In no particular order:
282: John Berger’s Ways of Seeing was a core text during my first foray into Women’s Studies in 1989. I had his quote on my noticeboard for years: ‘You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for you own pleasure.‘ After his death, he is remembered well.
281: ‘It’s easier to make a phone call than to make the effort to see someone in person. Shooting off an email is easier still, because one can further hide behind the absence of vocal inflection, and of course there’s no chance of accidentally catching someone. With texting, the expectation for articulateness is further reduced, and another shell is offered to hide in. Each step “forward” has made it easier – just a little – to avoid the emotional work of being present, to convey information rather than humanity. The problem with accepting – with preferring – diminished substitutes is that, over time, we too become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little’. Jonathan Safran Foer writes about how the increasing enmeshment of technology in our lives, takes us further from our humanity.
280: The story of Penguin Bloom had me in bits! An Australian family who rescued ‘a tiny, scruffy, injured’ magpie chick they called Penguin. In caring for the newest member of their family, the Blooms – including mother Sam, who was herself coming to terms with paralysis after an accident – found that Penguin helped them to heal emotionally.
279: As we all prepare for A Year in the Life by watching all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, a brilliant super-fan has put together a list of all 339 books referenced in the series. In some alternate universe, I am managing the Stars Hollow Library.
278: Matthew Beaumont writes about London at night – how it is still a wild place – with creatures and unknowns. There is something about the night for me that feels very comfortable. I am more comfortable in my own and others shadows and darkness; I love the untamedness of the dark and freedom, subversion, doubt – these are narratives that run through me. ‘“However efficiently artificial light annihilates the difference between night and day,” the poet and critic Al Alvarez wrote, “it never wholly eliminates the primitive suspicion that night people are up to no good.” Over the past four or five centuries, a series of social and technological changes have reshaped the city at night, progressively colonising it. The introduction of oil light, gaslight and electric light has, for example, successively reshaped it according to the needs of a diurnal state. And the extension of working hours has reshaped it according to the needs of a daytime economy. But these changes haven’t completely dispelled its pre-modern past. Cities nurture a heart of darkness that even the processes of industrialisation and electrification, the introduction of all-night factories and shops, all-night buses and trains, have failed fully to conquer’.
277: Women’s empowerment: I’m fascinated by the conversation Kelly Diels is marshalling around her new book about The Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. Diels nails it in describing the conflation of ‘personal financial freedom with collective liberation’. For me, the biggest irony about empowerment, is not just how utterly meaningless it has become as a term (right up there with sovereignty and authenticity), but how those who claim to feel it and those to whom it is sold, are often the ones who need it least. This particular paragraph: ‘The women at the helm of these enterprises market to women with images of their professionally beautiful selves and their enviable lives. They do it in the guise of building a relationship with you but what they’re doing is dramatizing the gap between your ordinary apartment and their New York loft, their frequent and fabulous holidays and your staycations, their flat abs and your squishy stomach, their nearly-naked yoga and your see-through yoga pants (the ones that their inventor never intended for your kind of ass, after all), their famous besties and your toxic friends, their bottomless bank accounts and your overdraft. This kind of lifestyle marketing relies on you internalizing the comparison between their exteriors and your interior; feeling bad about your present and fearful about your future; and then buying an individual solution for your individual problem from them. Because obviously they’ve got it all figured out.‘
276: ‘The antidote for violence is conversation’ Krista Tippett interviews Jonathan Sacks who was the Chief Rabbi of Britain for 22 years. He talks about finding the sacred in ‘the other’ and the secularisation of morality. Its a beautifully rich and hopeful conversation.
275: Novelist Marilynne Robinson and POTUS Obama in conversation.
274: ‘A month after her death, my mother was still dying. When I went to her apartment to sort her mail and pack up her things, she was there — a little less each week, but still. She walked in and flopped down on the full length of the couch with one outstretched hand brushing the floor, a Kleenex in her sleeve, surveying the vast empire of magazines on her coffee table. This is how I held on to her for a few years — when I played it right‘ ~ Learning to die, by Margot Mifflin
273: ‘With each breath feel your body saying ‘fuck that’… with passive acceptance allow all the soul-eating cock suckers fade away into nothing…’
272: The vilification of Jeremy Corbyn by the UK press is somewhat expected though I was really surprised he was not supported by the Observer. Ed Vulliamy argues brilliantly for Corbyn: ‘… how much of what Corbyn argues do most voters disagree with, if they stop to think? Do people approve of bewildering, high tariffs set by the cartel of energy companies, while thousands of elderly people die each winter of cold-related diseases? Do students and parents from middle- and low-income families want tuition fees? Do people like paying ludicrous fares for signal-failure, delays and overcrowding on inept railways? Do people urge tax evasion by multinationals and billionaires, which they then subsidise with cuts to the NHS? Post-cold war, who exactly are we supposed to kill en masse with these expensive nuclear missiles? What’s so good about the things Corbyn wants to drastically change?’
272: ‘Cultivate relationships with those who can teach you. Let friendly intercourse be a school of knowledge, and let culture be taught through conversation. Thus you make your friends your teachers and mingle the pleasures of conversation with the advantages of instruction. We are always attracted to others by our own interest, but in this case it is of a higher kind. Wise people frequent the houses of great nobility as theatres of heroism not temples of vanity. They are renowned for their worldly wisdom, not only for being oracles of all nobleness by their example and their behaviour, but because those who surround them form a courtly academy of worldly wisdom of the best and noblest kind’ ~ Balthasar Gracián: The art of worldly wisdom (1637)
271: Grace Dent on documenting our lives on Instagram: ‘If we can’t see this person you rub genitals with starring as a recurrent character in your ongoing Instagram lifestory, then I’m going to have to assume your “boyfriend” is an old, discarded shop mannequin you found in a skip. No Instagram filter is going to make this acceptable.’
