26 recommends: February 2024

Yes Logo!

You’re in a darkened room. It’s sweaty. The floor is sticky. The space is stinky. You try to drink your warm lager but you’re packed sardine-tight so you only half-swig the hideous brew before spilling most of it over the lank greasy hair of the spotty man in front of you. He doesn’t notice. The lights go down. The roar goes up. It’s like Ancient Rome without the lions and sandals. Then, a solitary beam picks out a band logo on a big bass drum. The crowd goes absolutely apeshit.

Band logos have been among us for 50 years or more. They’ve sung out at us from the covers of our favourite albums. Been worn loud and proud on T-shirts and pin-badges. They are an ingrained part of the pop-cultural landscape. 

We may love them, but it’s a kind of blind love. We don’t tend to look beyond their role as flags of musical or tribal allegiance. We just love the vibes they send out. Which is missing a massive trick. Because so many band logos have backstories as colourful, catchy and compelling as the musicians and songs they represent. 

‘Logo Rhythm’ changes all that. A lavish, 440-page book celebrating the overlooked art of band logos (1960–present) by @jimkdavies and @jamiesupple. Jim is a 26 founder and edited the 26 newsletter for 10 years. Jamie is an award-winning designer.

Back the Kickstarter before it’s fully subscribed, here.

– Andy Hayes

I’m currently absorbed in Alphabetical Diaries by Sheila Heti. Heti is an adventurous writer, inventing new forms with each new book. For this latest one, she typed up ten years’ worth of diary entries, then put the sentences in alphabetical order before distilling them down from 500,000 words to 60,000. The sentences that made the cut are organised into 26 chapters, from A to Z. It sounds mad, and it is, but if you like experiments with form I think you’ll enjoy it. You can also listen to Heti talking about the project on Open Book, via BBC Sounds.

– Jill Hopper

Cord Jefferson’s movie American Fiction provides a fun diversion for writers of all kinds. In and amongst the usual family tussles, our hero wrestles with concepts of truth and authenticity. That’s something we’re all familiar with. 

The fact it won the 2024 Bafta for best adapted screenplay confirms the script is a cut above many. It’s also visually interesting and leaves a feel-good glow.

– Lynda Relph-Knight

One Day on Netflix

David Nicholls’ 2009 novel remains one of my favourites of all-time for its innovative structure, emotional gut punches, flawed but compelling characters, and inspiring storytelling. I was so nervous when I heard Netflix was adapting it because the 2011 film version was (*cough*) Not Good, but I’m glad to say that streaming is finally doing the story of Em and Dex justice. The lead actors are outstanding, and absolutely perfect for the roles. Seriously, go watch it, even if you’ve never read nor heard of the book. It’s simply gorgeous. 

– Lauren McMenemy

My recommendation this month: I attended Tontoma Poetry Jazz Sessions Valentines Poetry Night on Valentines Day. Tontoma Poetry Jazz Sessions is an event in my native Kampala that invites Poets, Musicians and Dancers to share their creativity. A lot of the performances were love themed and I even got called up to dance!

– Mugabi Byenkya

Held by Anne Michaels

1997 and 2009 were the dates of her only two novels so a new book by Anne Michaels is a thing to be treasured. It’s a story told in fragments that, however fleeting, stay with you, like the list of each coastal village’s different stitches on a gansay (a guernsey sweater in my childhood) or this beautiful description of 1920s portrait photography – “In a long exposure, anyone who moves is invisible, only those who are still are perceivable.” As with her last novel – The Winter Vault – as soon as I’d finished, I read it again, and more threads came together the second time round. Anne Michaels is a poet (she was Toronto’s Poet Laureate between 2015-2019) and her succinctness of language and careful shaping of sentences demands an equal attention to detail from the reader. Something to be savoured.

– Alastair Creamer

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