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Rediscovering poetry

28 Sep 2016 Category: poetry

When I was a teenager, I wrote poetry. Well, maybe that’s the wrong word. It was half-baked doggerel chopped up into lines that showed how really angsty I was, man, and how no one understood me. You know. Teenage stuff. I scrawled in notebooks, filling endless pages with such nonsense.

I grew out of it of course, like so many do. We regard our juvenilia as a source of embarrassment. Items made when we were still learning to exist. So I stopped writing poetry after the first year of university, lacking the inclination. I tried to carry on for a...

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A report into the spread of M3W

20 Sep 2016 Category: stories

Thank you all for attending in such trying circumstances. Dobson sends her apologies.

On July 31st, strain M3W appeared on the App store. As far as we can tell, patient zero downloaded the app that day. This whole mess started on that day.

It was published by a developer under the pseudonym TranZo. We have still to track them down. M3W was their first app and they did not pay for any advertisements or promotion. Typically, small apps appear then sit dormant on the store for years. If only we were that lucky in this case.

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The Ambiguity of Captain Fantastic

14 Sep 2016 Category: films

Captain Fantastic is a brilliant film. Sensitive and compassionate, it tells the story of a family isolated from society, who are forced to go cross country to attend their mother’s funeral. In doing so, they have to enter mainstream society for the first time. It is remarkably beautiful, with an excellent script and nuanced performances, especially from the children and Viggo Mortensen as Ben.

Ben is a dropout from society, obsessed with Noam Chomsky. He has removed his children from society and taken them deep into the woods. There, he raises his children on a steady diet of exercise and...

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August bits and bobs

06 Sep 2016 Category: link round up

I was away for a large portion of August, with my phone deliberately turned off. I was in the Isle of Skye and saw amazing things, like the sunset above. As such, I don’t have much this month, but there are a few things I enjoyed:

  • I wrote about Free Speech a little while ago, so was interested to read about the group who try and promote it as a big issue. The only problem is, they seem to be achieving the opposite:

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Theatre and the Art of the Possible

01 Sep 2016 Category: theatre

I’m just back from a week in Scotland. I spent a couple of days at the Edinburgh Fringe, then onto the incredibly beautiful Isle of Skye.Then back to Edinburgh for a night. It was an excellent trip, filled with delight.

One of the particular delights was seeing so many varied and interesting shows at the fringe. Living just outside London, I should be able to see as much theatre as I wanted, but the cost of tickets and transport to the centre is often off putting. As a result, I have not been able to see as much live performances...

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Writing Fast and Sloppy

17 Aug 2016 Category: writing

So this is a post on freewriting and i am carrying on writing without stopping and i can’t stop i just have to keep writing writing got to keep writing and-

Whenever I’ve had a spare ten minutes recently, I’ve been practising freewriting. It is fantastically simple. Open up a blank word document, set a timer and just write with great speed. I ignore typos, ignore grammar and just focus on filling the page. Generally, if my mind goes completely blank I just start to repeat “Writing, Writing” over and over again until my mind snags on something and I...

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Stranger Things and the art of Pastiche

10 Aug 2016 Category: television

There be spoilers ahead

Last week, I binge-watched Stranger Things on Netflix. It’s been awhile since I mainlined a tv show like that, but Stranger Things is worth it.

The plot involves a boy going missing in a small Indiana town, a mysterious government facility and a girl with telekinetic powers. There’s teenage parties and a monster that stalks the town. Basically, it’s a combination of many different eighties movies and books, most notably Poltergeist, ET and Stephen King books. Look at the main logo for example, a pitch perfect recreation of eighties horror titles. It’s also brilliant. A gripping...

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July Links: Summer was on a Tuesday this year

03 Aug 2016 Category: link round up

I’ve been really busy this month with all good things. I went to three music festivals, canoed down the Thames and generally had lots of good times.. But in between playing Pokemon Go, there’s been a few articles and things that are worth reading:

  • The ever reliable Leo Babuta with some writing advice. It’s advice from more of a mindfulness perspective. This is particularly helpful advice i feel:

    Anyone can write, and everyone should. You don’t have to be James Joyce to write. Even if you never want to be a pro, you can write in a...

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Just Walk Away: On Cynicism and Subjectivity

27 Jul 2016 Category: music

I was at Tramlines music festival in Sheffield at the weekend. There was sunshine, there was music, there was booze. Lots of good times were had. One of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing was Public Service Broadcasting, who did not disappoint.

I think the band are really something special, with a unique blend of live music and retro samples. However, I can appreciate they are not for everyone. They were oddly scheduled as well, on the main stage before the headliners Catfish and the Bottlemen.

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Free speech, Twitter and 'So You've Been Publicly Shamed'

20 Jul 2016 Category: book review

Free speech is hard, especially on the internet. You should have the ability to say almost anything without fear of legal repercussion. Other than words that actively harm people, like shouting fire in a crowded room, or death threats, you should be able to say any stupid stuff you like. The beauty of free speech is that if you say something objectionable or offensive, people can argue with you and say you were out of line.

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Ponyo and Adaptation

12 Jul 2016 Category: films

Ponyo is a joyous film, a celebration of childhood and youth with beautiful visuals. It’s pure joy from start to finish, with inventive twists and a unique style. Generally, Studio Ghibli films are among some of my favourites because of the rambling yet emotional stories that feel very different to any other film. This film is no exception, with a wide ranging plot involving prehistoric fish and mysterious spirits of the sea.

Ponyo is the story of a fish who is swept ashore and rescued by a human boy, Sōsuke. She refuses to return to the sea and wants to...

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June Links - No Politics, I Promise

06 Jul 2016 Category: link round up

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</div> Given everything that is going on at the moment, I’m amazed we made it to the end of July. However, there’s enough good stuff out there to take your mind off the malestrom. Here’s a few things I’ve enjoyed:

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Always more to learn: Thoughts on 'Wonderbook'

04 Jul 2016 Category: book review

I’ve finished reading Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer. It’s a great read, full of useful information and exercises. Mostly, it is a nuts and bolts guide to stories and their various elements, characters, plotting, but the way it presented and the advice it gives about the imagination make it truly unique.

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A short play not at all inspired by recent events

30 Jun 2016 Category: politics

I wrote this for More in Common from the Royal Court, which is well worth checking out. It was written fairly quickly so it’s not perfect.

Viral

(A high street, just after all the shops have closed.
TOMO is sat on a bench. JAY is pacing up and down)

TOMO: Sit down mate.
JAY: Mate I’m so-
TOMO: Hungry?
JAY: Bored.
TOMO: Right.
JAY: Nothing to do here.
TOMO: Never is.

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Brexit and the story we have been told

25 Jun 2016 Category: politics

Given the clusterfuck that is happening in the UK at the moment, I’m probably going to be doing a few more political posts in the future. Just a heads up as I try work out what the hell is going on through words. I understand it is much, much more complex than I can do justice to, but this is just one take on it

So on Friday, I woke up to the news that Britain has utterly fucked itself over. The omnishambles of a political situation has boiled over and a majority of people voted to leave the European...

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