270: ‘The end of capitalism has begun‘ Paul Mason is in my List of Top Five All-time Favourite Economists and he writes about the financial, political and social structures that are crumbling before our eyes. For Mason, post-capitalism is a hopeful and progressive future based on abundance and imagination: Think of the difference between, say, Horatio in Hamlet and a character such as Daniel Doyce in Dickens’s Little Dorrit. Both carry around with them a characteristic obsession of their age – Horatio is obsessed with humanist philosophy; Doyce is obsessed with patenting his invention. There can be no character like Doyce in Shakespeare; he would, at best, get a bit part as a working-class comic figure. Yet, by the time Dickens described Doyce, most of his readers knew somebody like him. Just as Shakespeare could not have imagined Doyce, so we too cannot imagine the kind of human beings society will produce once economics is no longer central to life. But we can see their prefigurative forms in the lives of young people all over the world breaking down 20th-century barriers around sexuality, work, creativity and the self. A video debate: is capitalism dead?
269: In his book Against Happiness: In Praise Of Melancholia, Eric Wilson explores the depths of sadness and how experiencing mental anguish can actually make us more empathetic, creative people. He rejects the idea of inflated happiness our culture and society is obsessed with, and instead explains why we reap benefits from the darker moments in life: ‘I for one am afraid that our American culture’s overemphasis on happiness at the expense of sadness might be dangerous, a wanton forgetting of an essential part of a full life. I further am wary in the face of this possibility: to desire only happiness in a world undoubtedly tragic is to become inauthentic, to settle for unrealistic abstractions that ignore concrete situations. I am finally fearful over our society’s efforts to expunge melancholia from the system. Without the agitations of the soul, would all of our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?’
268: ‘It’s odd how those who dismiss the peace movement as utopian, don’t hesitate to proffer the most absurdly dreamy reasons for going to war: to stamp out terrorism, install democracy, eliminate fascism, and most entertainingly, to ‘rid the world of evil-does‘ ~ Arundhati Roy
267: ‘He never looked back to notice me praying for him, creating a force field around him and his Icee. He was oblivious to the potential danger, engulfed in a world of caramel sweetness, a state of bliss that every child deserves’. Thea Monyee’ A Living Poem: How Bearing Witness to the Murder of Black Boys Has Changed Me.
266: Three guys died when I was at the halfway house: Chris, Arturo, and Luke. They all died right after I left in pretty quick succession. Each one hurt like a motherfucker. Drugs Will Kill Your Friends, by Rob Delaney.
265: ‘The forest represents the confluence of nature, culture, and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In more recent history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious. Against this backdrop my work explores the ways in which identity is formed by the landscapes we live and grow up in. I adore Ellie Davies photography of English forests.
264: Most of the original 600 pages of Darwin’s Origin of the Species are lost, and of the 45 pages that exist today, many were repurposed by his brood of 10 children as art supplies: ‘Darwin was done with those pages — he was throwing away sections of his draft and not caring about it because the book was published,’ said Darwin Manuscripts Project Director David Kohn. More from The New Yorker.
263: Oliver Sacks on learning he has terminal cancer: I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.
262: Anne Lamott. ‘Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that. Shoot the moon.’
261: An interview with Gisèle d’Ailly van Waterschoot van der Gracht, aged 100.
260: Sara Seinberg: So you wanna lose weight. The microculture of restriction and denial serve to starve our inner ideas of thriving. They sent me from feeling like I was a little bit in the weeds directly into the damn wilderness. My newly found self-esteem turned out to be a thin reflective mirror easily shattered by the truth of my real depth of self-loathing. Underneath all the desire to be thin or perfect or pretty or NORMAL was the monstrous truth that I was just not enough. Not successful enough or desirable enough or talented enough or … I’m sorry. Am I boring you to DEATH?! On top of that, to discover my utter edgeless lack of original despair, the desperately boring female trope lodged in me like a vestige of postmodernist Snoresville, the wholly disappointing discovery that at my core I was a delicate fucking flower that wanted to be a wisp…. Jesus. It was a true terror. Even my most private failures turned flaccid.
259: Geometrical Psychology. In 1887, Kiwi Benjamin Betts attempted to draw consciousness: ‘…consciousness is the only fact that we can study directly, since all other objects of knowledge must be perceived through consciousness. Mathematical form is the first reflection and most pure image of our subjective activity.’
258: Krista Tippett interviews Mary Oliver: ‘the only record I broke and in school was truancy. I went to the woods a lot with books. Whitman in the knapsack. But I also liked motion. So I just began with these little notebooks and scribbled things as I — they came to me. And then worked them into poems later. And always I wanted the “I.” Many of the poems are “I did this. I did this. I saw this.” I wanted them — the “I” to be the possible reader, rather than about myself. It was about an experience that happened to be mine but could well have been anybody else’s. And that was my feeling about the “I.” I have been criticized by one editor who felt that “I” would be felt as ego. And I thought, no, well, I’m going to risk it and see. And I think it worked. It enjoined the reader into the experience of the poem. I became the kind of person who did the walking and the scribbling but shared it’.
257: Andreanne Lupien’s portraits of cat people are all kinds of awesome:
256: For anyone with romantic notions about England, listen to Mark Steel’s In Town: a brilliant radio series showcasing small British towns with a live local audience: ‘I was advised to have a look at Port Nahaven, about eight miles away, so I drove up a single tiny track and was so far west you can clearly see Donegal. It all seemed so remote it demanded a swim, so I clambered in the sea next to a goose. Back in Bruicladdich I said to someone setting up chairs at the hall “I went for a swim in Port Nahaven, next to a goose”. And he said, “Ah that’s Gavin.” “Who’s Gavin?” I said. “Gavin the goose”, he said. That’s how remote these places are. Not only does everyone know each other, they know the geese, from eight miles away.’
