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October 1, 2013
[politics] Digested Read: Power Trip by Damian McBride

I should stress that never at any time did Gordon or the two Eds have any idea whatsoever that I was leaking stories to the media or briefing against colleagues. Every time something to our advantage dominated the headlines, they would all three gasp with amazement and say: “Wow! What a brilliant coincidence. Aren’t we lucky to have so many coincidences! Are you sure you didn’t have anything to do with this?” And I would reply: “I know I’ve got a reputation for being a bit of a liar, but I promise I’m not lying this time. Believe me, if I’d known the minister was shagging his secretary, I’d have told the Mail ages ago.” And they would say: “You’re so sweet, Damian.”

September 23, 2013
[books] Stephen King: on alcoholism and returning to the Shining … King is interviewed by Emma Brockes.

…without labouring the point, [Doctor Sleep] has good allegorical bones: the sick buzz one gets from consuming the grisliest news stories. It also captures the reality of a recovering alcoholic, a state with which King is intimately familiar. “The hungover eye,” he writes, “had a weird ability to find the ugliest things in any given landscape.” Danny turns his life around and starts going to AA meetings, where, King writes, he discovers that memories are the “real ghosts”. It is a book as extravagantly inventive as any in King’s pantheon, and a careful study of self-haunting: “You take yourself with you, wherever you go.”

September 18, 2013
[twitter] First World Problems on Twitter‘It’s generally a fact that there is no kale available in Crouch End because of the Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook. #unbearable’
September 17, 2013
[history] Early recollections of Adolf Hitler: “Eccentric but quite a pleasant fellow” … a profile of Adolf Hitler published in the New Statesman in 1933 …

In those days in Munich I lived in the Thiersh Strasse, and I frequently noticed in the street a man who vaguely reminded me of a militant edition of Charles Chaplin, owing to his characteristic moustache and his bouncing way of walking. He always carried a riding whip in his hand with which he used incessantly to chop off imaginary heads as he walked. He was so funny that I inquired from neighbours who he might be: most of them, owing to his Slav type, took him to be one of these Russian émigrés who abounded in Germany at that time, and they freely talked of his being probably a trifle mentally deranged. But my grocer told me it was a Herr Adolf Hitler from Braunau in Austria, and that he was leader of a tiny political group which called itself the “German National Socialist Workers Party”. He lived as a boarder in the apartment of a small artisan, wrote articles for an obscure paper called the Völkischer Beobachter, and orated in hole-and-corner meetings before audiences of a dozen or two. Out of curiosity I bought the paper once or twice, and found it a scatter-brained collection of wild anti-Jewish stories and articles interlarded with panegyrics on the Germanic race. My obliging grocer closed his information on Hitler by remarking that he frequently purchased things in his shop and was, despite his eccentric appearance, quite a pleasant fellow, though inclined to talk sixteen to the dozen about anything and everything.

September 15, 2013
[comics] Twitter / MattBors: ‘The quintessential comics fan—reading books he can’t stand for 45 years.’
August 29, 2013
[people] Ask Ayn Rand … John Hodgman rediscovers long-lost Ayn Rand magazine columns from 1980 …

My moral philosophy is founded on the idea that there is an objective reality, and that man’s senses can perceive this objective reality. This faculty, which is man’s reason, is paramount above all else. He takes for evidence only his own experience, his own judgment, and that is why I do not hesitate to say, objectively, definitively, that “Caddyshack” is the year’s best movie.

Rodney Dangerfield plays a self-made man who is not ashamed of his ambition, who does not apologize for his success, and who gets excitement from the joyful reality that we are all going to get laid if we are willing to be productively selfish and to stop coddling the weak. In other movie news, I did not like how easily the boy escaped Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” I have solved all the hedge mazes in the United States and Europe, and I can tell you they are not that complicated.

