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August 14, 2014

Flight to London.

So, here I am, in a little airport cafe in Heathrow. One that happens to be run by two East block angels, just like everything else here, it seems. I don’t know whether to feel bad or not - maybe it’s all a misunderstanding, maybe the phrase “would you like to clean the floors at some crummy English airport for the rest of your life with long hours and little pay” sounds like “modeling” in Slovak? And before they know it they get here and it’s too late! (Or, as it turns out, too latte)

Anyway, I’m here. I survived, but barely. I know that my flight was technically only 12 hours long, but I feel like one of those people who have returned to civilization after being stranded at sea for fourteen years. So, you can imagine, the orange juice I had when I landed was like an elixir of life. One sip and I swear I could already feel the scurvy in my lips beginning to heal.

London, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. I’m telling you, you haven’t experienced gloom and loneliness until you’ve flown over the outskirts of London at 5am - the utter desolation, the single car here and there trudging reluctantly through the empty streets, a goat standing alone in the corner of some empty field, rows upon rows of council house curtains drawn, everyone deep in slumber before yet another disappointing day of work before the eventual and stifling relief of retirement. And mind you, I noticed this during landing. I think it’s pretty safe to say that if all you can think of while plummeting to Earth in a 700 ton metal box filled with screaming infants at 500mph is “look how boring it is outside”, then you know it’s bad.

Nevertheless we landed safely - suburbia isn’t known for their rockets, despite containing an alarming amount of Ukrainian bombshells - and I headed straight for the nearest bathroom (I’d been sitting next to two immovable, middle aged Croatians) and as I walked in, I was greeted with my very first impression of London - a bloke playing chorales at full volume while on the loo. What a welcome! Once I’d finished brushing my teeth with a toothbrush so small I very nearly swallowed it, I left this lavatory-turned-cathedral and headed down the escalator, where I was greeted by my second distinct impression - graffiti. But this was no ordinary graffiti, it wasn’t someone’s name, or a swear word, or even a political statement, but a physics formula. A coy, neatly written physics formula scribbled in permanent marker near the bottom of an otherwise empty pillar. How utterly sweet. I bet he’d just run out of paper.

The ingrained intellectuality of the British culture was fast becoming clear, but so would that other quintessential characteristic - the famous English reserve. I boarded this Heathrow shuttle that was entirely empty apart from one dreary-looking middle-aged couple. I sat across from them as the rest was all standing space, and now there were three people in this enormous carriage. Yet, no one looked at each other. I was two feet away from them, and they didn’t even so much as make eye contact. I know they say three is a crowd, but I can assure you it’s not - if there’d been a table, it would have been an awkwardly intimate and badly attended family dinner, that’s how close I was. Then again, they didn’t look at each other either, and they’re husband and wife! But a strange thing happened about two minutes of silence in. Out of the blue, the wife suddenly felt the need to make conversation with her husband. Maybe she’d suddenly realized her own mortality, or maybe she’d just noticed that the shuttle had no driver, I don’t know, but she just said, “it’s all computerized now… I don’t like that…” And that was it. Silence. That was the entire extent of the conversation, her comment just hanging in the silence like a startled hamster who’d just been thrown off a cliff by its owners mum. The rest of the shuttle ride seemed, unmistakably, like an eternity.

However, luckily this was one of the shorter eternities experienced in human history, lasting all of one minute, and all was well again when, upon disembarkment, we were greeted by a plethora of power outlets and an enormous poster of Cara Delevigne. I was seriously considering just staying here for the five days, and it almost happened, but due to my blackberry’s confused charging habits rather than laziness. This second eternity would have been agony, but his was Heathrow! The world’s port, the playground of personalities, the gateway through which all the rich and famous Brits must so often pass. I was practically planning what I was going to say to Stephen Fry when I saw him! It was going to be brilliant! However, I was greeted, not by any idolized actor or actress, but by an endless stream of businessmen, people who seemed to think the pinnacle of relaxation was undoing your top button, and I was distinctly reminded of something Jez said to Mark in Peep Show once - “you keep your shirt done up to ten because if you don’t all that boring, grey, office sludge will come spilling out and drown you.” This thought made me realize that, in a way, I was glad they hadn’t gone full anarchist and undone two.

