Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Uses of Melancholy

A group of academics have raised the possibility that the eighteenth-century Scottish poet Robert Burns had bipolar disorder, making the laudable enough claim for their work that accepting that ‘the national bard might have been depressive could increase acceptance of mental health issues’. While they were probably aware of the contradiction, in retrospectively diagnosing Burns […]

A Politics Now!

Keyser Söze famously said (or didn’t say) that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. We are perhaps witnessing something similar to this operation in modern politics today. Throughout the recent European election campaigns – in the UK at least – the political emphasis seemed to be squarely […]

Milo Moire’s “PlopEgg” Painting

Do women have to be naked to get into the Metropolitan Museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the modern art sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female  The question posed by the feminist art organisation Guerilla Girls, receives an answer in the work of the Swiss performance artist, Milo Moire. […]

On Bronies

When Hasbro successfully re-launched the My Little Pony franchise in 2010, the cartoon quickly found an unexpected and committed audience in teenage and twenty-something men. Much of the commentary surrounding these “Bronies” has applauded their counter-cultural daring and progressive flouting of gender norms, while the collisions between flat-topped fathers and pink-tailed, rainbow-hoofed sons in the […]

How to Hate Shakespeare

The 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth was marked by a weeklong festival in Stratford-upon-Avon and the usual bluster of academics seeing an opportunity to complete their required bit of public engagement for the year by earnestly demonstrating how Shakespeare is “still relevant today”. The seamy underside of this jubilation could be traced via Twitter along […]

Colonising the Everyday #2

Those sceptical friends of the first viewers of The Hills, Made in Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex who complained of the patent fakeness of their professionally paced bickering and impeccable camera direction clearly missed the point. It was for the first wave of reality television embodied in Big Brother to briefly promise authenticity, […]

Colonising the Everyday #1

What do we do when we are not doing anything? In the age of kindles, iPhones and other mobile devices, our blank ‘down time’ moments – in queues, on busses, or taking cigarette breaks alone – are no longer spent staring blankly into space or out of windows idly collecting our thoughts, but instead are […]