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Here at do you read me?!, we are blessed with all sorts of interesting customers. Tourists from all over the world in search of unusual publications (and lots of tote bags); awkward couples on obvious first dates searching our shelves for books as well as a basic thread of conversation; the occasional gigantic dog roaming in with its owner and promptly sprawling over a sizable section of our little shop. But in the end, nothing tops the simple pleasure of seeing a customer derive visible, almost tactile joy, when they finally hold the latest issue of their favourite magazine in their hands. This month’s installment of our Surprise Subscription is a prime example of this particular phenomenon. We are excited to share with you… Real Review!   More

The people and things we want feel very far away. Everything else feels far too near. Daily life is incorrectly calibrated. Lockdown kept us painfully apart. The virtual keeps us painfully together. Everyone wants the same thing. We all crave spaciousness. We all feel too close, without any closeness. This paradoxical sensation of claustrophobia and isolation is a condition of "absolute proximity". Have we changed? We interview archaeologist DAVID WENGROW on the dawn of everything. Philosophers SLAVOJ ZIZEK and TIMOTHY MORTON agree about the future of humans on planet Earth. Design studio METAHAVEN contribute an insert on the stuff of experience and sensation. Photographer TACITA DEAN captures a boat abandoned at sea. An essay by URSULA K. LE GUIN reviews the Hero narrative, with photography by MAGALI REUS. Film curator RÓISÍN TAPPONI reviews fake nails, while JACK SELF reviews lateral flow tests and mindfulness. CLAIRE MARIE HEALY reviews the girlish giggle; SEBASTIAN OLMA reviews autonomy in the art world; VIVIAN AMOS reviews millennial pink and zoomer green; nine Norwegians review chronic pain in a cultural probe by ANNA ULRIKKE ANDERSEN; architects SECRETARY review 14,495 flats in Stockholm; KRISTABEL CHUNG reviews Hong Kong’s live-in labour; JACOB DREYER reviews China’s “lying flat” movement; HARRY WOODLOCK reviews vital exhaustion; MADDY WEAVERS reviews anonymity; and @whylookatanimals presents a cardinal feeding a goldfish.

No society in human history has demanded so many people to be such active participants in producing the contemporary. No contemporary has ever been so aggressively monetised. Everything is for sale. There is more merchandise than love, more sponsored content than truth. As a coping mechanism, many amongst us have decided to check out from reality altogether; preferring to inhabit tailor-made fantasies and simulations. But only children believe that closing their eyes renders them invisible to monsters. When the monsters are real, closing our eyes rather increases the danger.⁠ ⁠ The latest issue of Real Review asks “What To Believe” and delves into the realms of all sorts of belief systems like conspiracy theories, the stock market, and technology, as well as the ways we create a representative image of ourselves through styling, the perfect lawn, and wearing work clothes when we don’t have to.⁠   Buy

The collective trauma of the pandemic has become an excuse for global capital to accelerate the total commodification of everyday life. Everything is for sale. There is more merchandise than love, [expand title="more"]more sponsored content than truth. No society in human history has demanded so many people be such active participants in producing the contemporary. No contemporary has ever been so aggressively monetised. As a coping mechanism, many amongst us have decided to check out from reality altogether; preferring to inhabit tailor-made fantasies and simulations. But only children believe that closing their eyes renders them invisible to monsters. When the monsters are real, closing our eyes rather increases the danger. INSIDE REAL REVIEW #11 We interview physicist CARLO ROVELLI on the modern concept of time. Philosopher TIMOTHY MORTON pens a love song to non-human life. Artist HELEN MARTEN contributes a multiple in the form of a scratch card. YUK HUI reviews history and technology, while KELLER EASTERLING reviews designing reality. Economist CHIARA DI LEONE reviews negative interest rates, while an anonymous writer from domyessayright.com reviews DAVID GRAEBER'S book Bullshit Jobs. MAISA IMAMOVIC reviews product styling for online shopping (photography by CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS), while GABRIELLE de la PUENTE reviews Long Covid. [/expand]

What is a renaissance? We interview His Holiness Pope Francis on the commodification of our souls. [expand title="more"]Writer EKOW ESHUN reviews WEB BOIS' double consciousness. Curator ARIA DEAN reviews FUTURE's Mask Off and Black excellence. Photographer STEPHEN SHORE, in conversation with JACK SELF, reviews pictures of the present. Artist ISSY WOOD reviews Diet Coke. Editor and NHS worker REBECCA SHARP reviews the SOCIALIST PATIENTS COLLECTIVE, while BRADY NG and HERA CHAN review Hong Kong protest strategies. Also in the issue: HUW LEMMEY reviews PIETRO ARETINO, the Renaissance master of pornographic literature and blackmail. TRAUM INC. with REAL REVIEW present a Renaissance collaboration inspired by MARCUS AURELIUS and GIOTTO. Artist ANNA BLESSMANN reviews absent artefacts and Indigenous activist PEKERI RUSKA reviews the Aboriginal concept of country. PEER ILLNER reviews WhatsApp and surveillance capitalism, while ADJUSTMENTS AGENCY reviews groundbreaking ceremonies. AHMED and RASHID BIN SHABIB review pigeon architecture and artist BEN CULLEN WILLIAMS reviews Antarctica (through the lens of AI neural networks). CHARLIE ROBIN JONES reviews horoscopes, MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE reviews solitude and JACK SELF reviews the internet.[/expand]