August 9, 2013
[books] Stephen King’s Family Business … a warm profile of Stephen King and his family … ‘At times in his life, [Joe] Hill actually contemplated hiring an actor to do readings of his work, to conceal that unmistakable resemblance to his father. By the time “Heart-Shaped Box” was published and he had forged ahead with some readings, his alias had been blown. In the end, in light of the book’s success, that did not seem to matter; now he’s comfortable writing in a genre his father dominates. “Sometimes I think the kid who’s like, ‘I’m never going to be like my dad in any way whatsoever,’ is less his own person,” he said.’
August 5, 2013
[people] Steve Coogan: ‘There is an overlap between me and Alan Partridge’ … fascinating profile of Steve Coogan / Alan Partridge …

I follow Coogan’s fast-moving white Dunlops up the cliff and back to the hotel. “It started out not being like me at all. It’s probably got more like me,” puffs Coogan, as the wind buffets his impeccable Partridge hairpiece. “It’s recognising your own vanities and insecurities and turning the volume up on them. Anyone who is creative puts something of themselves in what they do, and I’ve put lots in, but it’s the warped, prejudicial side of myself. It’s not just a mocking caricature. It has to have some degree of humanity. On one level, Alan is very likable because he makes mistakes and vocalises a lot of the insecurities that people feel. He’s also a contemptuous Little Englander, the kind of person who I see as my life to rail against. Part of him is everything I hate about Britain. It’s a bit complicated.”

June 26, 2013
[people] Tony Blackburn’s Autobiography Compressed … amusing collection of Smashie and Nicey-style quotes from Blackburn’s autobiography …

Excerpt from Tony Blackburn's Autobiography

June 21, 2013
[people] James Gandolfini, 1961-2013 … David Remnick remembers James Gandolfini …

Gandolfini was the focal point of “The Sopranos,” the incendiary, sybaritic neurotic who must play the Godfather at home and at the Bada Bing but knows that everything—his family, his racket, his way of life—is collapsing all around him.

As the seasons passed, Gandolfini gained weight at an alarming pace. His death, at the age of fifty-one, in Italy, does not come entirely as a shock. But that makes it no less a loss. Gandolfini was not a fantastically varied actor. He played within a certain range. Like Jackie Gleason, he’ll be remembered for a particular role, and a particular kind of role, but there is no underestimating his devotion to the part of a lifetime that was given to him. In the dozens of hours he had on the screen, he made Tony Soprano—lovable, repulsive, cunning, ignorant, brutal—more ruthlessly alive than any character we’ve ever encountered in television.

June 18, 2013
[crime] Russian Mafia Tombstones … Live Fast and leave a gravestone to be puzzled over by archaeologists in a 1000 years time … ‘These photos were taken in the cemetery of Dnepropetrovsk, in the Ukraine, a place much like the mafia-infested Yekaterinburg, in Mother Russia. Although the two cities are 2,000 km apart, mafia fashion is very much the same. During the Russian Mafia Wars of the ’90s bosses started commissioning these lavish tombstones for them and their loyal subjects.’
June 14, 2013
[fun] Ed Balls Teaches Typing … old-school web fun with Ed Balls.
June 13, 2013
[politics] Whistleblowers Are Weird … The Daily Beast on Edward Snowden … ‘[Whistleblowers] are weird in their own way, because they have to be in order to be willing to violate the trust of their group in order to protect a principle. In Eyal Press’ book on dissenters, Beautiful Souls, they come off as rigid, idealistic, a bit self-righteous, and more than a little naive. Those are not characteristics that make you fit in.’
June 11, 2013
[people] Rich Kids Of Instagram … Let me tell you about the very rich. They have more luggage than you and me.
June 3, 2013
[london] Highgate Vampire … fascinating story of the creation of a urban-legend in 1970s … ‘The Hampstead and Highgate Express reported [Seán Manchester] on 27 February 1970 as saying that he believed that ‘a King Vampire of the Undead’, a medieval nobleman who had practised black magic in medieval Wallachia (Romania), had been brought to England in a coffin in the early eighteenth century, by followers who bought a house for him in the West End. He was buried on the site that later became Highgate Cemetery, and Manchester claimed that modern Satanists had roused him. He said the right thing to do would be to stake the vampire’s body, and then behead and burn it, but this would nowadays be illegal. The paper headlined this: ‘Does a Vampyr walk in Highgate?’ Manchester later claimed, however, that the reference to ‘a King Vampire from Wallachia’ was a journalistic embellishment. Nevertheless, the 1985 edition of his book also speaks of an unnamed nobleman’s body brought to Highgate in a coffin from somewhere in Europe. In his interview of 27 February, Manchester offered no evidence in support of his theory.’
May 29, 2013
[books] I Am Very Real … a letter from Kurt Vonnegut to the leader of a school board which had burned a number of his books … ‘If you were to bother to read my books, to behave as educated persons would, you would learn that they are not sexy, and do not argue in favor of wildness of any kind. They beg that people be kinder and more responsible than they often are. It is true that some of the characters speak coarsely. That is because people speak coarsely in real life. Especially soldiers and hardworking men speak coarsely, and even our most sheltered children know that. And we all know, too, that those words really don’t damage children much. They didn’t damage us when we were young.’
May 28, 2013
[wikipedia] Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia … a fascinating look at the detection of a rogue Wikipedia editor … ‘Some parts of the exchange struck me as odd, particularly his declaration that he was was “tech-deficient.” Young has over 5,000 friends on Facebook, a Twitter account, a resume that includes a stint teaching at the online-only University of Phoenix and a credit on his eldercare website that says “Designed by Robert Young © 2012 using Homestead website templates.” He sounded right at home in the realm of new technology.’
May 24, 2013
[politics] The relentless charm of Nigel Farage … fascinating profile of UKIP’s leader … ‘It also strikes me that the geniality, the pints, the cigarettes, the red meat, the hail-fellow-well-met—that these totems take their toll on Farage far more than he lets on. “I’ve learned how to do it,” he says, meaning his affability, “how to exaggerate it. Of course you learn in this job.” He’s eccentric in a way, but most of all he is what he is: a suburban stockbroker from a minor public school with one very good point. And perhaps his greatest significance is as an indictment of the other party leaders.’
May 7, 2013
[funny] I Lived With John Humphrys – He Was a Nightmare‘He used to sit me down and make me watch Fort Boyard. “Look at her,” he said, pointing at Melinda Messenger. “Have you seen such a thing? She has eleven O-Levels.” And then his breathing went all funny.’
April 29, 2013
[books] Martin Amis’ Guide to Classic Video Games … a fascinating look at the video game book that Martin Amis wrote in the early 1980’s and doesn’t like to discuss…

