Thursday, December 31, 2020

The British Way of Life

...I swallow my dreams like my beer...

The British Way of Life - The Chords (1980)


Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Archaeology of Dealey Plaza (2)


Photograph by Michael Parks.

A bit of industrial stratigraphy. Some theories claim that the fatal shot fired at Kennedy came from the storm drain on Elm Street, at the foot of the grassy knoll, hence the potential importance of the differing street levels between 1963 and the present day in terms of determining whether or not such a shot would even have been possible. 

Given that the only exits from the drain are a manhole up to street level and pipes that are 12" and 15" in diameter, it is perhaps an unlikely location for someone who would be looking to get away quickly. 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Closing Speech

It's not that it's not difficult to escape death, gentlemen, but it's much harder to escape wickedness, since it runs faster than death. And now, because I am a slow old man, I am being overtaken by the slower of the two, and my accusers, because they are clever and keen, by the swifter, by evil. And I am going away now, having been condemned to death by you, while they have been condemned by the truth to depravity and injustice. And both I and they will keep to our punishment. Perhaps this is how it had to be, and I suppose it's appropriate.

Next, I want to foretell the future to you my condemners, since I am now at the moment when men especially prophesy, whenever they are about to die. I declare that retribution will come to you swiftly after my death, you men who have killed me, and more troublesome, by Zeus, than the retribution you took when you sentenced me to die. You have done this just now by trying to avoid giving an account of your life, but I think the complete opposition will happen: you will have more prosecutors—whom I was holding back until now, though you did not notice—and as they are younger they will be more troublesome, and you will be more enraged. If you think that killing people will prevent anyone from rebuking you for not living properly, you are not thinking straight, since this escape is scarcely possible nor noble, whereas escape from the other is noblest and easiest: not by cutting down others but equipping oneself so that one can be as good as possible. With this prophecy to you who sentence me, I depart.

From Socrates' speech to the court following his death sentence in 399 BC, at least according to Plato's Apology. This translation is by Cathal Woods and Ryan Pack.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Out of Time

I stopped laughing, crying, eating, sleeping…I just stopped. I was like a ghost, haunting my own life, going through the motions, but living even less than I had before. I became hyper-obsessed with the past—back when I was still happy and unperturbed by these thoughts and still had time left; the past also became a concept I loathed because it housed all of the mistakes that led me here, to this misery in which the second half of your 30s can somehow feel like The End, like it’s already too late to start over. I no longer felt like the central character in my life story, like the Hero; instead, I felt like the Heavy who’d destroyed any chance of true usefulness in my life.

Being a Quentin Tarantino film, Once Upon a Hollywood, which I first saw a year ago on the day of its UK release, was divisive. It was certainly my film of 2019 and in my view Tarantino's best film this century. Woods' extremely personal long read on the film mirrors a lot of my own thoughts on it and certainly explains why, as with him, it mattered so much to me.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Some Mistakes You Never Forgive Yourself For

    'A long time ago,' the driver said. 'He made a mistake a long time ago.'
    'He made two mistakes,' Cogan said. 'The second mistake was making the first mistake, like it always is.'
 - George V. Higgins, Cogan's Trade (1974)

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Lost in Youtube

You are scrolling through Youtube when a video catches your eye. You open it. In the video, a woman reads out a text largely derived from a Wikipedia article you wrote five years ago, about an unsolved murder in which the victim's body was dismembered and left in suitcases. She whispers her way through the text because she is doing this as an ASMR.

She pauses a couple of times to apologise that this ASMR is so "deathy".