The Monday Media Diet with Armando Bellmas
On Jami Attenberg, David Byrne, and home coffee roasting
Armando Bellmas (AB) writes the excellent music newsletter, Ecléctico. We have been longtime subscribers. Check it out. -Colin (CJN)
Tell us about yourself.
As I write this on a quiet Thursday night, I’m a guy searching for and downloading rare African and Caribbean albums on the internet to listen to this weekend. (Long live mp3 blogs!) Today I’ve also been a guy who ate tacos for dinner with his wonderful wife, a patient dad of two who’s sending his oldest kid to college in a few months, and an artist residency operations VP who got a great annual performance review from his CEO.
I also lovingly produce a music discovery newsletter called Ecléctico. It’s my third child, my second job, and my one mistress. Please subscribe.
Describe your media diet.
On weekday mornings, still in bed, one of us reaches for our phones and turns on NPR’s Morning Edition. On my way to work, I’ll listen to that day’s song from Ecléctico.
Then, I’ll listen to more music and read newsletters throughout the day. Why is this interesting? (of course) makes me smarter every day. MusicREDEF for music news. Tangle for news and politics. The Browser for articles and essays. I browse ESPN and the MLB app for baseball news and Axios Charlotte and Queen City Nerve for local fare.
Other newsletters and writers I dig include The Small Bow, Rob Walker, Damon Krukowski, Sasha Frere-Jones, Ted Gioia, Alan Jacobs, and Ray Padgett’s Bob Dylan newsletter, Flagging Down the Double E’s. Each helps me avoid social media.
What’s the last great book you read?
I Came All This Way to Meet You by Jami Attenberg. I’ve rambled through life to get to where I am. Forward most times, backward here and there, and plenty of sidesteps, but momentum, luck, and hard work got me to today. Jami’s memoir is a ramble with purpose. She’s a charming and graceful storyteller. The life she writes about is her own, but her story helps everyone else’s meandering path to now, mine included, feel authentic, credible, and okay.
What are you reading now?
How Music Works by David Byrne. I’m fascinated by David’s ideas: Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense, the Luaka Bop compilations, Reasons to Be Cheerful, his bicycle-led excursions and endeavors, American Utopia, and this book, which I’m finally getting to. It’s an engaging and deep dive into the music we listen to and love. I was delighted by this line about discovering music, so much that I included it on the home page of Ecléctico: "Hearing a new and strange piece of music for the first time often opens a door that you didn't even know was there."
What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?
The two print publications I read regularly are The New Yorker and Oxford American’s music issue. For the former, I scan the table of contents for my favorite writers and sections—Amanda Petrusich, John Seabrook, Adam Gopnik, A Reporter at Large, Personal History—or interesting topics, then see how many pages long an article is/how much of time commitment I’ll be making before I start in. The latter’s music issue comes out once a year, so I jump in and spend weeks reading the essays and listening to the music they write about.
Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?
David Yaffe’s newsletter. Music is personal and that’s his angle every time. He begins with his connection to the music, hooks us in, then soars from there. His newsletters are my favorite music writing and personal essays at the moment.
What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?
All well-known, I’m afraid, but I love The New York Times Cooking app. Like many, we started using it during the pandemic lockdown and still turn to it often. Try the sardine toasts with tomato and sweet onion. Simple, fancy, and delicious.
Plane or train?
Plane. I like that I can be almost anywhere in the U.S. or the world near it in two to ten hours.
What is one place everyone should visit?
The Barnacle Historic State Park in Miami’s Coconut Grove. It’s a quiet space surrounded by a small forest of tropical hardwood hammock at the entrance, inevitable condos on the sides, and Biscayne Bay at the far end. On the long, green, palm-shaded lawn sits one of the oldest houses in Miami. The park is a small haven in an otherwise hectic part of the city.
Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.
Coffee roasting at home. I’ve watched videos, read how-tos and roasting guides, talked with roasters and coffee shop owners, and bought gear to roast beans on the back deck on the weekends. It’s been fun and educational, with so many methods and processes to try, mess up, and learn. Come over for a cup. (AB)
WITI x McKinsey:
An ongoing partnership where we highlight interesting McKinsey research, writing, and data.
The mainstreaming of additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3-D printing, is one of the most revolutionary technologies in manufacturing. It’s now a $14.7 billion industry, and it’s growing. But even while rapid innovation is driving its use, AM is still considered mostly a niche technology. A new article explores how manufacturers can take AM technologies to the next level.
Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Armando
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