as part of the shows ambitious mixed media story telling the NY times revived the ‘Taxes’ subplot from 2016.


Debate day.

The election storyline had been starting to sag for a while. Everyone it seems has election fatigue, including international viewers. It is after all, a story line that has been running since Trump announced his candidacy back in 2017.

We all sat though weeks and weeks of the Democratic Party’s nomination race with very little pay off. Whilst interesting to some; we said at the time that we didn’t think that it was engaging enough to draw in new viewers.

Going in to the debates episode Trump was reeling from the taxes bombshell that had framed the opening of the episode. The bomb had landed but didn’t explode.

The lead up to the debates seemed to be focused on the potential for character development. Would Biden have a senior moment? Would Trump say something stupid? Would there be fireworks between the two leading me? We were on the edge of our seats.

Ultimately the debate episode was a huge disappointment. Confusing writing, bad acting, and some ill advised foreshadowing that we may see a return of the Proud Boys. With Trump issuing the alarming statement: that they should “stand back and stand by.”


Almost the entire Episode was taken up by Trump dealing with the fall out from his Proud Boys comment in the previous Episode. The audience fallout had been immense. The debates were also panned on social media and in the wider End Of America Expanded Universe. Humiliating and insulting to the franchise.. “Will you shut up man!” memes briefly trended on social media. But even they couldn’t distract us from the doldrums of this midweek filler episode.


Away from the flagship show, the media continued to remind the audience who the Proud Boys are. Which seems like some unnecessary recapitulation in our minds. But we recognise that it’s probably useful for viewers just tuning in. The debate fallout continued to echo around the End Of America Expanded Universe. But the shows main plot had already moved on. With the show deciding seeming last minute to conclude with Trump condemning white supremacy very late in the episode.

Thursday was a bit of a magazine show to our eyes.

We had revelation that US intelligence sources had discussed poisoning the now largely offscreen character of Julian Assange. Vatican officials accused the Trump administration of exploiting the pope – we haven’t seen much of the the pope this season at all have we? And finally, the wildfires in California made a re-appearance for the first time in recent weeks. The introduction of elemental forces such as fires and hurricanes as drama generators has spiced up seasons in recent decades over all. Perhaps cascading biodiversity collapse will also feature in forthcoming seasons?


WOW. We respect this move from the writers. It may feel cheap, but the debates episode was cringe. But you know what, as buildup for this end of week finale, honestly a genius move.

Taking cues from the UK’s blockbuster “Bozo Boris’ Brexit Breakdown”. Trump tested positive with COVID-19.

This might be the greatest challenge faced so far during Trump’s long career in the EOAEU. Long time viewers will remeber that his 1987 merch debut ‘The Art Of The Deal’ gained him enough fans to make sporadic appearances in the 90’s as a playboy on the now (thankfully) cancelled ‘New York Property and Bankruptcies Bonanza’. Later, gaining a firmer foothold in the publics imagination with his 10 year stint as a ‘billionaire’ business owner on The Apprentice. Until this Covid contraction storyline, his previous high watermark had been the ambitious Apprentice/WWE crossover with WrestleMania 23.

Much to our chagrin, todays episode ran out of steam and descended into Verhoeven like rolling coverage of the Presidents health. This took the shine off the episode as viewers are all well over this cheap dystopian aesthetic trick following the Republican Convention mini-series.

There was wide agreement all around the office however that the inclusion of the doomsday planes sub-plot was a nice touch. Adding some much needed cold war nostalgia to the whole affair. Social media was extremely good value for money all day at its free price point.

After a shaky start, and weak middle, week 40 has come to a dramatic close. We are not sure if todays dramatic turn will make things get *better*, but it will definitely make things *funnier* going into next week. 8/10

All joking aside this is the first time I’ve written about ‘the news’ at any length on the blog. Read my Zine: Your Attention Sovereign. In my podcast this week, I talk about how ‘the news’ doesn’t have any sort of history beyond the next ad brake.

It’s more for me than for you. Blogs are the perfect pace to express your thoughts in more than 240 characters as the bombs begin to rain down around us. In a few years I’ll presumably look at this post and think ‘what was I thinking’. As I think things are going to get very bad indeed.

On a more serious note. Everyone should probably get off Twitter.


I wonder what would happen now if the Gaddafi capture / story arc were happening today?

Permanently Moved

Beyond The Last Ad Break

Television News has no memory beyond the last ad break. Updates on what I’ve got going on, and how a healthier media diet might be a good idea right now. 

Update From The Island

The new update arrived and Eve sunk a good few evenings getting the island ready for our pumpkin patch. Photos to come.

Eve and I hung out in the Museum the other night. Super nice time.

I am extremely pleased with the model railway Eve bought. I’ve stopped to admire it several times since it was put in the plaza.

Looking thought the photos. Looks like Eve spent a while hanging with the gang at Apples place.

The Ministry Of My Own Labour

  • See the announcements for stuff i’ve got going on that I mentioned in this weeks show.
  • Finished the first draft of Solarpunk Book introduction.
  • Upgraded to a full paid account for Descript after several (one very generous) donations came in.
    I’m now only Β£20 a month away from pulling the trigger on a Lumix G7 camera to improve CIWM video quality and begin adventures in film making.
  • Tweaked a lot of text ‘about me’ roundabouts on the internet.
  • Recorded 2 Episodes of CIWM.
  • Started thinking about what I’m going to do for NANOWRIMO this year.

Dipping the Stacks

Luna and James: Travel Vloggers Who Invited You into Their Bedroom – Popdust

A Thousand Thousand Islands
A Thousand Thousand Islands is a Southeast Asian-themed fantasy visual world-building project.

Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is β€˜Very Likely to Work,’ Studies Suggest – The New York Times

I wish I’d published the follow up to Seeing Though The Debris I wrote about the coming fusion narratives.

Are our payment systems irrelevant? – Chris Skinner’s blog


I listened to then end of Brutal Kunnin’ by Mike Brooks. It’s a fantastic Warhammer novel, the first from the Orks perspective. I also used my last Audible credit on Dan Abnett’s Honour Guard and devoured it. Can’t wait for the next Gaunt audiobook.

I’m now reading the Ikigai book. Its certainly a well written self help book. I can see why Its been so popular.

I’m starting my Emissary’s Guide To Worlding read along tomorrow.


Lingua Ignota has released a second cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene. This presentation is far more noisy and claustrophobic than last year’s cover on the split with The Rita. It’s great.

I can’t for my band to record its cover of you are my sunshine.

Remember Kids

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