255: Adromeda – our closest neighbour galaxy from the Hubble Space Telescope. Breathtaking:
254: Good to remember: ‘No one is as happy as they seem on Facebook, as depressed as they seem on Twitter, or as employed as they seem on LinkedIn’ ~ @rayke
253: The Hard Problem. What is consciousness? And does it prove the existence of our soul? Australian philosopher (not in turns out, an oxymoron) David Chalmers provides a fantastic retort to neuroscience: Why aren’t we just brilliant robots, capable of retaining information, of responding to noises and smells and hot saucepans, but dark inside, lacking an inner life? His ‘Zombie Theory’ is so elegant: ‘I could do a brain scan, and find out exactly what’s going on in your brain – yet it seems it could be consistent with all that evidence that you have no consciousness at all. Consciousness can’t just be made of ordinary physical atoms…it must, somehow, be something extra – an additional ingredient in nature’.
252: Sophie Calle: Take care of yourself. French artist Calle invited 107 women of different backgrounds and professions (including a psychoanalyst, a forensic psychiatrist, a Talmudic scholar, a judge, an etiquette consultant, a social worker and a copy editor) to read and interpret an email from her boyfriend ending their relationship. Calle created an exhibition displaying the myriad of interpretations of the text: ‘To analyse it, comment on it, dance it, sing it. Dissect it. Exhaust it. Understand it for me. Answer for me. It was a way of taking the time to break up. A way to take care of myself’.
251: A few month’s before he died, Terry Gross interviewed Maurice Sendak that reduced them both to tears: ‘I have nothing now but praise for my life. I’m not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can’t stop them. They leave me and I love them more. … What I dread is the isolation. … There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready.’ Christoph Niemann heard and illustrated part of the interview:
250: What caused The Big Bang? Guth’s theory of Cosmic Inflation is that, before our universe, there was constantly fluctuating waves of energy that caused space to expand exponentially. At the trough of one of these waves, the energy fell below a level and stopped inflating – this transformation was (allegedly) the big bang. (I understand about 0.001 squillionth of this, but Brian Cox offers a brilliant explanation in Ep. 2 of Human Universe).
249: ‘In Britain, the masses have a reputation for boisterous behaviour, coarse language and even violence. That is because about 30 years ago, the social solidarity of our working communities was destroyed by mass unemployment and poverty. We created a low-wage economy with low social cohesion, and if you sit until maybe 5am with your kebab, you will see the people at the bottom of the system: the cleaners and janitors, often migrants, going to work on the last of the night buses‘. What kebabs and train tickets teach you about Britain by Paul Mason.
248: 200 free documentaries you can watch online, right now.
247: 7 Questions to find your Life Purpose ‘You must get off your couch and act, and take the time to think beyond yourself, to think greater than yourself, and paradoxically, to imagine a world without yourself‘.
246: How your brain works: ‘God is in the neurons’
245: ‘This is not my destiny. It never was. And there is a curious rush of joy that I feel, knowing this to be true—for it is every bit as important in life to understand who you are NOT, as to understand who you ARE. Me, I’m just not a mom … Having reached a contented and productive middle age, I can say without a blink of hesitation that wouldn’t trade my choices for anything‘ Elizabeth Gilbert and other women on choosing childlessness.
244: Lorelei Gilmore: ‘My brain is a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. I’m writing a letter, I can’t write a letter, why can’t I write a letter? I’m wearing a green dress, I wish I was wearing my blue dress, my blue dress is at the cleaners. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue, ‘Casablanca’ is such a good movie. Casablanca, the White House, Bush. Why don’t I drive a hybrid car? I should really drive a hybrid car. I should really take my bicycle to work. Bicycle, unicycle, unitard. Hockey puck, rattlesnake, monkey, monkey, underpants!’
243: I’ve been waiting my whole life for a Pap Rap.
242: House of Cards. Tele catnip.
241: Yo Yo Ma goes beyond the cello: ‘We all get into trouble if we think the universe only exists of the matter that we can see and measure, and not the anti-matter that is the counterpart that holds it all together.’
239: ‘Before you tell yourself that your idea is too ambitious, too unrealistic, too pie-in-the-sky; remember that once there were no planes. There were no rockets to take us into space. There were no computers. Someone had to take the first leap. Someone had to build wings out of wood and try to fly. Someone had to look logic in the face and tell it to do one. That someone had the courage to try. And our world today is shaped by their efforts. So don’t shelve the crazy ideas because they’re too far into the clouds. The very fact that they’re crazy probably means you’re on to a winner‘.
238: ‘The mundane was back to its old business of turning out copies of itself – one moment pretty much like the one before it – but anyone could see that the effort was hopeless, that the clunky old reality machine would never work the same way again‘. Barbara Ehrenreich is one of my favourite journalists, a public skeptic, atheist, unrelenting intellectual. Which made her essay for the Guardian all the more powerful: ‘Was that you, God?‘
237: The Trick of Life by Akhil Sharma, in the NYT on the power of prayer: ‘I called my parents a few weeks ago on the second anniversary of my brother’s death. My father began telling me that he felt abandoned by my brother, that my brother’s dying feels like him leaving us. As he spoke, I started thinking: I love you. I love you. My usual response at this point would have been to tell my father that he needed to focus on the future, that what was past was past. Instead I told my father that he was wonderful, that he should think of how brave he had been to take care of his poor sick son for all those years, that his devotion had been heroic‘.
236: Hopper reimagined with emoji. More at Emoji Nation.