…There’s a half-expected (but still surprising) guest appearance from what I would be willing to bet is a young Christopher Hitchens. In a diverting rant about the increasing presence of voice effects in games, Amis recalls his first exposure to such gimmickry at a bar in Paris on New Year’s Day, 1980:

I was with a friend, a hard-drinking journalist, who had drunk roughly three times as much Calvados as I had drunk the night before. And I had drunk a lot of Calvados the night before. I called for coffee, croissants, juice; with a frown the barman also obeyed my friend’s croaked request for a glass of Calvados.

Then we heard, from nowhere, a deep, guttural, Dalek-like voice which seemed to say: “Heed! Gorgar! Heed! Gorgar … speaks!

“… Now what the hell was that?” asked my friend.

“I think it was one of the machines,” I said, rising in wonder.

“I’ve had it,” said my friend with finality. “I can’t cope with this,” he explained as he stumbled from the bar.

April 23, 2013
[blogs] Ms. Attribution … a tumblr that mixes up historical figures with quotes and song lyrics …

False Ted Bundy Quote

April 15, 2013
[people] Noel Edmonds Biography Condensed

Excerpt from Noel Edmonds Biography

April 12, 2013
[people] Ain’t It Cool’s Harry Knowles: The Cash-Strapped King of the Nerds Plots a Comeback … profile / update on Harry Knowles … ‘His phone rang. Still trudging, Knowles answered. It was Roland De Noie, his business manager. “I really f—ed up,” said De Noie in a panic. “It’s all my fault.” He had discovered that Ain’t It Cool News — the website Knowles started in his Texas bedroom that grew to be the scourge of Hollywood, redefined the nature and pace of entertainment journalism and turned an overweight, ginger-haired self-diagnosed movie nerd into the face of a geek nation on the rise — owed about $300,000 in unpaid taxes. While Ain’t It Cool News had been making $700,000 a year in gross advertising revenue at its height in the early- to mid-2000s, that had dipped to the low-six figures by 2012. The business had no cash reserves and no way to pay the bills. Its bank account had been seized. “We’re not going to be able to get out of this one,” said De Noie.’
April 8, 2013
[news] Evening Standard – Margaret Thatcher Dies

