At its most free, European culture has been very free. At its most unfree, it was still free.
Stars are born out of molecular clouds, regions of space made up mostly of hydrogen and helium. Stars are formed in space because they have space. Cultural ideas are formed in culture because they also have space.
I’ve always found it strange that although Europeans have been undertaking long-distance travelling for thousands of years, the habit of keeping a journal or a travelogue is a relatively recent literary invention.
While Coronavirus news are plaguing our media, more people seek refuge in art, culture, and history – existential stances which are ipso facto open to the future tense. Or it is precisely our right to the future tense as a society which is being questioned these days. With things becoming more uncertain each day, and more restrictions being introduced in countries around the world, we are finding it increasingly harder to conjugate our lives in the simple future. So here I am, offering a glimpse of the past as a momentary distraction from the iron bracket we find ourselves in, individually and as a society.
We’re experiencing unprecedented times. Except that they are not. Plagues, wars, epidemics, the continent has seen them all. And it has sung them all. Will we know how to sing before it’s all behind us?
Two Facebook users walk into a bar. Or into a chat without them being friends. Each realises their security settings, so finely tuned, don’t allow them to invite each other into wholesome friendship. They give up and take their place at each end of the bar, typing, but not joined in holy Zuckermony. Without knowing, they’ve achieved social media isolation
I think it’s fair to say that no government has yet found the ideal response to the ever-changing crisis situation. How could they, anyway? The goalposts are shifting as the rules of the game keep moving. And they are moving far too quickly for anyone to start playing. We’re resorting to old antidotes in responseContinue reading “‘Tis the times’ plague, when madmen lead the blind”
The two most common sources of deferring or discontinuing a writing project are writer’s block and distractions. In other words, two forms of siege, one inner, the other external.
We’re living through an international emergency, whose real hideous face we have yet to see. But in every emergency, there is something to find consolation in.
As the viral crisis deepens, it feels inappropriate to broach any other topic than the epidemic, seriously or in jest. We’ve learned a lot from the past, and the present holds lessons that we might hope to learn in the years to come. The 14th century may not have a lot to teach us in the way of preventing a national pandemic, but it has the benefit of fumigation: bringing a nice aroma into the room without killing the pathogens. Here’s my rant and my aroma:
There is no reason the current crisis should disrupt your reading habits. Here are six rules to keep every reader healthy and calm: 1. Avoid licking your index finger when turning the pages of your book when you’re outside. Actually, avoid licking your fingers altogether. 2. Keep your secrets secret, your cards close to yourContinue reading “Reader hygiene”