I finally got round to listening to the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Skeleton Tree. It is an incredible listen, but also quite harrowing. After twenty-three years as a band and sixteen studio releases, the music still manages to sound fresh and different. Warren Ellis’ sparse but haunting instrumentation adds a strange melancholy air to the proceedings. I’ve listened a few times now and I think it might be one of my favourite albums by the band. But also, I don’t plan on listening to it too much.
Oh boy. If ever there was a book that was designed to make you furious about the current state of the world, this is it. Although The Shock Doctrine was published in 2007, Naomi Klein’s insight into the conservative mindset still remains sadly relevant to the world today.
So I was going to write about something else entirely, but then the I stumbled on The Daily Mail on Twitter. I try to avoid it when I can because it is always a hate-filled rag, but I couldn’t avoid it. Today it published this front page:
It brings to the surface a lot of feelings that have been brewing in this country recently. It’s also widely inaccurate and scary. Everyone has accepted Brexit is going to happen, it’s just a case of how badly it is going to hurt the country. Front page spreads...
Summer has flown away, the trees are turning and autumn has hit with a punch overnight. All of a sudden it’s a bit grim outside and we hunker down, gather straw around us and hibernate until winter. Ah well, here’s some things that I enjoyed in September, and you might too:
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...
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.
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...
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’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...
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...
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...
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:
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...
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.
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.
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...