Evening Standard Headline Board: Margaret Thatcher Dies

April 5, 2013
[ww2] Hitler’s Food Taster: One Bite Away from Death … The remarkable story of one of Hitler’s team of food tasters who survived the war … ‘Hitler’s thugs brought her and the other young women to barracks in nearby Krausendorf, where cooks prepared the food for the Wolf’s Lair in a two-story building. The service personnel filled platters with vegetables, sauces, noodle dishes and exotic fruits, placing them in a room with a large wooden table, where the food had to be tasted. “There was never meat because Hitler was a vegetarian,” Wölk recalls. “The food was good — very good. But we couldn’t enjoy it.” There were rumors that the Allies had plans to poison Hitler. After the women confirmed that the food was safe, members of the SS brought it to the main headquarters in crates.’
March 21, 2013
[comics] Go Look: An Actor Who Should Have Played Green Arrow.
March 15, 2013
[weird] Richard Nixon Meets Robocop

Richard Nixon and Robocop

February 25, 2013
[comics] Upcoming: Darryl Cunningham’s Ayn Rand Memoir …Forbidden Planet has some pages from Darryl Cunningham’s latest comic strip.
February 22, 2013
[chess] Playing Chess With Kubrick… Jeremy Bernstein reminisces about meeting and playing chess with Stanley Kubrick … ‘The next day Clarke called to say that I was expected that afternoon at Kubrick’s apartment on Central Park West. I had never met a movie mogul and had no idea what to expect. But as soon as Kubrick opened the door I felt an immediate kindred spirit. He looked and acted like every obsessive theoretical physicist I have ever known. His obsession at that moment was whether or not anything could go faster than the speed of light. I explained to him that according to the theory of relativity no information bearing signal could go faster. We conversed like that for about an hour when I looked at my watch and realized I had to go. “Why?” he asked, seeing no reason why a conversation that he was finding interesting should stop.’
January 23, 2013
[space] Philip Bond’s Portraits Of Women Astronauts

Philip Bond Drawing Of Astronaut Jan Davis

January 1, 2013
[uk] 21 Brilliant British People Problems‘I don’t feel well but I don’t want to disturb my doctor.’
December 30, 2012
I Am Facebook Friends With Ryan Lanza … What happens if you’re friends on Facebook with somebody who is suddenly receiving a lot of media attention … ‘I found myself inundated with messages, some from journalists seeking confirmation, many from people saying angry and bizarre things to me or about Ryan. One demanded to know how I could be friends with such a monster. Could I help a random internet sleuth create a “psychological profile”? Did I see warning signs in Ryan? Why did I suspiciously post cartoons about mass shootings only days before? That was very tasteless. A text to my phone from an unknown number read “looks like this killer is a fan of yours.” A Twitter user declared me a “snitch” for sharing Ryan’s post. Someone accused me of having something to do with the killings, “which you take delight in,” they wrote, and hoped the FBI would hold me accountable.’
December 7, 2012
[life] Dying rock stars’ famous last words‘Barry White (to his nurse): Leave me alone, I’m fine.’
November 15, 2012
[web] The Hacking Of A General’s Mistress … a look at how long it takes to hack a password used by General Petraeus’ girlfriend … ‘Using oclHashtcat, it’ll take 17 hours to crack her password using a GPU accelerator trying 3.5-billion password attempts per second, trying all combinations of upper/lower case and digits. After doing this, you’ll discover the original password is “vsKLVg8L”. This is a fairly strong password, consisting of random upper/lower case letters and numbers, which is why it takes 17 hours to crack.’
November 6, 2012
[crime] Light Entertainment: Our Paedophile Culture … Compelling, long-read from Andrew O’Hagan on Jimmy Savile, the BBC and British Culture …

Savile went to work in light entertainment and thrived there: of course he did, because those places were custom-built for men who wanted to dandle dreaming kids on their knees. If you grew up during ‘the golden era of British television’, the 1970s, when light entertainment was tapping deep into the national unconscious, particularly the more perverted parts, you got used to grown-up men like Rod Hull clowning around on stage with a girl like Lena Zavaroni. You got used to Hughie Green holding the little girl’s hand and asking her if she wanted an ice-cream. Far from wanting an ice-cream, the little girl was starving herself to death while helpfully glazing over for the camera and throwing out her hands and singing ‘Mama, He’s Making Eyes at Me’. She was 13.