So, I just watched them hurry past, and I would have fallen asleep were it not for the most peculiar sight, a man walking past me, followed by what was unmistakably the sound of popping bubbles. I was perplexed, until I realized that it was this bloke’s phone going off. He’d regained his connection, and this was his messages all flooding in in an avalanche of pops, as if he was strutting on an endless ream of bubble wrap of which he was blissfully unaware.

So, here I was, in the land of knowledge, of awkward silences, of the Sex Pistols, Oscar Wilde, of useless wooden stirrers, gorgeous immigrant workers, and, apparently, Bubble Boy himself. Hello London, it’s nice to finally meet you.

August 11, 2014

Blogging Test No. 2 - Further dribble. As it happens, my writing platform dilemma has grown even more complex. Hard to believe, right? Well, it’s true. I’ve found two more possible platforms straight out of the hipster’s closet enclave, namely, Medium, a space with more designer profile pictures and Mumford&Sons-loving web-app-CEO’s than an organic coffee-shop in Williamsburg; and Weebly, a drag-and-drop haven for any and all creative folk with an ambitious vision of sleek and effortless internet stardom, and who feel that the revolution of the web has developed in a way that takes the power away from the people, excluding the general populus through purposely complex and vindictive systems like hosting, domains, HTML, CSS, acronyms and profit, but think that taking a free course on coding on their $5000 iMac is “getting in the way of their creative flow” since those techies just have the “wrong energy, man.” So basically, me. (I jest of course… I don’t have a mac. That’s someone else’s I swear.)


Still - they’re simple and they look pretty. The children of the UI revolution, bringing modern web-based creativity back to the every-man in an avalanche of ethical sustainability pledges and sans-serif font.

Medium, supposedly, is where you want to be if you want people to take your writing seriously. And judging by the fact that the very first thing you see when you visit their website is an article on “How artists and museums can collaboratively crowdfund exhibitions to mutual benefit,” it’s not hard to see why. Medium is not your average blogging site, but rather a kind of independantly-published newspaper filled with short, pretty articles. The writers who use Medium are serious (even in their humour) and it seems the readers are too. Sure, it’s not on the mass scale community of the almighty WordPress, but it is a community none-the-less, and an active one at that, keenly following work and providing thoughtful feedback left, right and center. Think of them as one of those isolated, self-sustaining communes of ex-engineers and university professors who have left the trappings of everyday life and society behind to seek solice in a simpler life, or by learning to make their own butter somewhere in a forest at 2am in the morning, usually about 37 miles from a luxury golf-course in case one day they run out of loo-paper or those tiny individually-wrapped soaps.

Weebly, on the other hand, is famous for being, hand down, the best and most user-friendly free website builder out there. Its drag-and-drop design tool and multitude of shiny new skins and widgits make it perfect for the casual 20-something with an idea, be it a gallery, a graphic design portfolio, or selling little pot plants to similarly little old ladies in Sheffield. It even, the very indie and relatable introduction video assures us, works wonders for blogging, supposedly packed with ingenious stastistic tools from Google and free-reign on customization, along with access to countless gorgeous themes and plug-ins.

However, that beign said, there is an apparent dark side. A Weebly-based blog has no way of tagging, categorizing or generally organizing your various posts… And what an utter tragedy this is. Why does there always have to be something wrong? Some fatal flaw, some skeleton in its expertly bevelled closet? Why can’t there just be one perfect blogging platform that is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, practical and free? I’m sure they have one in those eutopian, self-sustainable hippie communes, why can’t us urban folk have one too? Oh yeah, we already do… It’s called paper. Heavy, home made, jasmine-laced paper.

10 August, 2014. Brown from the Sky.
Test: video embedded in blog post.
Subject: Brown University from the perspective of what can only be a very bored pigeon who also happens to be a massive Emma Watson fan.

August 9, 2014.

Dear diary.

