There are books and there are books.
There are books that you love; books that you read over and over again; books that mean things to you. And then there are the books that change how you see the world forever. For me, Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World is one, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to Galaxy is another, but Illuminatus! is very definitely in that very special little group of books that has affected me in a profound way(1).
You are not a label,
Or an avatar.
You are unique.
You are not a stereotype,
A case study.
Or a trope.
You are not a thing.
Labels are for others,
Who don’t much care to think.
A box to put a person in.
A convenience, a link.
You are not a template,
In someone else’s head.
You are you.
You are here.
And that is all that counts.
I’m not quite sure where I saw the videos of Love Hina first, probably in an idle few moments browsing youtube after work before nipping out for the bus. But very soon I’d watched the whole of the anime series, and gone browsing round to find out more. The first thing I found out was that though people liked the series, the English dubs of Love Hina sucked, according to most. This didn’t bother me, because I tend to like original language voice actors, plus subtitles. Fansubbed videos made life a bit more interesting because of the variable quality. But…
Each year, around about this time, I write a little article (like for 2019, 2018, and 2017) that points out the little disconnects in the generations between those of us working in HE, either in teaching and professional services, and the students who wander blinking into life as an undergraduate, as we did all those years ago. Except this time, it’s not quite like that. This year’s freshers will start their University career in a way that none of us in living memory has had to experience. …
I’ve been watching sitcoms. Again.
Every morning, around nine o’clock, ITV3 reruns old sitcom episodes. So, over the spring and summer weeks there has been an assortment of 70s comedy to enjoy, including Man About The House, George and Mildred, the more dubious pleasures of Mollie Sugden in That’s My Boy. and Bless This House. Quite apart from the fact that there were still some laughs to be had (it’s Sid, for God’s sake, so of course there are), it’s interesting to look at them another way: as little capsules of social history, on screen. …
Over the last couple of days, there has been a steady stream of stuff on Twitter about food poverty, including this little gem from an unfortunately all too familiar source of risible bullshit.
Just for starters, lets break this down. The cost of those potatoes doesn’t include:
The Great Day has arrived. The day when the pubs can throw open their doors and welcome in all those thirsty drinkers who’ve been deprived of a brew all these long, dry lonely weeks. Unless of course they bought any from a supermarket (which most have). Or brewed their own (which some did). In fact, in the first month of lockdown, most of the reasonable estimates were that alcohol sales had gone up by around 30%, so it’s not like people were quaking under the oppressive yoke of enforced temperance.
All those people who said they were dying for a…
The University year is coming to an end, with the exams finishing and a strange, surreal experience in store for those who would have been expecting to spend the final few weeks of term just kicking back and waiting for results in normal times. But these are not normal times, and there’ll be none of the usual partying, or release, after all the hard work of the previous few months. Usually, at this time of year, Durham is buzzing, with all manner of things going on all over the University and city; not this year. There will be uncertainty for…
The TV serialisation of Sally Rooney’s novel arrives.
I read the source novel last year, and was utterly blown away by it.
The TV adaptation has to do things slightly differently. The novel deals with things in a series of recent flashbacks, usually commenting on and picking apart the last encounters of the protagonists, generally feeling like internal monologues, even if the writing is not strictly done in the first person. Here of course, in such a directly visual medium, that’s not possible without introducing voice overs and adding complication, so what we get is mostly just the events, and…
It feels almost comically apposite that Stuart Maconie’s panegyric to the Welfare State, How The Nanny State Made Me should turn up right now, in a moment where the absolute clarity of the need for intervention in events at a nationally (and internationally) co-ordinated level is the most obvious. It’s not as if the supposedly efficient free-market has managed to provide any kind of preparation, after all. I say “almost”, because as current events unfold it’s really not funny at all. Thousands of people are going to die needlessly as a result of them. …