There’s something creepy about British light entertainment and there always has been. Joe Orton meets the Marquis de Sade at the end of the pier, with a few Union Jacks fluttering in the stink and a mother-in-law tied in bunting to a ducking-stool. Those of us who grew up on it liked its oddness without quite understanding how creepy it was. I mean, Benny Hill? And then we wake up one day, in 2012, and wonder why so many of them turned out to be deviants and weirdos. Our papers explode in outrage and we put on our Crucible expressions before setting off to the graveyard to take down the celebrity graves and break them up for landfill. Of course. Graffiti the plaques and take down the statues, because the joy of execration must match the original sin, when we made heroes out of these damaged and damaging ‘entertainers’. We suddenly wish them to have been normal, when all we ever ask of our celebrities is that they be much more fucked up than we are. And what do we do now? Do we burn the commemorative programmes, scratch their names from the national memory?

October 22, 2012
[conspiracy] Jimmy Savile and David Icke – All the Pieces Matter … a summary of all the comspiracy theories posted to David Icke’s internet forum regarding Jimmy Savile … ‘Is it possible he has shaved his head or dyed his hair, smokes cigarettes and wears old man’s clothes and NHS glasses? Who would recognise an old man living in a semi-reclusive life that looked like that? I’m sure if he had the influence people here are suggesting, a fake death could have been arranged.’
October 14, 2012
[comics] Q&A with Chris Ware‘Q: If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose? A: My grandmother.’
October 5, 2012
[tv] Jimmy Savile: The birth of a paedophile hoax on “Have I Got News For You” … the origins of a hoax transcript supposedly from HIGNFY outtakes in which Paul Merton has a mini-breakdown on air and repeatedly insults Jimmy Savile and all but accuses him of being a paedophile …

Co-hoaxer Mike Scott says: “I was annoyed when the script leaked because it was a rough draft in dire need of roughening up. I thought it’d never fool anyone unless it was toned down a bit. I heard that Paul Merton was infuriated by it, which disappointed me at the time.”

“Amusingly,” says Joseph Champniss, “the publication resulted in something similar to what we’d planned, albeit via a more scenic route. It certainly wasn’t a planned forum-leak. Had we realised beforehand what was going to happen, we would have removed the credit from the base of the page! We probably should have put a stop to it sooner, but all three of us were fascinated – and not a little excited – about how far it could conceivably go.

“We found out for sure a bit later when solicitors, apparently acting on behalf of Sir James Savile OBE, managed to close down the site pending an enquiry re libel, defamation of character etc etc. As webmaster, Rob was required to write a legally-binding letter in hardcopy pointing out that the script in question had never actually been ‘officially’ published on the site (and that we had no plans to publish it in the future) before the ban could be lifted.”

One reason why I thought the fake transcript was so convincing was because, I assumed, the people who wrote it were TV insiders. But I was wrong. Appearances can be deceptive.

September 25, 2012
[funny] A Speculative List Of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems‘#73: Disparity b/t morning coffee preferences in combination with Beyonce insisting that they have breakfast and coffee together every morning leading to being ‘forced’ to drink watered down, half-caff coffee maker coffee, rather than the preferred full-strength french press coffee.’
September 21, 2012
[movies] Six degrees of Kevin Bacon: scientists expose the seedy underbelly … some of the science behind the Six Degrees of separation theory … ‘Reynolds categorized the few people who surpass the Bacon four degree threshold in his data set as “old, foreign and obscure”. People like William Rufus Shafter, an army officer from the American civil war, who appeared as himself in two short silent films from 1898, and is one of 27 people who are a rule-breaking eight degrees from Bacon.’
August 28, 2012
[space] Was Neil Armstrong a real hero?‘The weekend’s retelling of the 1969 moon landing reminded us just how risky it was and how Armstrong’s quick wits and calmness saved the day. The Eagle landing craft contained no more computer power than a modern washing machine, and was heading slightly off course for the rocks when Armstrong took over the controls manually. He landed with 20 seconds’ worth of fuel, and got the Eagle back up again to rendezvous with Apollo 11. There was no backup plan, no way of rescuing the crew. Sitting in the co-pilot’s seat with his spear (well, you never know, do you?), even Achilles might have been grudgingly impressed, though Armstrong’s lack of melodrama would have annoyed him. And therein perhaps lies the clincher for Armstrong’s heroic status. No boasting, no bullying, just a soft-spoken man who insisted he was only doing his job.’
August 26, 2012
[movies] The legacy of British director and minor Hollywood legend Tony Scott … Alex Pappademas sums up Tony Scott … ‘2005’s spastic, pummeling Domino is probably the best example of how the New Jitteriness freed up Scott to make his movies that much more Tony Scott–like, and it’s thrilling, at least until it wears out your last neurotransmitter. 2004’s Man on Fire is even better, a biblical revenge flick in which Scott uses every image-destabilizing technique in his utility belt to put you right in damaged mercenary Denzel’s increasingly unhinged head space. The colors are gorgeous, too — it’s easily the most ravishingly beautiful movie ever made in which the hero kills another character by sticking an explosive device up that character’s ass.’
August 8, 2012
[politics] So, bumbling Boris Johnson is lovable and funny? Well, have I got news for you … What is Boris Johnson really like? … ‘[Max] Hastings, who has known him for nearly 30 years, still has affection for his former protege but has also sounded warnings about his unsuitability to become PM, not least because of his “startling flashes of instability”. To those who have worked closely with Johnson, his outbursts of temper are notorious; even his sister, Rachel, describes his approach to those who dare to criticise him as “Sicilian”. Female members of the London Assembly have lodged a formal complaint about his offensive conduct.’
July 18, 2012
[politics] Taxi for Mr Buckles: MPs savage G4S boss over Olympics chaos … Simon Hoggart describes the appearance of Nick Buckles before a group MP’s yesterday … ‘Disaster followed disaster. It turns out that too few G4S staff turned up at a cycling event in Surrey . When would Mr Buckles know how few people would show? At 9 o’clock, he said. That’s 9pm after the understaffed event. Mr Horseman-Sewell chipped in. There was a difference between people not showing up having been accepted, he said, and a shortfall. We were in the realm of the higher metaphysics…’
[religion] Hearing the Voice of God … An anthropologist vists with and studies American evangelicals and attempts to understand their experience …

