Slow West vs DC

I watch a lot of movies, if I have a couple of hours free I’ll usually watch a movie than regular TV; although I’ll admit that Netflix has changed my habits there quite a bit, but then many of the shows that they are releasing – House of Cards, Daredevil, Jessica Jones – en masse are essentially just a longer movie chopped up into episodes. This weekend I went to the cinema to see Batman vs Superman, a big blockbuster special effects superhero thing. I also watched Slow West (on Netflix), an independently budgetted movie which won some awards at the Canne Film Festival (I think). The difference, outside of budgets, special effects, storyline, setting et al, was striking. Strip …

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Weekend Reading

Love’s labour brings down hill Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife Mumtaz. The monument is now considered the world’s greatest monument of love. Dashrath Das’ monument of love may not be as beautiful, but in a way, it is more awe-inspiring than Shah Jahan’s feat. 7 Facts About Drugs and Addiction That Will Make You Question Everything You Know There’s no subject in our culture where the conversation is dominated by myths and misconceptions so much as drugs. We are frightened to talk about it. We are tempted to fall back on stock-phrases and mental spasms — Just Say No, and all its more modern twists. The Devil and Walt Disney We all have our origin …

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I have a switch

The switch doesn’t make a sound. From on to off and back again. Proximity is all that’s needed to tumble the switch and I am who you see. Then when the world retreats again I switch back. It’s more noticeable, to me at least, when I’m tired. The music choices change, different tracks are skipped. If I’m tired I head to melancholy, long assumed to be my resting state, my natural place. I like it there, it’s familiar and comfortable. A soft blanket on a cold day. The soporific warmth of the summer sun carrying me away. I don’t see it as a bad place these days, I’ve made my peace with the quiet noise in my head. When well …

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Weekend Reading

My Year in San Francisco’s $2 Million Secret Society Startup I blinked. I didn’t know Justin very well. I did know that he was a very affable bearded man, and we both lived in the Bay Area. At the time, he ran a small creative agency, while I worked as a writer and digital media consultant. “I’ve been thinking about giving you something,” he said. The history of ugliness shows that there is no such thing In the 19th century, a hirsute aboriginal woman from Mexico named Julia Pastrana was billed on the freak-show circuit as ‘The Ugliest Woman in the World’. The Bidding War America’s war in Afghanistan, which is now in its fifteenth year, presents a mystery: how …

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Walking Home

The bell finally rings and as one we rise, chairs scrabble across worn tiles as the dull intonation from the teacher behind her desk – take your time and remember to do your homework – bounces and echoes round the room with no ear willing to catch it. We all want out. The first of us stream down the corridor and quickly overwhelm the metal door, with all its dull edges and cross hatched safety glass, that marks the boundary of our freedom. We spill forth; the thundering of feet on the ground where we play, a tumult of immature noises rising and merging as the classrooms empty. At the main entrance to the playground the parents await. Some are …

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Weekend Reading

Reminder: you can get the Weekend Reading posts straight to your inbox by subscribing over there –>> The rise of American authoritarianism The American media, over the past year, has been trying to work out something of a mystery: Why is the Republican electorate supporting a far-right, orange-toned populist with no real political experience, who espouses extreme and often bizarre views? I’m equally fascinated by American politics, as I am horrified by the potential impact of Trump winning the whole damn thing. Given UK follows US… Boris for PM? Dear God. Sleep Munchies: Why It’s Harder To Resist Snacks When We’re Tired There’s lots of evidence that getting too little sleep is associated with overeating and an increased body weight. …

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Podcasts

It’s been a while (a year!) since I wrote about podcasts but with my recent change of job, and a 30-odd minute commute by bus, I’ve been hunting about for some more podcasts to fill my time, and on the way I’ve ditched a couple I used to listen to, so I thought it worthwhile popping a list of my current subscriptions here in case anyone else has the same, admittedly specific and narrow, set of interests as me. In saying that, most of my choices of whether to subscribe to a podcast or not is largely based around time. Anything over 40 odd minutes doesn’t make the cut – every rule has exceptions of course – and my subscriptions …

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Weekend Reading

Psssst, want to get these posts by email? Subscribe over there on the right. Why do the British say ‘sorry’ so much? It is probably the most over-used word in the United Kingdom: whether they are sorry about the weather or sorry because someone else has bumped into them, chances are your average Briton has blurted out at least one apology in the past hour or two. Obviously I’m sorry I am posting this given that you all probably feel like you should read it now, yeah, sorry about that. Your Letters Helped Challenger Shuttle Engineer Shed 30 Years Of Guilt When NPR reported Bob Ebeling’s story on the 30th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, hundreds …

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Fake it

Fake it until you make it I feel fantastic. I’m great. I’m good. It’s a wonderful day. All good here. They are just words but they trip off my tongue easily these days, pavlovian responses to the standard office greeting “How are you?”. I glance outside at the blue sky, the sun is shining, I have a job, I have a roof over my head, what the hell have I got to be sad about anyway? So when people ask me “How are you?” I repeat my responses. I think I’m fooling them. I know some days I’m trying to fool myself. Thankfully those days are few and far between, as when I started this little training exercise with myself …

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