It has recently come to my attention that I hadn’t, up to now, been living my life to the fullest. Fullest, not in the whole, entire sense of the word, but in a sense with rather more distance - that I hadn’t been documenting my reasonably fully lived life. So, about three months ago, I started keeping a diary, to some success. I was by no means diligent, no, I wrote only when I was bored, but still, the immortal nature of seeing your thoughts on paper can make even the most dull day seem profound. 

However, while a black book was sufficient for my short stint at the University of Cape Town, it is no longer enough, apparently. With the undeniable sense of occasion carried by my looming trans-Atlantic adventure, and the subsequent strange happenings of Ivy League America (my so-called education) the people back home have requested that I keep them up to date. All of them. Practically every adult who has laid, or not laid eyes on me since the day I was born. And seeing as there’s no way I am squandering my hard-earned wages on manila envelopes and stamps, they have left me no choice but to start a blog…

Now, I must admit, I have been eyeing the whole blogosphere for some time now, wondering whether the goings on of my every-day life, the colour of my underwear, and the obscene amount of time I spend taking pictures are things I want the entire world to know about. And turns out, yes. I do want everyone to know what I want them to know of I want myself to know of what goes on in my head. It seems ludicrous, these layers of self-realization. The blog - above instagram, but not yet a diary. Like facebook, but more personal. And at the same time less personal. Because everyone can see it. I guess that’s what you have to prevent people from realizing. (And by the way, my underwear are almost all bright pink. In case you were wondering.)

Anyway, I digress. The real reason for this post is to see how suitable Tumblr would be for blogging. And by that I don’t mean reblogging, I mean proper, WordPress level stuff. This is like, serious nonsense, yeah? “Ah, but why not use WordPress then? The clue is very much in the description.” Well, yes. And no. From what I’ve gathered, WordPress is beautiful, functional and powerful - a text based version of Tumblr. However, it is limited to those of us who aren’t planning on spending any money on this venture. I mean sure, many of the premium tools are for super website geeks starting a company, not college freshmen blogging to aunts they’ve never met, but no matter how conservative your daily drop into the internet whirlpool is, if nothing else, your allocated 3GB of storage will eventually run out, and you will be forced to either upgrade, relocate or say goodbye to either your exciting future, or your beloved past - a decision one would rather never have to make. 

Now, WordPress is by no means the only platform. Blogger, by Google, is a powerful and worthy competitor - it was first on the scene, after all. And while WordPress may be boasting with the depth that comes with years of third-party developers working on themes and tools, Blogger carries its modest lunchbox of templates with a childlike innocence across the writer-monkey playground - it is both free and fully customizable. What it lacks in initial skins, it makes up for in freedom of creation, if you know HTML or CCS, that is. Compare this with WordPress’s limited space and minimum range of customization, and it is clear that Blogger is almost definitely the more practical choice with which to make an entirely free and sustainable, albeit ugly blog. The stray dog of websites - disgusting and uncontrollable to the public, but unconditionally loving to its owner. 

However, unbeknownst to many, there is a third option, a compromise of sorts, between the aesthetic brilliance and historical momentum of WordPress and the loving, hippie-child persona of Google’s Blogger, a friendly Labrador between the loving scrat and the ominous Rottweiler. It is — Tumblr. 

Tumblr is friendly, yet thorough; free, yet customizable; social without being overbearing and with enough boundaries to ensure that even someone who’s dress sense is stuck in the 70’s will be able to have a blog that won’t blind the fourteen bored teenagers who actually bother looking at it. 

That being said, I have started a Blogger page, an endevour that has frustrated my perfectionist self to such an extent that I find myself here. The proverbial ‘sleeping on the couch.’ So, I would like to test the blogging capabilities of this largely gif orientated medium. 

