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talking to infinitely more interesting people

the world will probably melt during a ‘room to improve’ repeat

For some reason, the hardest part of writing an interview (besides sending a polite DM to whoever you’re planning on talking to) is the introductory paragraph, at least to me anyway. I find it scarily hard to condense why I find a certain artist or personality interesting down into a few sentences without coming off as even more of a pretentious arsehole and sadly the work of Matthew Harris (aka. Applemask) is no exception to this inability. According to the about page on his website, Harris is obsessed with what the Japanese term “mono no aware” – the pathos of things. In other words, Harris obsesses over small, discarded pieces of pop culture and uses these glimpses into the more mundane aspects of the past as the basis for his various video essays. Applemask is probably best known for ‘ITV in the Face’, a scarily-long amateur documentary series that dissects the (at the time of the 2016 remaster) sixty-year history of the British broadcaster through it’s various regional logos and idents, heavily utilizing footage from VHS tapes that’d usually be skipped or forgotten about. There’s something oddly captivating about Harris’s combination of the mundane and the substantial – historical events are marked by embarrassing ads for tabloid rags and Julie Simmons introducing *’Coronation Street’,* reinforcing the odd mundanity of living through a major news event that we’re all currently staring straight in the face. One of Harris’ best video essays (and one I’m mad for not asking about in this interview) is “The Alma Syndrome”, a piece attempting to depict the eeriness of British media in the hours following the death of Princess Diana. Even as someone who talks scarily frequently about James Connolly (and gets stupidly insecure about coming off as a West-Brit while reading this paragraph), there’s something quite fascinating about this video – the last thing aired on ITV before the news broke that Diana had died was some tacky Britpop song that I couldn’t be arsed to locate and there’s something oddly poignant about that fact. The world will probably melt during a ‘Room To Improve’ repeat and Harris’ work is interesting as it makes that fact blindly obvious (if not strangely beautiful). Hopefully that doesn’t seem too pretentious for an introduction – either way, let’s just get on to the interview already.