What is this?

I am a journalist and novelist called Justin (or The Guyliner, long story), and my newsletter is a series of content formats, or strands if you like, so I’m writing something different every time. It’s a Substack featured publication which may well mean that it’s… good? I don’t know.

A rosette which says 'Substack featured publication 2023' on it

I think one email a week is more than enough for anybody, so that’s all I send. These content strands take it in turns to be the featured email of the week – there’s no fixed order or rota so some may come round more often than others. Here’s what I’m writing:

The truth about everything*

My original newsletter format, running since summer 2017. It’s an essay on… whatever. Perhaps inspired by something happening in the world right now, or a sparked memory. Just a new, fresh bit of writing from me.

Highlights: Cherry blossom | Routines | Connections | Losing Paul O’Grady

See all The truth about everything* essays

Ejector Seat

I used to struggle to make it past the pilot of any TV show, but I’m getting better. In Ejector seat, I watch the pilot episode of a TV show old or new, and ask myself (literally) whether it’s worth carrying on.

See all Ejector Seat posts

Mood Ring

A set of 3–5 waspish, yet very tongue-in-cheek, mini essays on the world at large.

See all Mood Ring posts

Word Count

Word Count picks out popular columnists, columns, or regular features in the media and has a closer look at them. Not in a horrible way. Just… in a way.

See all Word Count posts

I will happily take nominations for future reviews from readers.

The Madonna Diaries

A series of personal essays about Madonna’s back catalogue, looking at the artwork and video (if it’s a single) and my own memories of that period and the song itself.

See all Madonna Diaries posts


According to the dictionary, a flashbulb memory is ‘an unusually vivid, richly detailed, and long-lasting memory for the circumstances surrounding a dramatic event’. Like a JFK/Princess Diana moment, I guess, but my Flashbulbs are pop culture highlights that got us talking way back when, reappraised with hindsight and better skincare.

See all Flashbulb posts

Subscribe to The truth about everything*

Essays on TV, pop, the media, celebrities, and the crushing reality of twenty-first century existence. I slide into your inbox with the grace of a cow rollerblading down the steps of Leicester Square Tube station.


The Guyliner guy. Author, journalist. Fourth novel LEADING MAN coming spring 2024. Get new writing from me first, here. Obviously. (he/him)