Quite fitting comes the title of REAL REVIEW #9 End Times: Aren't these strange times? We interview RYUICHI SAKAMOTO on the meaning of good timing. OLAFUR ELIASSON presents a special artwork to help us feel more together, [expand title="more"]while WILL SELF reviews deep adaptation and the ellipsis. Curator SARAH MCCRORY reviews the work of feminist artist ALEXIS HUNTER, who in turn reviews why the wives of Marxists still do the housework. EXTINCTION REBELLION publish a manifesto and call to arms, while CRESSIDA BROTHERSTONE and HARLEY WEIR review art therapy and neurodiversity. HITO STEYERL reviews the algorithms designed to distinguish faces from butts. GIORGIO AGAMBEN reviews the contemporary. Also in the issue: AMY ROMER reviews modern-day slavery, while JACK SELF reviews the invention of the Japanese housewife and how edging reframes being. ELISABETH KENDALL reviews Jihadi poetry, TAMAR SHAFRIR reviews Vitruvius, RAVEN SMITH reviews the endless cycle of fashion and ZOË RITTS reviews the pop-up.[/expand]

Coming in a slim format, but unfolding into a wide one once you open it, Real Review is a magazine that wants to be stuffed into your pocket to be read wherever you go instead of laying around on the coffee table. While other magazines try to allure you by a pretty layout but leave you with articles that make you feel you just read two pages of placeholder text, Real Review captivates through genuinely well written and researched articles. The topics chosen are relevant and very specific, therefore giving you an actual inside in „what it means to live today“ – the motto of this quarterly magazine on contemporary culture. Issue 8 embraces subjects such as how extrinsic motives trick our mind like junk food so that we cannot stop following them even though they make us (scientifically proven) sick and unhappy. Therefor we all act like junkies basing our life choices on junk values. Followed by investigations of the fashion trend of merging luxury brand logos with lifestyle brands, Gucci’s twisted-around-logo to knock off the knockoffs or Vêtements’ 250$ take on DHL T-Shirts. While thoughts on how the presentation of the Chaise Longue, throughout art history until today, topped with a half naked, passively waiting female body, reveal the thereby manifested image of the sexually available woman. An inlay is featuring photographic and written snippets by Wolfgang Tillmans composed especially for Real Review. To be honest each article in this issue deserves a full review, but because this is social media and everybody is only looking at the pictures anyway, we suggest you to check out this jewel of a magazine yourself. Buy

Real Review #8 explores what it means to be against from within. It is to identify critical concentrations of power, become experts in their internal logic, then develop methods for inhabiting and altering their operations. [expand title="more"]It is to pursue strategies that instrumentalise the oppressors in service of the oppressed. It is by no means a clean path. Trojan Horse attitudes pose many questions about authenticity, autonomy, agency and honesty.[/expand] read Review

Woke Awakening. You've been privatised, pathologised, indebted and exploited. Civil society is disintegrating, and hard-won freedoms are being undone. Yet from this maelstrom has emerged an intense clarity: a desire for sobriety, self-control, altruism, generosity, and the pursuit of mental and physical wellbeing. We are more aware, informed, engaged, and alert to social injustices – particularly of race, gender and geography. We are woke. But is this miraculous awakening to structural inequalities true or merely tokenistic? Is wokeness a fad, or a systemic, generational shift in social ethos? Real Review is a contemporary culture magazine with the strapline "what it means to live today".

Irenosen Okojie’s surreal fiction twists and shifts the world as we know it; in an interview with Leon Craig, Okojie discusses her novel BUTTERFLY FISH (2015) and her two short story collections to date. Interviewed by poet Alok Vaid-Menon, writer Ocean Vuong reflects on myth-making and the future of Asian-American literature. Rebecca Liu contends with the ‘tiger mom’ trope and the representation of Asian mothers in fiction. Polly Barton writes an ode to the Japanese new-wave pop star Jun Togawa in her essay ‘Insect Woman’, Lili Hamlyn examines death denial by way of cryogenics and posthumous sperm retrieval, and artist Zach Blas discusses psychedelics, Silicon Valley futurism and the history of a speculative US military weapon known as the ‘gay bomb’. Writer and poet Maria Stepanova and Eugene Ostashevsky paraphrase the Roman poet Ovid’s poetry of exile, in their experimental translation project, ‘Ovid Void’, published in both Russian and English. In ‘The Understory’, an extract from a forthcoming novel by the Thai writer Saneh Sangsuk, translated by Mui Poopoksakul, a monk relays a legend to a group of children about the decline of the forest and a tiger intent on revenge. In an inventive story, ‘Young Forest’, US author Shane Jones depicts a brother on a quest to find a sibling who has escaped into the woods. In ‘The Chicken’, winner of the 2021 White Review Short Story Prize, sponsored by RCW, RZ Baschir captures the horror of oppression and the visceral links between woman and animal. The issue includes poetry by Raymond de Borja, James Giddings and Kandace Siobhan Walker, winner of the 2021 White Review Poet’s Prize.