235: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking. ‘Sagan approaches the subject from the most vulnerable of places — having just lost both of his parents, he reflects on the all too human allure of promises of supernatural reunions in the afterlife. The kit, Sagan argues, isn’t merely a tool of science — rather, it contains invaluable tools of healthy skepticism that apply just as elegantly, and just as necessarily, to everyday life. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless guile and deliberate manipulation’. Touching and pragmatic #teamsagan
234: Crap Taxidermy.
233: Pitch Perfect. Crushed it.
232: Ojai, California. I spent a week there and left a piece of my heart.
231: Ms. Gloria Steinem, acknowledging on her 80th birthday: all the things she taught us.
230: If you thought Sheryl Sandberg’s demand for us to ‘Lean in’ was missing a subtitle: ‘WAY easier when you have staff, darling’ enjoy this from Rosa Brooks – Recline!
229: For the Motherless Daughters Hope Elderman‘s writing is beautiful.
228: Seinfeld’s internet interview series: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
227: ‘Instead of dumbing-down the future, we need to raise the level of general understanding to the level of complexity of the systems in which we are embedded and which are embedded in us. This is not about “personal stories of inspiration,” it’s about the difficult and uncertain work of de-mystification and re-conceptualization: the hard stuff that really changes how we think. In this case the placebo is worse than ineffective, it’s harmful. It’s diverts your interest, enthusiasm and outrage until it’s absorbed into this black hole of affectation’. Benjamin H. Bratton succinctly addresses the things that bug me about TED inc in We Need to Talk About TED.
226: ‘The Topography of Tears‘ by Rose-Lynn Fisher. Microscopic images of tears all form different patterns, depending on the cause of crying. ‘Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness’.
225: ‘Sign Here If You Exist‘ by Jill Sisson Quinn. I asked my mother this question once, when I was seven or eight. We were in the car, on the way home from my organ lesson. “What was there before God?” I asked. “Who created him?” “There was nothing,” my mother said, and her hands left the steering wheel for a moment. Her fingers spread, like the fingers of an illusionist, as if she were scattering something, everything in the known world, I guess. These religious discussions of ours were delicate and infrequent, almost, like discussions of sex in our family, too intimate to occur between parent and child. When we did have them, it felt as if we were too close to uncovering something—for her, something too hallowed to be near; for me, something possibly too tragic. “I know,” she conceded, “it’s hard to imagine.”
224: Sacred Economics.
222: Grayson Perry presents the 2013 BBC Reith Lectures. He talks about art and culture and his career as an artist: ‘I have a list of banned words: passionate, spiritual, profound. I mean these are all words I could describe – this tender part of me, the tender part that many artists have, you know what keeps them going – but I have an acute allergy to clichés. In fact my mother ran off with the milkman. This is why I have such an intense allergy to cliché.‘ Download the four podcasts here.
221: Sir Ken Robinson on passion. Brilliant, funny, smart.
220: Caitlin Moran’s posthumous letter to her daughter.
219: Top of The Lake. Written and directed by kiwis Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, this is the best television I have seen in years. Holly Hunter is riveting ‘All you hear are your own crazy thoughts – like a river of shit on and on. See your thoughts for what they are! Give up. There is no way out. Not for others. Not for you. Here we are living at the end of the road, at the end of the world, in a place called Paradise. How’s it going – perfect? NO. Your are madder than ever.’
217: We spent an afternoon at the Royal Academy of Art to see Grayson Perry’s tapestries ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’. Inspired by Hogarth’s Rakes Progress, the six tapestries explore the idea of taste and class in modern Britain. I loved the rich vibrancy, the humour literally woven into the works – he is just brilliant! Suzanne Moore’s review is worth a read.
216: One Million Lovely Letters a fabulous project from Jodi, who is ace: ‘I think everyone deserves to know that they are thought of and they are loved. Even if it is by a complete stranger. In the UK alone there are 62,641,000 people, in the whole wide world there are 7,038,044,500. The average person has 3 close friends and 19 “mates” so take that off and you are still left with seven billion thirty-eight million forty-four thousand four hundred and seventy eight strangers. And all of those strangers have at least one day where they could use a little lift’.
215: A poem about The Sun (the newspaper, not the star).
214: Sugru. ‘The word ‘sugru’ is the Irish word for ‘play’ and that’s what it’s all about — getting people to have a playful attitude toward life and to know that they can do something about their problems without having to wait around on others’ ~ Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh
213: The Dreadnout Hoax: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Club dress as Abyssinian Princes, mock imperialism and fool the British Navy. Brilliant.
212: Darrell Dawsey’s article on the history of Detroit left me feeling hopeful and inspired: ‘Crime, unemployment, illiteracy – all are at near third world proportions. Detroit is an American tragedy. But Detroit is still rich. We still have a strong legacy, still have a passionate populace, still have the potential to become the Renaissance City we tried and failed to bill ourselves as in the 1980s’.
211: Life is brief and tender. What do you want to do before you die?
210: What being a grown-up is really about:
209: ‘And that’s the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn’t always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn’t even something — it’s nothing. And you can’t combat nothing. You can’t fill it up. You can’t cover it. It’s just there, pulling the meaning out of everything. That being the case, all the hopeful, proactive solutions start to sound completely insane in contrast to the scope of the problem. It would be like having a bunch of dead fish, but no one around you will acknowledge that the fish are dead. Instead, they offer to help you look for the fish or try to help you figure out why they disappeared‘ ~ Allie Bosh of Hyperbole and a Half, waxing brilliantly on Depression.
207: The Patriarchy.
206: Always wear your invisible crown. Always.