For example, how well does it handle long, written passages of rubbish? Answer, see above! Do hipster pictures of liberal arts colleges fit well within the ongoing overall narrative? Well, let’s see:

Yes! And while getting the word-manufacturing line, ” | “, to the end of the post was a witch-hunt, the precise spacing and gorgeous upload bar more than made up for it! But, how about video? One problem I had with my Blogger page, one of the reasons I am here in fact, was that whenever I posted a video off YouTube (I don’t think Vimeo is not supported) the resulting work was a date, with a tiny cube underneath it - or rather, my video. It looked like a rather confused and disorientated goldfish in an endless, empty ocean, this morsel of media among endless minimalist white space. But, can old Tumblr do any better? Let’s have a look…at Brown University from the point of view of what appears to be a very bored pigeon:


Hmm… that’s odd… Not only is the video not as crisp and cleanly integrated as I expected, but there seems to be no video embedded at all! What an utter tragedy! Perhaps, if I settle on Tumblr in the end, I will be forced to post video’s and other such media seperately, and blog in their descriptions. This balance could wreck havoc with the typography of the various content, leaving it a mess of weirdly-sized words, rather than a continuous, flowing entity of narrative, and thus compromising the very fundamental characteristics through which I would like to communicate - a seamless and simple streaming of information that is both easy and pleasurable to follow. There needs to be clean lines, clear boundaries, intuitive organization and no clutter. Nothing should distract from the story and the information therein, which, if it is to be enjoyed and experienced to its fullest, must be immediately available in its full, ephemeral beauty, where HD is a given and pop-ups, ads and new windows are nowhere in sight… 

If only Apple had a blogging platform… ‘Till then, I’m staying here.






The Clash helps some of their fans to sneak in before a concert.

this is how you do music right.

I love this so much. Like how stoked would you be if a band you loved helped you sneak into a big show of theirs?

I’ve heard this story before and love that they did this. Stop me if you heard this other one:
The Ramones were playing in England and before the show they were hanging out in the dressing room when someone tossed a stone at the window. They looked out to see some young punks who wanted to get into the show but didn’t have money for tickets. The Ramones reached down and pulled the guys up and got them in. Those young punks without tickets were to become The Clash.
Good to hear they kept it going.

I can never just scroll past this without reblogging

(via robertdenlro)


Alejandro Guijarro - Momentum (2010-)

"The artist travels to the great quantum mechanics institutions of the world and, using a large-format camera, photographs blackboards as he finds them. 

Momentum displays the photographs in life-size. 

Before he walks into a lecture hall Guijarro has no idea what he might find. He begins by recording a blackboard with the minimum of interference. No detail of the lecture hall is included, the blackboard frame is removed and we are left with a surface charged with abstract equations. 

Effectively these are documents. Yet once removed from their institutional beginnings the meaning evolves. The viewer begins to appreciate the equations for their line and form. Color comes into play and the waves created by the blackboard eraser suggest a vast landscape or galactic setting. The formulas appear to illustrate the worlds of Quantum Mechanics. What began as a precise lecture, a description of the physicist’s thought process, is transformed into a canvas open to any number of possibilities.”

"When The Beatles were depressed, thinking, the group is going nowhere, and this is a shitty deal, and we’re in a shitty dressing room…I’d say, 'Where are we going, fellas?' They’d go, 'To the top, Johnny!' And I’d say, 'Where's that, fellas?' and they’d say, 'To the toppermost of the poppermost!' and I’d say, 'Right!' Then we’d all cheer up.” - John Lennon

(Source: onlypaulmccartney, via drive-my-rubber-soul)


I played (Mick my solo) album, but he talked all the way through it. The only time I got any insight from him was when I went to take a pee. I come out of the john and he’s dancing around the room. For a minute I watch him, and he’s just enjoying it. So I went back into the john and slammed the door and walked out again, and he’s just sitting on the couch. But that’s Mick. I know the bloke. I guess I saw him liking it when he didn’t know I was looking. So that’s cool.
-Keith Richards 1988.


I played (Mick my solo) album, but he talked all the way through it. The only time I got any insight from him was when I went to take a pee. I come out of the john and he’s dancing around the room. For a minute I watch him, and he’s just enjoying it. So I went back into the john and slammed the door and walked out again, and he’s just sitting on the couch. But that’s Mick. I know the bloke. I guess I saw him liking it when he didn’t know I was looking. So that’s cool.

-Keith Richards 1988.

(via robertdenlro)

"When I first saw you, I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew."
- William Shakespeare


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