I used to go to a hairdresser who believed he had been abducted by aliens. Regular Conversation Starters in the Mirror – “Did you go this year?” “,” Did you see the game last night? – would generally return to that formative moment when the “gray figures” appeared at the foot of his bed.

“To be honest, I have found the flight to be quite difficult since the kidnapping,” he was saying over my shoulder, with a real dog being hanged. Or, breaking away from his cut: “It’s strange but I haven’t been so passionate about football since I was ‘relieved’.”

My current regular has different concerns, but in some ways no less troubling. His off hours seem to be largely spent trading cryptocurrencies online. All lines of conversation lead back to the wobbly price of ethereum, Elon Musk’s destabilizing interventions in the bitcoin market, or an emerging interest in Polkadot’s possibilities. As with the extraterrestrial abductee, it’s a 20 minute education in a fantasy world that I know nothing about at all, but who can say it doesn’t exist? I did not in any way reach the attitude of the friend who, faced with the usual question from the hairdresser: “How would you like it to be done today, sir?” tends to mumble, “In silence.

Autumn leaves

Climate Change Author: Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, at home in Washington DC in 1963. Photograph: Bob Schutz / AP

Penguin Books announced last week the launch of a new series dedicated to the “canon” of climate change. The series is set from excerpts by Rachel Carson Silent spring to the controversy of Greta Thunberg, No one is too small to tell the differencee. You wonder if there might be a slim companion volume that once again leans on the more basic “barrel” of Eng Lit. An ode to fall that incorporates seasons of floods and forest fires, perhaps. Or a rewrite of the original hymn to the temperate predictability of the north: sumer will no longer be icumen in everything as before.

Second round

Haseeb Hameed at Headingley during the England-India game on August 26.
Haseeb Hameed at Headingley during the England-India game on August 26. Photograph: Allan McKenzie / SWpix.com / REX / Shutterstock

Anyone halfway interested in sports romance will have appreciated the return of England cricketer Haseeb Hameed. I remember in 2016 watching his international debut as a supernaturally calm 19-year-old looking forward to ‘Bolton’s Wall’ wandering around to deliver gracious stubbornness to England for the next 15 years.

As it stood, the summer which followed this mercurial entry, Hameed was deserted by this precocious technique; the wall collapsed. In 2018 he scored just 165 points in county cricket with a dismal nine per innings average, a comeback that saw him released by Lancashire, his childhood county, with some rumors he didn’t have. would have no future in the game.

Three years later he moved back to England and played Wednesday and Thursday as if none of those traumas had ever happened. Just 24 left, he can still offer a rare second coming of that most ethereal quality, a young genius.

Different beat

Charlie Watts does his thing on the Ready Steady Go!  show in London in 1964.
Charlie Watts does his thing on the Ready Steady Go! show in London in 1964. Photography: Peter Francis / Redferns

Charlie Watts’ numerous obituaries offered plenty of anecdotal evidence of the widely held understanding that drummers experience the world differently.

In recent years, this theory has been supported by numerous brain imaging studies. Neuroscientist David Eagleman conducted such a study with professional drummers, who concluded that “perfect timing can make a drummer much more susceptible to arrhythmias and repeating patterns in the world.”

Such conclusions may explain the ever-slightly strained public expression on the face of Watts, the very nuanced jazzman, who never quite lost the feeling that fate had played a singularly ironic trick in making him a member of the the world’s most famous rock’n’roll. bandaged.

Tim Adams is an Observer columnist

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