Stanford was the setting for a psychological experiment described in When God Talks Back. To better understand if and how spiritual practice impacts the mind, Luhrmann randomly divided volunteers who were Christian into groups: one listened on iPods for 30 minutes a day to lectures on the gospels. Another group participated in a more interactive, imagination-rich way, similar to the prayer style of Vineyard members. Their recordings invited them to see, hear and touch God in the mind’s eye, to carry on a dialogue with Jesus, to imagine a psalm in every detail.

“I found that after a month of prayer practice, people reported more vivid mental imagery than those who listened to the lectures,” she says. “They used mental imagery more readily and had somewhat better perceptual attention, and they reported more unusual sensory experience. In short, they attended to their inner experience more seriously, and that altered how real that experience became for them.”

July 4, 2012
[comics] The secret hero of Spider-Man … The New York Post profiles Steve Ditko … ‘When The Post knocked on his door, Ditko — who turns out to be a owlish man with wisps of white hair and ink-stained hands, wearing large black glasses and an unbuttoned white shirt with a white tee beneath — pleasantly but firmly declines to answer any questions. Though he did say he reads The Post.’
June 8, 2012
[blogs] Jim Davidson’s Official Blog‘I have put on some replies to my blog on the Jubilee. It would seem that I am once again a racist. I am not. Why do people get so upset? was it because I didn’t like Grace Jones or because I described her as a black woman dressed as bat girl. Well I’am sorry if that caused offence. I really am, but come on, get a life.’
June 4, 2012
[politics] Oh Happy Days: A Personal Recollection Of Working For Jeremy Hunt‘I distinctly recall one presentation after a period of company expansion. All of us, old stagers and new recruits, were gathered together in front of a Powerpoint screen. On it were projected smiling photographs of various members of staff, the heads of sales, IT and so on. The company had recently outsourced much of the data entry work to a centre in India. Jeremy Hunt, smiling away in that peculiarly insincere, head-bobbing way that you’ve all seen on the news, was leading. We gasped in horror as our “new colleagues in India” were introduced: there glowed a slide that featured row after row of the same cartoon clip art Generic Brown Person, sat behind a computer.’
May 28, 2012
[people] Mountaineer laughs off Twitter row with ‘spotty schoolkids’ … the teenage readership of Touching The Void engage with the author on Twitter …

“Your book is shit and you should feel bad,” wrote one. “Three chapters of crawling didn’t inspire me to write about your book in my exam,” confessed another. “It was rather boring really.”

Other correspondents were even more blunt: “YOUR BOOK IS THE REASON MY ENTIRE YEAR WILL FAIL OUR ENGLISH EXAM!!,” screeched one. “LEARN TO WRITE ILLITERATE FOOL!”

May 23, 2012
[life] 25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English‘Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist.’

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