205: So proud of New Zealand! Parliament passed a bill allowing legal same-sex marriage, prompting spontaneous singing of ‘Pokarekare Ana‘ from the gallery. This law allows same-sex couples to enjoy all the same rights as any married couples, including adoption.
204: David Sedaris on Love & Taxidermy ‘To have your chopped-off head preserved and then wind up in a Tesco bag some 6,000 miles away – that was the indignity. Tesco! At least the arm was in a Waitrose bag’.
203: This is the best Obituary I have ever read: Peter Scott, cat burglar: ‘I gave all my money to head waiters and tarts’.
202: A super happy duckling cuddles a very skeptical owl, and other awesome examples of animal based cuddles.
200. The Bear ‘named for his resemblance to a teddy bear, but, the more you get to know him, what he becomes most reminiscent of is a sad owl. Looking into those his eyes, I feel I can see all the world’s pain…’
199: Justine Musk’s 18 principles for highly creative living make me want to shout out my secret fears.
198: ‘It is illegal to handle salmon under suspicious circumstances‘ and other weird laws Londoners are subject to.
197. Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70’s, living in and performing legendary performance art projects out of a van. After 13 years together they felt the relationship was ending, and rather than unceremoniously break up, they went to opposite ends of the Great Wall of China, walking it alone towards each other, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again. At her 2010 MOMA retrospective ‘The Artist is Present’ Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.
196: The Art of Asking: ‘the perfect tools aren’t going to help us if we can’t face each other and give and receive fearlessly, but more importantly to ask without shame’. Amanda Palmer’s TED talk.
195: A gluten-free love story.
194: Kate McGwire is a London-based artist who sculpts with feathers. Stunning.
Evacuate, 2010 Photo: Jonty Wilde
193: ‘Glance sideways, into the wings, and you see the tacky preparations for the triumphant public event. You see your beautiful suit deconstructed, the tailor’s chalk lines, the unsecured seams. You see that your life is a charade, that the scenery is cardboard, that the paint is peeling, the red carpet fraying, and if you linger you will notice the oily devotion fade from the faces of your subjects, and you will see their retreating backs as they turn up their collars and button their coats and walk away into real life.’ ~ Hilary Mantel writes beautifully about the monarchy, and its place in our history.
192: ‘Across America, independent coffee bars have developed private vocabularies to describe the intricate beverages they brew and the idiosyncrasies of those who order them‘. Brilliance, from Ben Schott.
191: ‘The church does not own the institution of marriage. It is a civil right’. Alice Arnold writes beautifully about why the Marriage Equality Act is so important.
190: Greys Anatomy is the longest relationship of my adult life. To get a little taste of the awesome that is Grey’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, watch her acceptance speech at the GLAADS.
189: Squam. Beware: you might go for the painting, or the storytelling or even the knitting. But be prepared for life changing stuff to happen: this experience, who you meet, what you notice yourself creating – this is artful revolution in practise.
188: nef (new economics foundation). This UK-based independent think-and-do tank aims to create more understanding and strategies for change for people and the planet. All publications are under creative commons licence.
185: Jenny & Shirley:
183: That neuroplasticity explains how neurons can form new pathways in our brains, if we want to change our beliefs behaviours and ways of being in the world, through the power of thought (love it when science meets soul-work).
182: The marketing of ‘spiritual hobknobbery’ by the inimitable Ms Pilloud.
181: Haiku. Its a 700 year old, Japanese poetic form. I love the brain-discipline required to be pithy in 17 syllabi. In an attempt to embrace the morning commute (which was starting to gnaw at my soul) I have invented #tubeku: each morning I choose a fellow tube passenger and give myself 45 minutes to write a haiku about them.
180: Flavorwire. Especially this life-affirming stuff: 20 authors on death and mortality: ‘We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on by body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography – to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience’ ~ Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
179: How do we decide to become a parent? Beautiful advice from Sugar.
178: ‘Sunshine‘ by Jem Yoshioka. A beautiful tale for anyone who has lived through a Wellington winter.
177: Amazing zoomable views of London from the top of the tallest building.
176: Buckminster Fuller: ‘We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living…’
175: ‘More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter’ from ‘The Busy Trap’ by Tim Kreider.
174: Bad Indians. A poem by Rob Red Corn.
173: Lovely things that CCTV cameras see.
172: ‘Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.‘ ~ C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
171: All 786 known planets to scale ‘This is an exciting time’ ~ xkcd
170: The Hunderwasser Loo, Kawakawa, New Zealand.
169: Vagenda Magazine. Putting the ‘fuck yeah’ into feminism. You’ve subscribed right?
168: The Maestro: ‘He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink…‘ ~ Virginia Woolf
167: The glorious Paris Review has opened up the interview archive containing a half-century worth of fascinating interviews with some of the greatest literary figures in modern history.
166: Sign Search: a video demo of every word in sign language.
165: Mr P believes the search for extra terrestrial life should begin at home. Exhibit A:
164: Stuff White People Like. Horrifyingly accurate.
163: England’s Fourth Estate, where ones choice in daily reads becomes a marker of ones values; political and cultural. As explained by the rather spectacular Bernard of Yes Minister: ‘The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country, the Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country, the Times is read by people who actually do run the country, the Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country, the Financial Times is read by people who own the country, the Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country, and the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.’ Sir Humphrey: ‘…what about the people who read the Sun?’. Bernard: ‘Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.’
161: The Daytime-Nighttime Bird:
159: The Fluffington Post. Real fluff. All the time.
158: Coldplay’s beautiful tribute to mark the untimely passing of Adam Yauch:
157: Bertrand Russell wrote a 1951 piece for New York Times Magazine called ‘The Best Answer to Fanaticism: Liberalism‘. The original article is subject to the NYT paywall, but is totes worth the read. The article includes what could be termed a secular 10 commandments (reprinted here) which is, like most of Mr Russell‘s writing, brilliance. ‘When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory’.
