Issue 33

Gary Younge: Things I Like / Things I Dislike

Susan Sontag’s diaries reveal a witty fondness for the humble list as a way of conferring value and exploring the realms of her knowledge. Her lists of likes and dislikes have become justly notorious. Here author, broadcaster and editor Gary Younge picks up that baton.

THINGS I LIKE: Lega tibs / Reading / Paule Marshall / Edinburgh / Train travel / Roast potatoes / CLR James / Chicago / Socialism / Sauvignon Blanc / Hazelnut milk chocolate / Disco / Carry On films/ Soup / Napping / Brighton pier / Pilsner / Angela Davis / Seurat / Mayakovsky / Seamus Heaney / Barbados / Caribbean Sea / Chatting at the checkout / The time between 5.30am and 7am which I can call my own / Greek salad / The NHS / Spring / Irish accents / Sunrise / Young children first thing in the morning / The Soul Train dance line / Will Ferrell / Love Jones / Being corrected on matters of fact by my daughter / Sesame Street / Grease (the film not the substance) / Maps / Weddings / The view from the train from Alnmouth to Berwick-upon-Tweed / Saying things that are inappropriate but don’t demean anybody / Television / African Americans who treat every political and cultural occasion as an opportunity to practice Baptist-style call and response / Picnics / The Réti Opening / Playing Uno through dusk / Cooking Sunday roast for six or more / Any time I can make my teenage son smile / Turkish baths / A cold midday shower in the desert / The Moscow metro / The Financial Times / The Russian revolution / Sheila Rowbotham / Libraries / Bookshops / Toussaint L’Ouverture / Claudia Jones / Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

THINGS I DISLIKE: Emails / Cold houses / Bigots / Essentialism / Posh people who believe their success is a product of their genius / White people telling me how much better they are at anti-racism than me / Police in Paris / Borders / Indifferent bureaucrats / Toffs / Historical illiteracy / Flying / Lemon curd / Swimming / Travelling in the heat / People who don’t say ‘thank you’ when you make way or space for them / Anti-intellectualism / Blowhards / Formal occasions / February / Dark mornings / School uniforms / Any government law or rule that tells women what they can wear / People who think they are being liberal and enlightened when they are really being Islamophobic / The Sicilian Defence / Those who punch down / Sanctimony where empathy should be / Baked beans / Friends (the show not the people) / Smug people who mistake being rich for being interesting / Fundamentalism of every kind / Mice / Self-checkouts / People saying “I don’t care if you’re white, black or green with red spots.” There are no green people with red spots – we have enough problems with the groups we’ve invented without making up new ones / Arguments that can’t engage race, class and gender simultaneously / Arriving in cities at night / Punditry / “Ready and ripe” avocados that are neither ready nor ripe / Powerful people claiming victimhood / TV remotes / Science fiction / Heavy metal / Babycino (warm milk for children of privilege).