The Watery Part of The World

In some delicious ramble he had found
A little place with boughs all woven round
And in the middle of all a cleaner pool
Than e’er reflected in its pleasant cool.

On Tuesday I had no ideas. On Wednesday I had to present my profound idealessness to a class full of students expecting me to have something more to say than ‘Um, idk… WATER!’

My friends, Artists and Other Creatives™ assured me that my ideas would emerge organically from practice. Film, they said, and so I did. Often, they said, and so I did. But the ideas didn’t come. Or at least, if they did, the profound wedge of self doubt that governs my life’s work quashed the satisfying buzz of an idea bubbling into consciousness. Continue reading

Monthly Reading: January, 2015

The same as Sunday Reading, but on the last Sunday of every month, instead of every week.

When Your Girlfriend wants Two Girlfriends

They are in a relationship with a woman who has a long-term partner, and open to seeing other people. ‘I think polyamory places quite a lot of emphasis on sex and (romantic) love, but for me non-monogamy is important as part of a wider practice of thinking critically about all relationships – both sexual and non-sexual.’

 On Effigies and Elegies

In its broadest definition, an “effigy” is a representation of a person, usually life-size, and almost always three-dimensional. More distantly, an effigy also describes funerary art that might adorn a tomb or coffin. But effigy also carries within it its negative connotation: a crudely made figure representing a hated person and made to be publicly destroyed (eg “George W. Bush was burned in effigy”).  In the twitter storm and media outrage machine that followed the discovery of the lynching images, it was this last meaning that framed, if not foreclosed, the conversation.

The brutal secrets behind ‘The Biggest Loser’

TW: Fat Shaming, ED

‘The whole f- -king show,” she says today, “is a fat-shaming disaster that I’m embarrassed to have participated in.” Continue reading

A New Year’s Letter of Complaint and Capitulation

seattle christmas

If I could write a letter to New Year’s Eve it would start:

Little Time

31/12/14

London

Dear NYE,

I’m not angry at you, I’m just disappointed…

Because New Year’s Eve really is the empty biscuit tin of the prescribed happiness bake-off that constitutes this ‘festivities’ period. Christmas celebrations are the macrocosm of successfully finding and untangling the fairy lights that are, once hung on the precarious and altogether threatening tree, invariably broken. And, if I wished to celebrate something completely arbitrary I’d rather celebrate a pile of skittles sorted into composite number groups than my own Birthday. But the one that really takes the biscuit of mandatory joy is New Year’s eve. Continue reading

Sunday Round-up 28/12/14

The Race-IQ ‘Blackout’ With that said, Andrew’s ahistorical approach to race and intelligence has always amazed. The contention, for instance, that “research is not about helping people; it’s about finding out stuff,” may well be true in some limited sense. But it’s never been true, in any sense, of race and intelligence.

The Bell Curve Through the Veil I remember when Andrew published The Bell Curve excerpt in The New Republic. I was an undergraduate at Howard University — same city, but a different world. All of the young intellectuals who’d gather under the flag-pole on the yard were hot and angry. But a professor on campus (and I wish I could remember who) handed out xeroxed copies of the excerpt and its responses and simply told us, “Arm yourselves.” Don’t get angry he told us. Get informed.

Some Final Thoughts If you’re going to charge forth with the freighted claim that black people are intellectual inferiors, you should not do so claiming a lack of “profound knowledge of the deep research.” Continue reading

Sunday Round-up 21/12/14

Why these Tweets are Called My Back

The number one priority of any movement dedicated to ending violence should be to bring marginalized grassroots women into all spaces, make them feel safe and prioritize their voices.

Feminist Hurt/Feminism Hurts

And: the histories that leave us fragile are often those that bring us to a feminist room. This is what I want to reflect on here. What are the implications for feminism that our points of entry are often sore points? How many of us became feminists because of experiences of violence? I cannot separate my feminist history from my experiences of violence. What a tangle. Messy.

A visit to the cereal café

Breakfast cereal is toasted, granulated defeat, sprinkled with sugar, riboflavin, and iron filings. It’s all already there for you, and you just pour milk on top. Breakfast cereal is enjoyed by children because children are too passive and stupid to make a real breakfast for themselves. Continue reading

Going off the Rails: Two Book Reviews

Part One of Two: Italian Ways, On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo and Stranger on a Train, Daydreaming and Smoking Around America.

cover_rail

My mind is a bad musician that cannot keep time. What next? It asks, what is there for you after this? who will you be, later? where will you move to next? I have what some people call ‘a curious mind’ and what people who know me call ‘incredibly annoying.’ Hand me a book and I will reel off four others that I need to truly burrow into the core. In class I struggle to harmonise my physical self and my mental self because it is hard to harmonise a formica tablet chair and the future. In fact, this blog is itself is a distraction from the important work of selfhood; this my biggest project from which I am perpetually procrastinating. I wasn’t always this way. This is the work depression did — this is what is leaves in its wake when it loosens the reigns a while — to save me from finding a mirror in the silence. Continue reading

Sunday Round-up 14/12/14

“Hunger, filth, fear and death”: remembering life before the NHS

Some historians have called the decade of my birth “the Roaring Twenties” but for most it was a long death rattle.

Dear White Protesters

Dear white protestors, this is NOT about you.

In and Out of Time in Iraq

On the evening of the summer solstice of 2013, I moored my sailboat in the Fox Islands Thoroughfare, one of the most beautiful places I know. I relaxed in the cockpit of the little sloop, drank a beer, and watched the full moon rise, pulling an unusual twelve-foot tide with it. It glowed pink and orange in the sunset. This was something I could trust. Nature might kill me, but it doesn’t lie to me. Continue reading

Sunday Round-up 07/12/14

Crazy in Love

You can be as unhappy as you like if you can still make rent. You can be convinced that every streetlight is an angel as long as you walk past them and to your own door. If you have a lot of money, you can go on being crazy without consequence for longer than if you have only a little.

After Shia LaBeouf’s art gallery trauma we should affirm that all rapes are ‘real’, and all are breaches of trust

rape is a moment-by-moment process of deliberately borderline coercion that those subjected to it struggle to comprehend is taking place, even until the very moment a direct act of sexual violation occurs.

Acting French

In my long voyage through this sea of language, that was my first sighting of land. I now knew how much I didn’t know. The feeling of discovery and understanding that came from this was incredible. It was the first moment when I thought I might survive the sea. Continue reading

On Being A Stranger

Having settled into The Toolshed in Paris, I started teaching and taking classes at the local Lycée. Every Friday I would take the thirty minute uphill ride on what quickly came to be known as the Death Bike: a heavy cream coloured Dutch bike inherited from a parent of my employer. “She used to ride it on the cobbles of Amsterdam” “She took it on holiday to Bruges” “It walked her down the aisle at her wedding” , etc. It was possessed of neither gears nor working brakes and its back wheel shook like a dog on bonfire night.

DEATH BIKE Continue reading