Idée Fixe Interlude #5

A "kind of United States of Europe".

Thank you for being here, when really you could be in many other places. If you are new to Idée Fixe, welcome. I’m Toni Cowan-Brown and this is your weekly newsletter into the ideas and trends that matter, and dominate our minds for a prolonged period.

Idée Fixe #3: eSports 🏁

Next week we will kick-off the third idée Fixe and we will look into the ever-growing global phenomenon that is eSports.

Idee Fixe Interlude 🥳

This week’s Idée Fixe Interlude includes a closer look at grieving and letting go, what’s happening to the meat industry and the current beef shortage in the USA, and a discussion on what it’s going to look like for the Presidential candidates to campaign mostly online for the rest of 2020.



First up.

Following from the research I did for the second idée fixe on the lab-grown industry, I found this piece on why Now Might Be a Good Time to Eat Less Meat really timely, especially as the USA is facing a beef shortage.

According to FYI’s latest analysis, the barriers to remote work are falling fast and the number of people working remotely is going to keep growing. This new future will also bring about the new types of builders that will thrive in this new world. So “Who are the creators, founders, and forgers who will build the new world?” wonders Brianne Kimmel.

Finally, grief seems to have been a big topic over the past couple of weeks as the death toll rises across the world. Having lost my mum to cancer at a very young age, I have always been interested in how we grieve and more importantly how we learn to let go, and move on. This year Mother’s Day marketing seems to be hitting me harder than usual, and of course it is I’m spending way more time online digesting content and my usual coping mechanisms no longer apply. I found this piece on how to cope with mother’s day grief during lockdown insightful and useful. I actually got an email mid-week about how different personality types deal with grief (I’m an INFJ / Advocate in case you were wondering). Although it’s no scientific, I do find some of the advice and suggestions about how my personality specifically deals with grief reassuring. And if you want to explore the topic of moving on (from a slightly different but related angle), I invite you to read Anne-Laure Le Cunf’s piece about letting go. All of the above got me thinking about how we grieve and what it takes to recover and move on.


Politics 🗳️

Using virtual events to recreate traditional campaigning

As we get closer to the 2020 USA elections, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the traditional campaign playbook is out the window. So what does campaigning online-only look like and is it even possible? How will the candidates create those precious honest and moving moments that are gold on a campaign trail? The candidates better not be caught waiting for things to go back to ‘normal’ or they will lose precious time.

Axios reports that Joe Biden is testing a new way of campaigning amid the coronavirus crisis, and is going to test local virtual events. POLITICO’s Alex Thompson writes about how the Biden campaign faces a mind-boggling challenge: How to make Joe go viral. The New York Times, David Axelrod and David Plouffe, layout what a new strategy could look like.

May 9th is Europe Day

Happy Europe Day to all Europeans 🇪🇺

This Friday and Saturday (yesterday) mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. On 8th May 1945, the United Nations is created with a mission to maintain international peace and security. A year later, Winston Churchill calls for a "kind of United States of Europe", and four years later on 9th May 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presents a plan for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable. Now, 9th May is known as Europe Day.

It’s strange to be celebrating Europe during this global pandemic that has proven to be a make-it or break-it moment for European unity. Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron told the FT, “when asked if failure to agree on a relief package meant the collapse of the eurozone, Yes. And also of the European idea.. When France questions the European idea, we should all be a little worried. Now more than ever we need the EU to come up with global solutions to issues like global pandemics, and yet instead we are seeing a rise in national solutions and a focus on taking care of ‘our citizens’ first.


Technology 📱

68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice

Kevin Kelly, the founder of WIRED magazine, offered some “unsolicited advice to the young uns” as he turned 68. Here are some of my favourites:

• Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.

• Don’t be afraid to ask a question that may sound stupid because 99% of the time everyone else is thinking of the same question and is too embarrassed to ask it.

• Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them “Is there more?”, until there is no more.

• Don’t be the best. Be the only.


(Pop) Culture 🍿

This $199,000 tiny home can be installed in a San Jose, California backyard in one day (Business Insider, April)

Abodu is the startup behind these stunning tiny homes which have been positioned as a potential solution for the lack of affordable housing in California, specifically San Jose. This solution is obviously a bandaid to a much broader and far more complex problem, but nevertheless it’s a nice idea - or rather it’s definitely a start.

I have to say that after living in London the San Francisco where the housing market is just crazy and houses are beyond unaffordable, the idea of buying a piece of land and having a home delivered to you and assembled in a day (IKEA-style) is very appealing.



Becoming (Netflix)

Netflix keeps bringing us some incredible shows and documentaries. And this one is no different. It’s an “intimate documentary” about Michelle Obama’s post-White House life and captured by Nadia Hallgren.

Hallgren’s documentary, “Becoming,” is — more so than we’ve seen before — the Michelle Obama Show. It captures the former first lady, in settings both public and intimate, navigating her post-White House life, interacting with fans and generally fostering a spirit of positivity, self-belief and hope that few beside her husband are capable of inspiring.

The Last Dance (Netflix)

This docuseries gives a (more or less) complete and in-depth account of Michael Jordan’s career and the 1990s Chicago Bulls. It’s packed with unaired footage and gives us a glimpse into this athlete’s life and thought process. It’s fascinating to see and start to understand all the reasons why Jordan is still so widely recognized and respected. It’s apparently the most-watched documentary in ESPN’s history, averaging 6.1 million viewers.

Hollywood (Netflix)

“To everybody listening, your story is too important. Don’t go thinking otherwise. Don’t let your story go untold. You are important. Your life has value. You go out and live your life with your head held high.” (S1E7)

This miniseries has everything you might want during this quarantine and pandemic. It has great costumes, incredible acting, drama, glitz and glamour, an alternate universe, and lots of dreams. The show follows a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers during the Hollywood Golden Age (in a post-World War II era) trying to find themselves and make their dreams come true.  It’s also somewhat of a revisionist version of the life of actor Rock Hudson, and an attempt “to reimagine what the Golden Age of filmmaking would've been like if equal opportunities were given to the LGBTQ community, African Americans, and other underrepresented groups.”


IKEA meatball recipe revealed

Talking of IKEA, and just in case like me you missed this incredible piece of news, I’ll share it here; IKEA released its famous meatball recipe end of April. Move over banana bread, it’s IKEA meatball season.


🧐Shit I Googled this week

Q: Weather Vancouver now.
A: Honestly this is probably the ‘sentence’ I have googled the most this week. It’s been raining non-stop for the past two weeks here, and I am just a little desperate for some sunshine and blue skies. And in case you are wondering, we definitely got a good dose of sun this weekend. ☀️

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