My favourite cat was Merv. He got his name from the oversized moustache of milk when lapping from a bowl as a kitten, making him look like a famous cricketer. Merv was a rescue kitten. His mum was a stray who had a litter in a friends attic, who upon discovery removed all the kittens but two. The abandoned runts were adopted by myself and a colleague at work. Merv had a rough start to life.

The first time I picked him up he was so tiny that he cradled in the groove of my hand. His eyes were almost…

Symbols take a lifetime to earn their meanings

I’m guessing a million dollars but I have no real idea. I’ve never seen my mothers home so I can’t even imagine what kind of neighbourhood it might have been in. Someone spread a rumour that I was getting a grand piano in the inheritance, which sounds more like flipping the middle finger than trying to make good on a lifetime of failing your estranged son. The people who know the answers have little interest in telling me, and I have even less desire to ask them. Just the thought of contact with my family induces intense anxiety.

In due…

I haven’t posted on Medium for a while. I have been threading on twitter though and the recent drama caused by Luke Foley in NSW has got me triggered. Thread below.

Not the North Pole. That’s not really a thing.

Was asked today to write a few words about what Christmas means to me.

It’s a bizarre ritual from where I stand. I am always on the outside looking in at that time of year. If ever I am attending Christmas it is someone else’s Christmas, where I am a tag along like a scruffy tree ornament that should probably be replaced with something more festive. The last Christmas that I can call my own was around the age of 8 and featured an unwrapped clock radio beneath a bare tree. Never underestimate the value of low expectations.

Nothing underscores…

Trigger warning. This story may not be good reading if you’re struggling with your inner strength in life.

I understand why some people commit suicide. I don’t say that lightly.

We desperately want to believe that we live in a world where the power of human reasoning rises to the top. A world where karma delivers the final justice. A world where people who break the rules will be punished. We want to believe these are true, but in fact it’s all bullshit. We tell ourselves these things in order to justify going on.

Our putrid and broken political system…


Suits are a symptom of social dystopia. I’m not talking about how a perfectly good cafe can be rendered toxic when it becomes infested with ‘suits’ and there’s no longer any room for people who don’t want to chat about their share portfolio. I realised that after 18 years of working for myself that I no longer see my friends who wear suits, and what a treat that is.

When I did work full-time as an employee I didn’t fit well into suit culture. Suits don’t suit me. I’m not a 9–5 person anyway, so dressing like one seemed like…

Humans left the jungle thousands of years ago to build civilisations. At least most of us did.

In the news for all the wrong reasons

Don Blankenship contributed to the death of 29 coal miners in West Virginia. The depth of his sociopathic charisma is matched only by his money. The story of Don’s depravity is best covered here by Mother Jones. My interest is his words from decades before, where he invokes the law of the jungle in defense of capitalism.

It’s a common refrain from those at the top of the food chain. They justify exploitation by comparing the function of capitalism to the “kill…

I spend a lot of time talking to people about how to run a business. Mostly in the context of freelance work, or very small enterprise based on partnerships. Small is good in my world.

When I give advice about running a business we often focus on effective strategies and the range of skills needed to make it work. One essential ingredient had slipped through my reckoning, the simple idea of not letting people down.

This never seemed like a business essential to me, because I always regarded it as a life essential. I literally feel sick when I realise…

Cancer is what happens when cells in your body decide to go rogue and start consuming all the resources they can access. The human body relies on specialised cells to work together. When all cells inside our body perform their functions, within limits, the body is successful. When a few cells decide to ignore those limits, we call it cancer.

The same happens in a democracy. Or a society. Or an economy. When a few people decide that reasonable wealth is not enough, they start extracting more than their share. …

In the middle of Melbourne’s CBD there’s an office tower made of stone and steel that rises 150m above the ground. Somewhere near the roofline of that tower a pair of Peregrine Falcons have been returning every year to nest on a ledge and raise their chicks. When the birds were discovered a webcam was setup that broadcasts a live feed the of nest online, and is projected on screens in the lobby of the building. Nature is quite remarkable.

I sent a link to the webcam to a friend of mine named Petrus. He lives in Arctic Sweden, about…

Ewster At Large

Ewen Bell is an editorial photographer, publisher of Photography for Travellers, features writer on travel & technology and is addicted to caffeine & cats.

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