Misc.

Every step you take…Part 2 – Surveillance Capitalism

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“Maybe you don’t want to ask a question. Maybe you just want to have it answered for you before you ask it. That would be better.” Larry Page, 2014 “We expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers…we believe the issue of advertising causes enough mixed incentives that it is […]

Misc.

Picasso and Tolkien and obsession

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Tolkien painting of Bilbo

“Everything we love is about to die, and that is why everything we love must be summed up, with all the high emotion of farewell, in something so beautiful we shall never forget it.”

Misc.

Newsletter #4 – Scythians, Gods and Rogues

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This is a big chunk of my latest newsletter. I’ll drop them in here from time to time so you can see the kind of things that my subscribers have agreed to be sent to their inbox, those lucky/weird people (delete as appropriate)…

Misc.

Newsletter #1

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Here’s the contents of the first newsletter I sent out to my first couple of subscribers :) If you’d like some of this in your inbox occasionally, you can sign up via the link above! The future is quieter.

Misc.

Last week: Art, devils, witches and death

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They’ve always seemed easy to parody, the Abstract Expressionists. ‘They just flicked paint about’, ‘can’t they draw?’ etc. So I was as surprised as anyone to fall in love at the RA exhibition last weekend.

Misc.

Billie and Amy

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Amy Winehouse had voice to burn, a sound burnished by a drunk god showing off, like He took a bet to make another Billie Holiday and won the bet with a sad contempt.

Misc.

Frank Sobotka

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David Simon’s The Wire is high on all lists of unmissable television.  I’ve heard many people describe season 2 as the weakest season. I completed it over the weekend and hope this is true, if only because it was riveting.

Misc.

Stannis Baratheon is not the Mayor of Casterbridge

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Stannis Baratheon

This post contains Game of Thrones spoilers, for, well, almost all of it, along with the movie adaptation of The Mist and the opening of the Mayor of Casterbridge, oh and possibly King Lear.  Yep, I think that’s it.

Misc.

Burning a million pounds

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The KLF

It had been a long time since I listened to The KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ album.  I was trying to drown out one of the many satirical teenage comedies on Nick Jr. my daughter loves in order to get a redraft of my novel finished. It’s a beautiful album, but hearing it after so many years made […]

Misc.

Peter Jackson’s ‘Ring Cycle’ – a love letter

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Hobbit Jackson

I’ve read a lot of complaints over Peter Jackson taking a short book and making a trilogy out of it merely to screw us all for extra cash. Bullshit.  Well, mostly. I don’t doubt it makes Time Warner a heap more money and I don’t doubt that to get all the big stars on board […]

Misc.

Proximity and the manipulation of moral feeling

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Ethics Gaza Sudan

News coverage of Isis and Gaza recently has reminded me of Henry Fonda.  Specifically, the Henry Fonda thought experiment in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s landmark (and quite brilliant) paper ‘A Defense of Abortion’.1 For Thomson it’s a quite ghastly aside, the rejection of which (proximity to a moral issue has a bearing on one’s moral feeling) […]

Misc.

Knowledge – a few helpful questions for the internet age

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Housing Philosophy World Trade Center

How do you know what to believe? The internet has fragmented the ancient institutions that have shaped and disseminated knowledge and it has democratized facts in a way never before seen in human history. When deciding what to believe, and by corollary what moral and practical courses of action derive from those beliefs, anyone with […]

Misc.

Sentimentality

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Derek Gervais

Ricky Gervais’s new series of Derek has once again divided viewers and critics.  The show is a sentimental ‘mockumentary’ following, principally, four characters in a nursing home for the elderly.  I loved the first series, the final episode being as moving as the christmas special of The Office.  Many of the criticisms stem from a […]

Misc.

Good coffee is easy

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good coffee

In the UK in the last ten to fifteen years, there has been an explosion in the amount of us buying coffee while we’re out and about. With this boom, its headline acts being the big chains like Starbucks, Costas, Nero etc. the word ‘barista’ has reached the common lexicon, rarely confused now with the legal […]

Misc.

Shouldn’t things be better?

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poverty inequality

“How is it that we have created so much mental and emotional suffering despite levels of wealth unprecedented in human history?” (The Spirit Level) It’s not the sort of thing you can sort out in a blog entry, but there’s any number of things that don’t seem to add up when I think about British […]

Misc.

Ten of my favourite movie moments

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star wars alien amadeus

Well, it’s my blog, I can do a ‘my favourite things’ if I want to.  What prompted it was this year’s christmas Radio Times.  For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed sitting down with it and reading through, picking out all the old films I’d like to watch, you know, ‘Meet Me in […]

Misc.

Hard Copy

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Physical digital media kindle iphone

If our homes express who we are, what of the home where all of your literature and music is invisible to the casual eye; no trace of the stories and music that move you and define you represented alongside whatever art or furniture or decor you’ve put together to create a place that is special […]

Misc.

Why I love running

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Running lido Saltdean

There’s an iron nail in my left knee the first half mile away from my front door, down the slope past the school, dozing in the silence of its lie-in on a bright Saturday morning. The nail, where my iliotibial band sticks itself to my knee, warms and melts away as I turn onto the […]

Misc.

End Day

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“Sit down son.” Jerry’s mum and dad were on the sofa opposite him.  This was his End Day, his sixteenth birthday, and so the day he would be told how long he had to live, the day the law said he had a right to know. His mum was biting her lip, her knuckles were white […]

Misc.

Love and brains and language games

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philosophy systems

I’m going philosophical in this post, so those of a disposition sensitive to pointless armchair theorising look away now. I’ve long been interested in Philosophy, but particularly interested in the brain, the most complex thing in the known universe, as far as I’m aware. In this post I want to explain why I think the mind is […]