2007 “People talk so much shit about me at barber shops, they forget to get they hair cut,” raps Kanye West on “Everything I Am”. I can’t say I ever forgot to get my hair cut, even if you’d think so judging by the mop I was rocking in my teenage years. But I definitely... Continue Reading →
1968 My quest to discover a new album every (full) week of this year starts with Nancy & Lee. I've always liked Nancy Sinatra's voice but I was surprised how well Lee Hazelwood's complemented it. The two seem to have real chemistry despite the story that this album came about after Frank Sinatra asked Hazelwood... Continue Reading →
The logic of the real world doesn't apply [to video games] ... In Age of Empires, a strategy game I played endlessly when I was younger, you can set castles ablaze by shooting them with arrows. In The Elder Scrolls, you can cure diseases through prayer.
After watching Netflix's The Queen's Gambit, Sophie and I found that we had much to discuss - and disagree about. I suggested we put our contrasting views into writing and publish them side-by-side. What follows is the result. Enjoy, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below. Alone, but... Continue Reading →
Suddenly I was thinking about themes and symbols and social commentary, the kind of stuff academics and film critics get all horny about. I felt this was probably not the proper spirit in which to watch Family Guy but once you become used to analysing everything you can't really turn it off.
This episode explores, with startling pertinence, the consumerism that drives our cherished national holidays, the seductive power of populism and the dangers of seeking quick fixes to big problems
When I first started dish-washing at age 21 to fund my studies, I winced at the thought of coming into contact with all that half-chewed food, spilt mayonnaise and ashtray contents (it’s not just cigarette butts people put in there, let me tell you that). Then there were the obvious indignities of having a perpetually... Continue Reading →
I was flying home for Christmas. It was icy and windy in Leeds and the plane was getting thrown about so much that at one point we seemed to be approaching the runway side-on
Call me cynical, but I’m convinced that the people who work on trains and buses derive some sick pleasure from making people wait to board. I don’t know how many times I’ve stood on a platform with thirty other commuters, all of us glaring at a man in a reflective vest clutching a clipboard and... Continue Reading →
Did you know that on the autobahn, the German motorway, there’s technically no speed limit? There is an “advisory” speed limit of 130kph (around 80mph), but it seems that many people are happy to ignore it. Our car wobbles slightly as middle-aged men with Audis and a point to prove fizz past us. Makes me... Continue Reading →
I’m a terrible salesperson. The store manager would tell me that I gave up too easily, that every time the customer says no, that’s really just an invitation to keep asking, keep pushing. He told me to think of it like pulling a bird – his words, not mine. And here I thought ‘no’ meant no. Silly me.
J.K. Rowling moved to Porto, married a Portuguese man and gave birth to a baby girl. When she wasn't working her job as an English teacher, she liked to sit in the Majestic Café and write stories. After her marriage broke down, she packed up and returned to England with her child. Her stint in... Continue Reading →