Hello world

And so we begin

Welcome to The View From Down Here with me, Lucy Webster.

What is this new little corner of the internet?

It’s a weekly newsletter, coming directly from me to you via the wonders of email. It’s all quite ‘90s.

I’ll be writing about my four favourite things: disability, feminism, politics, and books. I really love books.

This is the first free issue. The first subscriber-only issue, ‘How being too disabled for a dating agency led me to quit my job’, lands tomorrow, and how could you want to miss that?

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To help us get acquainted, let’s start with a little bit about me.

I’m a freelance journalist and writer. Until very recently, I was a political journalist for the BBC, but I’ve struck out on my own to try some new stuff. Today is the first day of my new life, and I’m sharing it with you! Isn’t that nice?

What else? I’m an avid reader, I consider the pub to be my natural habitat, and I’ve watched the entire West Wing box set at least seven or eight times, mostly because Josh Lyman is my ideal man.

Don’t judge me.

Anyway, one other thing: I’m disabled. I’m a full-time wheelchair user, and I have been since I got too old to crawl around. I know disability, it’s the frame through which I interact with the world. I really do have the view from down here and I’m really excited to share it with you!

A little bit of housekeeping

The View From Down Here is a weekly newsletter.

Subscriptions are £5 a month - and for your money you’ll get:

  • The weekly edition, including links to some of the best writing on the internet

  • Non-fiction book reviews at least once a month

  • Access to community discussions and Q&As

  • Access to the full archive on the Substack site

There’s also a free option, which will give you access to one issue a month.

So hit subscribe and pick the option that’s best for you. You may even discover a special offer…

It’s Monday again! How’s your week looking?

It’s the middle of August and I’ve just left my first ever job after a four year Brexit-election-pandemic sprint, so people keep asking me if I’m having a break.

‘A break,’ I wonder. ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’

The truth is, I know I couldn’t relax now even if I did lock away my laptop. I’m really excited to get this newsletter off the ground (read: send it to everyone I’ve ever met) and I’m also drafting a book proposal which is exciting and daunting and just a bit surreal, too. So it’s going to be a busy couple of weeks.

But I’m going to try to have some downtime and look after my frankly knackered disabled body, by taking some time each day to read, swim or get outside. I’m going to see friends and enjoy the freedom to say yes to plans and events. And I’m going to have some lie-ins. It’s all about balance, right?

How are you planning to enjoy August? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you’ll become part of The View From Down Here community.

See you soon,

Links of the week

Because I love reading and talking about what I’m reading, here’s some links to Interesting Stuff On The Internet (TM):

  • The last humanist: how Paul Gilroy became the most vital guide to our age of crisis (The Guardian) - I saw Gilroy mentioned a lot after the Black Lives Matter protests last year but didn’t really know much about him. This is a brilliant primer on his life and work and prompted me to add his books to my ever-expanding wishlist

  • Is Taiwan next? (NYT Magazine) - This incredible long read asks whether the unrest in Hong Kong is a harbinger for trouble in Taiwan, as China’s strongman Xi tries to extend CCP control on both islands. The piece follows the lives of young activists, and you can really feel their growing fear for their freedom

  • What’s in a hug (All In Her Head) - I’m really enjoying Jessica Valenti’s own Substack newsletter, and this issue about how women know the difference between friendliness and creepiness is spot on

  • Tories paid funds to company owned by Ben Elliot, the party’s chairman (The Times, paywalled) - The Sunday Times’ latest expose on the cash and people moving between Mr Elliot’s political and business operations. I apologise if it leaves you feeling even more dejected about the state of the country, but technically it’s not my fault

If you enjoyed this issue of The View From Down Here, don’t forget to subscribe and share!