#43: Chris Black (@DoneToDeathProjects)
Chris Black on his favorite ephemera shop, The Verve (Live), Rachel Tashjian's exclusive newsletter, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked cool person Chris Black to come on Perfectly Imperfect & spread the hot rec wealth.
Chris packages his highly calibrated taste, breadth of experience, sharp wit, and hot takes into what he has very accurately deemed “High-Level Cultural Commentary”. Black’s unique point of view & commentary style make him an endlessly entertaining person to follow— occasionally disagreeing with him is just part of the fun. These days he’s mostly working on How Long Gone, a wildly popular podcast where he & co-host Jason Stewart (@themjeans) talk about pop culture, fashion, music, food, and more. He’s also known for his creative agency, Done To Death Projects, and excellent newsletter, Public Announcement, that he runs along with James Ellis. Chris has great taste and lucky for us, he’s here to talk about what he’s been into.
Without further ado
The debut novel from Raven Leilani tackles it all: race, class, sex, depression, loneliness, and New York City. Edie, the narrator, is a 23-year-old black orphan trying to figure it out. After making some inappropriate sexual choices, she loses her admin job in the publishing industry and finds herself with nowhere to go - until the wife of her married lover takes her in. Her relationships are fraught and strange, warm and raw. The voice is honest and sharp—a must-read.
This is my favorite Instagram ephemera shop. My man has the best eye, and his prices aren't outrageous. The selection is all over the map, from a wild group of Herman Miller branded drinking vessels, to Yashica pens, to an eight-piece set of Picasso salad plates. I know I just gave up my source, but everyone needs this in their lives. We can all bond over the fact that we missed the Adobe harmonica!
The Verve is about as good as a song gets. Released in 1997 on their seminal album "Urban Hymns," a day after Princess Diana tragically died, it helped capture Britain's spirit. Lyrically, it means different things to different people, as most great songs do. Is he talking about his recreational drug use or the passing of his father - who died from a blood clot when he was 11 years old - or his wife Kate Radley's father, who died of cancer? Probably all three. Ashcroft still plays solo but doesn't perform this song. This is the best version I have ever found online—a masterpiece.
It feels odd recommending a newsletter in a newsletter, but stick with me here. I, like I am sure most of you, have hit newsletter fatigue. Every bozo with a MacBook Air and a liberal arts degree wants you to pay them for their unedited thoughts. But when a professional, like Rachel Tashjian, tackle the medium (no pun intended), it is a thing of beauty. She writes about style, clothing, life, and maximal interiors, like no one else. The best part of the first "natural style" newsletter is that you have to be approved by the creator herself. You can't just sign up, and you can't pay $5 a month; you have to be deemed worthy! Content with a velvet rope. Exclusivity isn't dead. Figure out a way to subscribe and be prepared to be blessed every Sunday.
🎾 Tennis Lessons
I have seen a tennis coach twice a week for the last few months, and I cannot suggest it enough. Many people have been flirting with tennis, and you can see improvements on your own, but the foundation needs to be set by someone who knows more than you. The repetition, notes on form, and endless drills work in a way that watching Youtube videos just doesn't. It also creates some accountability, and if you are spending the time and money, you will feel more inclined to leave it all on the court.