156: ‘All time-saving devices, amongst which we must count easier means of communication and other conveniences, do not paradoxically enough, save us time but merely cram our time so full that we have no time for anything. Hence the breathless haste, superficiality, and nervous exhaustion with all the concomitant symptoms – craving for stimulation, impatience, irritability, vacillation, etc. Such a state may lead to all sorts of other things, but never to any increased culture of the mind and heart‘ ~ Jung, on Nature, Technology & Modern Life. More pearls here.
155: The Secret Pet Society ~ the surreal imaginings of Travis Louie who paints in the style of vintage photography. And there is a story behind each creature and their person.
154: ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past’. The best last line of any novel, ever. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
153: Zen Threads: beautiful eco-friendly tees custom screen printed to order by hand.
151: Archbishop Rowan Williams and Professor Richard Dawkins have a chat.
150: During his 2010 TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson quoted Abraham Lincoln thus: ‘The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise – with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country’.
149: Jack Kerouac’s letter to his first wife, Edie, 1957: ‘It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing.’
148: Kristine Noelle’s lovely Letter from the Universe.
146: Beekeepers. Mr P is currently embarking on his lifelong dream via an urban beekeeping course at Regents Park. This little movie (via Made by Hand) shows Megan Paska extracting honey from her rooftop hives in Brooklyn at sunset. Stunning.
145: Huit Denium David & Clare Hieatt, who founded Howies, are back making beautiful denim, beautifully: ‘I think the important thing is to be yourself. That way you don’t have to act, you never get found out, and you don’t have to lie to yourself or anyone else. It is much easier this way. I want to create one of the most creative denim companies there has ever been. I want to change how business models work not just which brand of jeans you buy. I want to put our energy into that and not trying to get people to believe we are cool, or the next fad. We will be judged by how great our ideas are. I want to be transparent about our dreams’.
144: Gabourey Sidibe: ‘People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl….It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.’
142: The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, Nailsworth. The loveliest bookstore in the universe.
140: Banksy on advertising:
139: ‘x=y’ / ‘it is what it is’ : mathematical translations of popular refrains. Genius.
138: The serious drawings of Marc Johns:
137: Theoretical physics as interpreted by Lawrence Krauss ~ ‘Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.’
136: Coffee people:
135: The Universe: photographed. A 360-panoramic view of the sky taken by Nick Risinger who trekked 60,000 miles across the western United States and South Africa. The final image is composed of 37,000 separate photographs, has a zoomable view and info about constellations. And here is the scale of every known thing in the universe. Just awesome.
134: Infographics. Making stats fun and accessible for those of us without a maths degree.
133: Mrs Cameron’s Diary.
132: The Pale Blue Dot: this photograph of planet Earth was taken in 1990 by Voyager 1 when they were about 6 billion kilometers from Earth. Carl Sagan provides poetic perspective: ‘That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam’.
131: Lucian Freud and the way he painted people: ‘his subjects could scarcely be more palpable, more awkwardly or inelegantly there’.
129: Quantum theory. Using proper science to prove what the mystics have claimed for centuries: we are all connected to each other and everything else in the universe, because we are all made of what Sagan called ‘star stuff’. Prof. Brian Cox explains why everything is connected to everything else in 100 seconds.
128: ‘Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart’ ~ Mr Jobs
126: The Do Lectures. Specifically this one.
124: Muriel Rukeyser ~ ‘The universe is made of stories, not atoms.’
123: Ms Jeanette Winterson ~ ‘Love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no. It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid’ (from Written on the Body).
122: Crop circles. The ‘Mowing Devil’ was first documented in the 1600’s in England and we still don’t really know what creates these beautiful patterns. I especially love the Wilton Windmill circle, based on Euler’s Identity where the pattern of partly concentric rings is partially incorrect and one part of the formula translates as ‘hi’ rather than ‘i’. Its no doubt they are created by intelligent beings: human or otherwise.
121: Will Self’s cheeserimage: ‘Someone had told me that the slang name for cabrales in Asturias was ‘the Devil’s shit’. It fitted: there was something dangerously sinful about a forkful of this excrementally elemental stuff. This wasn’t posturing gastronomy – but a Faustian pact with shit-eating Beelzebub.’ Cheese lovers will understand.
120: Sherlock. The smart bouncy script, sumptuous cinematography, Cumberbatch & Freeman, London streets: *happy lady sigh*. Brilliant tele.
119: Responses to the annual question at The Edge. ‘To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.’
118: Are you a feminist? Sarah Bunting’s brilliant, all-encompassing definition.
116: Audre Lorde ~ ‘Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare’.
115: The photography of Marianna Rothen.
114: Christopher Hitchens: 1949-2011. ‘The four most overrated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics.’
113: Agnostic vs. Atheist
112: Perry and Lidia dancing in Grand Central Station, from The Fisher King.
111: Got ginge in your minge? Watch Tim Minchin’s ‘Prejudice’.
109: Henry Rollins: angry, wise, hot.
108: Facebook. And ex-lovers. Are you fucking kidding me?
107. ‘Howl’ by Alan Ginsberg. In an epic hipster lament; Ginsberg tells the tale of the outcasts: poets, artists, political radicals, jazz musicians and psychiatric patients, he encountered in the 1940s and 1950s. Also a twitter feed.
106: ‘Self-respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth’ ~ The Uncommonly Brilliant Joan Didion.
104. Moroccanoil. I use a glob of the light oil on freshly washed damp hair, blow-dry and straighten. And then pet my lovely shiny hair all day long.
