One of the coolest things about history, for me, is the way the shapes and patterns of the past emerge full-blown before you, if you know where to look. Take clothes. What people wore tells us an awful lot about the society of the time. Take stockings, which were the height of gentlemen’s attire right … More Henry VIII and his calf-muscle bulging contests
I read a while back that a proportion of the photos being taken these days don’t even get looked at afterwards. The advent of the cellphone camera hasn’t just killed the ‘pocket snappy’ camera, it’s thrown us into the age of disposable imagery where photographs are taken and then forgotten. It’s kind of ironic, as … More Why ‘free’ stuff destroys our sense of worth – a lesson from photography
One of the flaws of twentieth century thinking was that a lot of it was geared towards systematising the human universe around us. Everything had to be reduced to mechanisms, often simplistic, often single-cause. This was certainly true academically, particularly in the humanities which were styling themselves as ‘scientific’ on the basis of that systematisation. … More The flaws of twentieth century thinking
If you had a choice of super-powers, which one would you pick? Personally I’d go for Dr Manhattan’s, off Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore’s Watchmen. OK, it makes him look like a radioactive Smurf. But that super-power also makes him indestructible, immortal, and gives him total control over determinist (space-time) and quantum worlds, which means … More What’s your favourite super-power?
Every so often we’re told that a rogue star or planet known as Niblick or Niburu, or some similar gibberish, is about to cause the apocalypse. Earth’s going to be whacked in 1984, 1987, 1999, 2012, 2018, apparently, with all the effect of a nine-iron on a golf ball, and NASA are hiding the truth … More Earth’s comet apocalypse at the hands of Gliese 710
There was, I suppose, a universal sigh of relief when New Year 2017 ticked over and the world left the Year from Hell. We like our arbitrary calendar dates. Reality seldom conforms. After all, Lemmy Kilmister kicked off the big celebrity die-off that marked 2016 on Boxing Day 2015. A friend of mine suggested that … More Why 2016 was a historical trend year – not a one-shot disaster
Elvis popped in to visit the other day. I hadn’t seen him for a while, mainly because he spends most of his time on Mars disguised as a walrus, apparently to avoid having to pay his annual Elvis Impersonators Anonymous sub. He had a burger from the slider joint down the road and took a … More In which Elvis and I ruminate on the year from hell