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Category Archive: Life

Jun 04 2014

Foreword: A memoir in a month, and a coming out story you’ve never heard before

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If you want the wholesome version of this, there isn’t one. This isn’t a coming out story like on TV, and it won’t make allies feel pleased with themselves.

May 12 2014

Why you won’t catch me mocking ‘think-pieces’

In 1847 the Reverend John MacDonald, missionary of the Free Church of Scotland in Calcutta, succumbed to cholera. A tract in his name nevertheless appeared nine years later, titled ‘The theatre: fourteen reasons why we should not go to it’. MacDonald’s beliefs didn’t outlive him long, but his style survives: were he with us today, …

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Apr 28 2014

Thank you for donating

On Friday I asked readers of this blog to support it through donations – partly to keep writing (blogging especially) viable for me and partly to make sure the month’s rent was paid. I’ve received enough, despite the unexpected needed for a new laptop cord, to make the latter issue much less pressing. A world of …

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Apr 25 2014

Please donate to support this blog

Update. This January, I wrote a piece for AlterNet on how the secular community could help the less well-off in its ranks participate. The piece, to my delight, was well received. (I later based a talk on it.) I’ve written other godless pieces, since starting this blog last August, that people appear to have liked: …

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Apr 24 2014

Bisexuality’s supposed ease: another letter to Dan Savage

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April 6’s post, taking to task the warping of a two-syllable mumble by Tom Daley, did quite well. Those who shared it included Dan Savage at the Stranger, who’d joined the chorus hailing him as a former fake bisexual. ‘Daley will never have a sexual relationship with a woman again,’ Andrew Sullivan had written months …

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Mar 06 2014

How filesharing in Germany cost me $3000

At my new address, the scientist – passive-aggressively polite – told me I had to sign a retroactive rental contract. This could easily have been done by email — when he asked to meet, I should have smelled a rat, but obliged outside a supermarket in November, not stopping to wonder why both ex-flatmates turned …

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Mar 03 2014

Hunger games: food, money and how I grew up feeling fat

Twice in my life, I’ve been a bit rotund. Both times, it was a common enough experience. At eleven I gorged on pizza, chocolate bars and caramel ice creams, more available at secondary school than in our previously welfare-dependent house, and stayed a slightly tubby teenager till added height changed my proportions, though it may …

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Dec 24 2013

Class dismissed: how I went from homelessness to Oxford, and what Richard Dawkins has nightmares about

The hatred stirred in me by privilege prompts even now a hot, breathless nausea.

Sep 25 2013

‘What’s truth got to do with it?’ On Bennett’s History Boys and contrarianism

‘So,’ asks antagonistic teacher Irwin in The History Boys, ‘our overall conclusion is that the origins of the Second War lie in the unsatisfactory outcome of the First?’ Yes say his students, hearts set on a place at Oxbridge. ‘First class. Bristol welcomes you with open arms. Manchester longs to have you. You can walk into …

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Sep 23 2013

Extendable tethers: skeptidrama and a lesson from Project Runway

If you haven’t read Greta Christina’s thoughtful, extrapolative recaps of Project Runway, the U.S. fashion-based reality series, you should – whether or not you’re a follower of fashion, talent shows or trash culture at large. Rifling through someone’s rubbish bins, as the tabloid press’s urban foxes will confirm, can be the fastest means of learning sordid …

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