102. Public Radio. There is nothing like tuning in to find part four of the History of the Significance of the Duffle-coat to know you are back in Blighty. My constant companion is Radio 4 (with supporting acts of Radio 3 and 6 Music). In NZ its National Radio.
101. ‘Where do you find the time?’ by Jessica Kane: ‘Don’t be afraid to be late. Read poetry. Poetry gives time back, but most people don’t know it. Never watch television. Movies are fine. Documentaries are better’.
100. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman: ‘In this part of the afterlife, you imagine something analogous to your Earthly life, and the thought is blissful: a life where episodes are split into tiny swallowable pieces, where moments do not endure, where one experiences the joy of jumping from one event to the next like a child hopping from spot to spot on the burning sand’.
98. Tom Waits on his wife Kathleen Brennan: ‘A remarkable collaborator, and she’s a shiksa goddess and a trapeze artists, all of that. She can fix the truck. Expert on the African violet and all that. She’s outta this world. I don’t know what to say. I’m a lucky man. She has a remarkable imagination. And that’s the nation where I live. She’s bold, inventive and fearless. That’s who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you’. And then he wrote the insanely tender Johnsburg, Illinois for her. Which in turn fostered this. Which made my face leak.
97. ‘It’s a design thing. The cat is lost in the negative space’ the tale of Missy the missing cat.
96. AL Kennedy’s contributions to the Guardian: ‘I started to write before I knew what I was writing about and then fell into a pit of aimless and bewildered prose – or I scared myself silly because it seemed entirely unavoidable that my protagonist would be a man, or an older woman, or a child, or just someone other than me when I didn’t feel up to creating someone other than me that morning – or else I’d need to write in the first person, or cope with a major timescale, or lollop off into an experiment in magic realism. Christ, it was appalling.’
95. Paxman vs. Hitchens: ‘there are people who say that this [esophagus cancer] is God’s curse on me – that I should have it near my throat – because that was the organ of blasphemy which I used. Well I have used many other organs to blaspheme as well’. An insight into my Dream Dinner Party.
94. Why I Will Never Be An Adult by Hyperbole and a Half.
93. A Dance to The Music of Time is a life-changing stack of novels by Anthony Powell. Take a year and read the 12 books in sequence, the first is available as a free e-book from University of Chicago Press. Pamela Flitton and Kenneth Widmerpool (played by Simon Russell Beale below) will stay with you forever:
92. Tennessee Williams: ‘I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don’t tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth.’ ~ Blanche DuBois, A Streetcar Named Desire.
91. E.B. White’s ‘The Death of a Pig’ on grief over losing livestock, written before Charlotte’s Web.
90. Twin Peaks. Fabulously surreal television magnificence from David Lynch. I heart the Log Lady. And Agent Cooper: ‘Harry, I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.’
89. Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow discussing the state of American politics just after the mid-terms of 2010. The debate is decidedly thoughtful, ungimmicky and relentlessly courteous. And it puts the tea-party to shame.
88. This must be played at my funeral. Loud. I mean it.
87. The LIFE photo archive, hosted by Google. Including this image of Vladimir and Vera Nabokov chasing butterflies:
85. London Review of Books, especially the classifieds.
84. 2007 Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir. The Autumnal quaffing wine of champions.
83. A crisp, juicy New Zealand braeburn apple.
82. Good fucking design advice.
79. Milton Glaser ‘Ten Things I have Learned: ‘the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on… the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have’.
78. ‘Most important things happen at a table. Food, friends, discussion, ideas, work, peace talks, and war plans. It is okay to romanticize things a little bit every now and then: it gives you hope’. Frank Chimero’s advice to a Design Student.
76. The 57 words from Behan that sum up everything: ‘I respect kindness in human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don’t respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.’
75. Robert Ebert’s essay on death ‘Go gentle into that good night‘. Breathtaking.
73. Say Anything. I bloody love Lloyd Dobler. I love complex, depressive, kick-boxing, Peter Gabriel fans, who write love notes. ‘Maybe I didn’t really know you. Maybe you were just a mirage. Maybe the world is full of food and sex and spectacle and we’re all just hurling towards an apocalypse, in which case it’s not your fault. I’m been thinking about all these things and… you’re probably standing there monitoring. And one more thing – about the letter. Nuke it. Flame it. Destroy it. It hurts me to know it’s out there. Later.’ ~ Lloyd Dobler’s last message on Diane’s answering machine.
71. ‘You think I’m pedestrian and tacky? Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don’t all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros’. The very brilliant Revenge of Comic Sans.
70. Bea Tomes is the little sister I never had. She recently spoke at TEDxSydney and awesomeness was launched on the world. Her existence gives me hope:
69. The seventy six seconds that justify the existence of Kevin Costner.
68. The one hundred and four seconds that justify the existence of Tom Cruise.
67. Mr and Mrs Smith. The best source of boutique hotels on the interwebs.
66. Getting some ice creams. Doing some bombs:
65. Janet Frame: ‘I don’t wish to inhabit the world under false pretences. I’m relieved to have discovered my identity after being so confused about it for so many years. Why should people be afraid if I confide in them? Yet people will always be afraid and jealous of those who finally establish their identity; it leads them to consider their own, to seclude it, cosset it, for fear it may be borrowed or interfered with, and when they are in the act of protecting it they suffer the shock of realising that their identity is nothing, it is something they dreamed and never knew; and then begins the painstaking search – what shall they choose – beast? another human being? insect? bird?’ ~ Towards Another Summer.
63. OPI Avoplex nail and cuticle replenishing oil. Banishes wrinkly crone hands like magic.
62. WordPress. Code IS poetry.
61. Pret a Manger New Yorker. Best sandwich in the universe. Fact. Salt beef, gherkins, mustard mayo and spinach: come to mama.
