Writing Notes on Things

Writing Notes on Things no.6: Object histories – “The President’s Hat” by Antoine Laurain

The President's Hat (published in French as Le Chapeau de Mitterand in 2012, English translation by Gallic Books published 2013) is a novel set in France in the 1980s and follows a hat (originally belonging to French President François Mitterrand) as it is found and lost again by a series of characters. Each of the… Continue reading Writing Notes on Things no.6: Object histories – “The President’s Hat” by Antoine Laurain

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What researching Cold War poetry taught me about the Covid-19 crisis

News of the novel coronavirus now known as Covid-19 made it onto my radar in January, and the virus began to impact life in the UK early in March. It's fair to say that this disease has changed everyday life and created a "new normal". We've been stripped of the future we imagined, and this… Continue reading What researching Cold War poetry taught me about the Covid-19 crisis

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Discomfort Reading: Reviewing Three Books of Speculative Poetry from the 2010s

Research into lockdown reading habits shows people turning to crime fiction to keep themselves occupied. Although it might seem paradoxical, crime and thrillers are generally comfort reading, since the genre emphasises the power of law and order to combat threats, enact justice, and resolve normality after the chaos of a crime. On the other hand,… Continue reading Discomfort Reading: Reviewing Three Books of Speculative Poetry from the 2010s

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Seven years and Twenty One Pilots: in which I write about the band’s albums and ponder lockdown listening

Earlier this month I stumbled upon new music by Twenty One Pilots: the lockdown-inspired "Level of Concern" (released 9th April 2020). It reminded me of some of the things I first liked about the band's music. It's a definite bop and I love the honesty with which the lyrics encourage us to connect with one… Continue reading Seven years and Twenty One Pilots: in which I write about the band’s albums and ponder lockdown listening

Inside fridge door with juice carton labelled "drink me" and milk bottle.
Writing Notes on Things

Writing Notes on Things no.5: DRINK ME

Ever since I had the idea for the Writing Notes on Things series, I've wanted to write about the things from Lewis Carroll's Alice books, in which Alice famously finds a bottle with a label that says "DRINK ME" (and decides to follow those instructions on the basis that the bottle isn't labelled with a… Continue reading Writing Notes on Things no.5: DRINK ME

Poetry Commentaries

Poetry Commentary: Heidi Williamson’s “The Wind Turbines” and Stephen Spender’s “The Pylons”

In this post, I break down "The wind turbines" from Electric Shadow (Bloodaxe 2011), and then briefly compare it to another poem from another time, Stephen Spender's "The Pylons" from c.1933. Each of these poems takes a visible part of electricity infrastructure often regarded as an eyesore (the pylons and wind turbines found in each… Continue reading Poetry Commentary: Heidi Williamson’s “The Wind Turbines” and Stephen Spender’s “The Pylons”

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In Search of an Ethical Wardrobe: Fixes, thrifting, clothes which close the loop

Fast fashion is destructive in so many ways that it's difficult to know where to begin. The clothing industry has complex supply chains which often lack transparency, and can hide unethical labour practices including forced labour and child workers. Even those who are properly paid employees can face unsafe conditions - inadequate protection from the… Continue reading In Search of an Ethical Wardrobe: Fixes, thrifting, clothes which close the loop

Themed reading suggestions

Reading suggestions for the New Year

Back in November I listed some of my favourite cold weather rereads. This time, some old favourites suitable for New Year (we're still talking about 2020 as "new", right?) I'll begin with cult fiction The Eclipse of the Century (1999) by Jan Mark, a very odd sci-fi which I just can't seem to shake. If… Continue reading Reading suggestions for the New Year

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2019 Favourites: TV, music, and more

Ordinarily, I would start a post like this by discussing the best things I've read during the year. However, while I have enjoyed rediscovering life without a reading list since completing my MA, this year hasn't brought me a book I'd call my new favourite. I did choose to read graphic novels for the first… Continue reading 2019 Favourites: TV, music, and more

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Shakespeare in performance: How Matthew Bourne’s version of the “Romeo and Juliet” ballet alters the story

Back in September 2018, my first proper post for this blog was a post about my encounters with the works of Shakespeare, which explored how I'd first met particular plays of his and reflected on the role adaptation plays in our cultural understanding of his work. This post is a loose sequel of sorts, as… Continue reading Shakespeare in performance: How Matthew Bourne’s version of the “Romeo and Juliet” ballet alters the story