On irrational hatred

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‘Consider the scenario. You’re sitting in the pub, waiting for a friend. They’ve texted you to ask if it’s ok if they bring someone else along and you’ve happily agreed. They arrive and your friend introduces you to their companion. As you shake their hand, you experience an instant, hot, totally irrational rush of dislike…’

[To read my full piece, please visit the good folk at Lndnr.com]

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On the Loss of Childhood Heroes

‘It’s a human need to be told stories.’
Alan Rickman

There are some weeks that we wish we could erase from our collective consciousness. Press delete. Return to sender, unopened and unread.

This has been one of those weeks.

This week we lost two towering ambassadors of the arts, two beacons of British culture: David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Both men were 69 and both were killed by that omnipresent grim reaper, cancer.

A tidal wave of grief flooded the internet. It was immediately clear that their deaths were felt keenly around the world, but nowhere more so than in Britain. To us, it felt deeply personal.

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On Asking for Help

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Seven years of boarding school have turned me into an independent monster. Add a healthy dash of stubbornness to my self-sufficiency and you’ll often find me ‘powering through’ to the point of ridiculousness. Needless to say, I’m not very good at asking for help.

Cut to midnight, a week ago. A cup of freshly boiled lemon and ginger tea all over my foot. 3 hours in A&E. Bed. Rest. Keep it elevated.

My little accident has left me completely dependant on others. I am, for all intents and purposes, confined to the sofa/bed/other comfortable surfaces until my foot is completely healed.

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When does a brand biopic become a marketing ploy?

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Steve Jobs, the third film to be made about the founder of Apple in as many years, has been chosen to close the 2015 BFI London Film Festival. This news confirms what was already obvious: from Howard Hughes to Mr Heineken, Hollywood has an increasing obsession with entrepreneurs. With films about the founders of Google and McDonalds in the pipeline, it’s a trend that shows no sign of abating.

In many ways, it’s unsurprising. The origin stories of many iconic brands contain the hallmarks of the classic rags-to-riches plot that has long proved irresistible to filmmakers.

Whether or not an official studio-brand production partnership exists, films about existing brands inevitably come with a side-order of subliminal advertising that can diminish the power of the storytelling.

At their best, these films present an inspiring tale of vision and fearlessness. At their worst, they become little more than souped-up marketing ploys masquerading as artistic entertainment.

I’ve had a look at four films that revolve around brands and their leaders to decide in each case whether integrity won out over The Man.

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Surviving the Job Hunt (aka The Hunger Games: London Edition)

I’ve had to take a brief hiatus from blogging in order to focus all my attention on dealing with two big challenges in my life: moving house and finding a new job.

The first is tricky enough, especially in London where landlords charge half the average monthly salary for a one-bed flat in Zone 3 with a shower in the kitchen. Combine that with the job hunt and life becomes pretty hellish. 90% of the calls I received over the summer were from estate agents or recruiters. You feel popular for about a day. Then you start to feel pestered. Then so overwhelmed that you turn your phone on silent and hide it in the freezer.

The story has a happy ending; about three weeks ago, I moved into a great new flat and, earlier this week, I accepted a job offer. After countless cover letters, dozens of interview outfits and many, many pep talks, I finally (finally!) found a job I’m excited about. Here’s what I learned in the process…

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Great Expectations: or learning to live without your toes

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Dog not included.

 

The other morning, groggy headed and bleary eyed, I opened my front door to head off to work and was greeted by a blast of cold air and a flooded drain. Wrapping my coat tightly around me, I locked my door and, head held high, stepped defiantly over the sewage and stomped off towards the tube. Inside, though, I was seething.

The drain was the latest in a recent onslaught of problems with my new-ish London home. It would be added to the increasingly long list of ‘Things to mention to the landlord’, along with faulty oven, damp and the lack of central heating.

I allow myself a blissful few minutes when I step into the shower, close my eyes and dream of the day when the list stops being my life and starts being an amusing dinner party anecdote. That’s usually when my housemate turns on the kitchen tap and I’m hit by a jet of freezing water and a cold, hard dose of reality. My bank account is, alas, five figures short of a Pinterest palace and I – like countless other overly-ambitious, financially-challenged youths – will have to put up with what I can get.

In the past three months, I’ve become a lot better at dealing with a less-than-perfect rental situation. In the spirit of sharing, here are a few of the things that have saved me from crying and stuffing ice cream in my mouth whilst browsing the property pages of the Evening Standard.

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Where have my balls gone?

An Average Day

The other night I had dinner with an old friend. The kind of friend who not only remembers that time you discovered hair dye for the first time and had a barnet the colour of an Aperol Spritz, but has had the photographic evidence pinned to her wall in a photo collage for the last ten years. The kind of friend who is incredibly relaxing to be around, because conversation is stripped of the need for context and is instead reduced to a chorus of “Remember when…?”’s and frequently punctuated with cackles of laughter.

 

As always, our chat took a turn for the nostalgic. I’ve known this particular friend since we were 5 years old and she holds a very special place in my heart – and not just because of the many, many birthday parties attended, family crises handled and pre-pubescent fashion decisions (mutually) supported. This friend is particularly important. You see, she was the other member of my band.

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