60. Kerastase. They made a miracle occur and I now love my hair curly or straight.
59. ‘Wandering’ by Herman Hesse:
58. Barbara Pym: Philip Larkin described her as ‘the most underrated novelist of the century’. Luckily, all of her novels are back in print: ‘Perhaps there can be too much making of cups of tea, I thought, as I watched Miss Statham filling the heavy teapot. Did we really need a cup of tea? I even said as much to Miss Statham and she looked at me with a hurt, almost angry look, ‘Do we need tea? she echoed. ‘But Miss Lathbury…’ She sounded puzzled and distressed and I began to realise that my question had struck at something deep and fundamental. It was the kind of question that starts a landslide in the mind. I mumbled something about making a joke and that of course one needed tea always, at every hour of the day or night’ ~ Excellent Women
56. A Love Song for Bobby Long. Quite possibly John Travolta’s finest performance (which, let’s face it, is not difficult).
55. True Blood. Vampires have been sexy as all hell ever since the Lost Boys and ‘Salems Lot (except for the children on Twilight. Obviously.)
54. Smoked Scottish Salmon and cream cheese on a fresh poppy seed bagel.
53. The Thick of It. This is not a biting satire about the inner workings of the British Government. It is a hard hitting documentary.
52. Falling asleep under a tree in one of the Royal Parks on a sunny day.
50. The poem inscribed in English and Turkish on the walls of the ANZAC museum, Gallipoli: ‘Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives; you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us, where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well’ ~ Attaturk
49. BBC iPlayer. Ad-free content, anytime.
48. The Muppets.
47. Moleskin notebooks. My favourite is the A5 Red Ruled Hardback.
46. The Big Picture.
45. Annie Hall. Every time I see it I want to move to New York and meet a neurotic Jewish man with an inferiority complex. Pre-paedo Woody at his abolute best.
44. Architecture by Antonio Gaudi. La Sagrada Família, Park Güell and La Pedrera.
42. Vladimir Nabokov. Gods.
41. The poetry of Pablo Neruda. ‘And you arrive and you are lightning, glancing off the peach trees’.
40. Muriels Wedding. ‘The truth? I tell the truth too. Nicole’s having an affair with Chook. Muriel saw them fucking in the laundry on your wedding day. Stick your drink up your ass, Tania. I’d rather swallow razor blades than drink with you. Oh, by the way, I’m not alone. I’m with Muriel’.
39. Communal living.
38. The Lost Highway. Make sure you stop for a pint (and get your passport stamped) at the Whangamomona pub.
37. Banksy. Renegade guerilla street artist.
36. Anna Moller Photography. Images that give me goosebumps:
35. Rainer Maria Rilke.‘Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colours, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.’ Fuck yeah.
34. The Large Hadron Collider. They are looking for the God particle. Using science. It will not create a black hole and destroy the earth. Not even a little bit.
32. Charles Bukowski, How To Be A Great Writer.
30. Hallelujah. Jeff Buckley.
29. Jamie’s in Bath. Totally pukka nosh.
28. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Cassandra Mortmain is the teenager I always wished to be but never was. ‘And I regret to say that there were moments when my deep and loving pity for her merged into a desire to kick her fairly hard.’
27. Whale Bay, Northland:
26. The G107 Gel Rollerball, 0.7mm tip. Black. The 99p pen that shits all over Mont Blanc.
25. Penhaligons Edwardian Rose. What I smell of.
24. Battersea Power Station. In the half light of dusk.
23. Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime. ‘Shirley, your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle, Shirley, we’re joined in the ideological cuddle. I’m celebrating my love to you, With a pint of beer and a new tattoo. And if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m more impressionable when my cement is wet’. It’s poetry.
22. My Macbook. The perfect nexus of form and function. 13″ has never been so much fun.
20. Che Guevara. Doctor, poet, Marxist revolutionary.
19. Babington House. Perfect for an indulgent weekend.
17. TED: riveting talks by remarkable people.
16. Yogi ginger tea.
14. A Jimmy’s Pie with Watties Tomato Sauce. Sunday breakfast of champions.
12. REM at Hyde Park, Saturday 16 July, 2005. Perfect summer evening, two weeks after the London bombings. Heathrow bound jumbo jets criss crossed the perfect blue summer sky above. As the sun set they played ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it’.
11. The Observer. Best newspaper in the world. Fact.
10. Lost. Particularly any scene with Josh Holloway. See exhibit A:
9. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. ‘Was she someone?” enquires the nurse. Her shoes squeak on the shiny floor; the doctor’s shoes crunch. “I mean, the things she comes out with…” And the doctor glances at his notes and says that yes. She does seem to have been someone, evidently she’s written books and newspaper articles and… um… been in the Middle East at one time… typhoid, malaria… unmarried (one miscarriage, one child he sees but does not say)… “yes, the records do suggest she was someone, probably”.
8. Rococo Cinnamon Organic Milk Chocolate Artisan Bar. Chocolate porn. Cadburys: you are dead to me.
7. The last six minutes of Six Feet Under:
6. Monmouth Coffee from Borough Market.
5. Gregory Crewdson exhibition: Beneath the Roses, White Cube Gallery, Hoxton Square, May 2005. Every image was like a surreal one frame movie. Completely changed the way I felt about photography.
4. Twitter. ‘Oh, hush you naysayers, Twitter is fabulous. James Joyce would get Twitter. It’s a many-headed stream of consciousness. Folk collectively weaving a story of sorts. And by the way, it’s not compulsory to join.’ My comment in defence of Twitter, that was published in the Guardian.
3. Eddie Vedder and Mark Seymour, Throw Your Arms Around Me, live, probably in Australia:
2. Air New Zealand Business Class, Heathrow to Auckland. Best flight on the best airline.