It’s A Vogue Life

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Vogue has long been a large part of my life. Since 2008, I’ve had a renewing subscription, and every month I eagerly await the thump on the mat. A grey, matt plastic package with the glossy fashion magazine lands on the doorstep, and I feel content. I usually, at this point, go to eat my dinner, and read my magazine. I keep every single issue, and for a while, I went through a phase of cutting up front covers and all the ad campaigns from the major fashion houses, sticking all the cuttings onto about sixteen feet worth of old wallpaper backing. It took hours, and they all look fabulous, and I will keep them forever.

To a less discerning reader, Vogue could be seen as just a showcase for the rich and famous; a showcase of wealth and high fashion, something that is unavailable to the general public, especially at this point of recession. But to me, it represents a want to do better; I want to wear Gautier and Stella McCartney, and I want to write about all of these sumptuous, fabulous clothes. I would love to be in the fashion business, but I’m not really sure what I’d like to do; I’m not masochistic enough to be a runway model, and I’m not insane enough to design the clothes. But I do think that I’d be able to do some really cool catwalk shows; I’d love to be the person who coordinates everything, you know; the one with the microphone and clipboard. And being this person means you get some cool freebies, and hopefully, Christian Louboutin shoes.

Another element to Vogue is the rather inspiring journalism; there’s a lot of focus on fashion and it’s relationship with current events, however there are always stories about women who have been, or will be inspiring. This represents an empowerment that isn’t a part of the fundamentalist feminist perception. Instead it is about being able to be a woman, and being able to look beautiful, and being able to indulge yourself with things that are almost beyond dreamlike. In the meantime though, the women of the magazine work, start companies, run charities. They all contribute to the world in some way, and that is what makes them incredibly inspiring.

Last month, an initiative was launched across the franchise to tackle the problems of anorexia, eating disorders, and promoting unrealistic expectations of body image. The major Vogue branches across the world have agreed that no model who appears to have an eating disorder will be used, and alongside this, models will not be allowed to work ridiculous hours, and they will be better protected on photo shoots, and castings. This initiative continues the idea of the empowered woman; they will be obligated to treat models better. Many models study whilst they work and use modelling as a financial bumper, and in the future, especially when their modelling careers are over, they fall back on the education they acquired whilst they were modelling to continue along different career paths.

And as I’m sat here writing this, I’m craving my next ‘hit’. It should be falling onto the doormat any day now.

(:

(1) http://www.designscene.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Lana-Del-Rey-Vogue-UK-March-2012-01.jpg

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Falling In Love: The Writer’s Life

Now, writing a novel has always been a dream of mine. In fact, it’s on my bucket list. I have a plan. And a very detailed character list. And a blow-by-blow plan of every twist and every element in the novel. There is nothing in the novel that isn’t in the plan, and I have begun, this summer to write the chapters. Y’know, the fundamental basis of the novel; the text. And I find it something that it is very hard to do part-time.

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I’m working at the moment, however when I’m not working, at three o’clock in the morning for instance, I find myself perusing the ten thousand words I’ve already written, scratching my head, and wondering how I can improve the novel, the characters, and the flow of the novel. It’s a job I’ve always dreamed of having. Writing, is the only job I can really imagine doing; and thus this very blog, which is almost a year old now, was born.

I can imagine myself, in five years or so, in a house which has an office stuffed full of books, a comfortable desk chair, and my laptop. I could contentedly work there, for ten hours or so a day, writing down all the stuff my rather expansive imagination comes up with. I would blog, at the same time, and perhaps write commissioned pieces, editorials, and do some editing work too. I could travel; laptops are rather portable, as are ideas. Travel produces ideas, and creates different perspectives. One of my biggest ambitions is to spend six months or so, travelling around South America, and writing about it. Combining two of my favourite pastimes, it would be one of the best years of my entire life.

But anyway, I’m working on the novel. It’s gonna be interesting, and has a historical aspect that I like, because I am intensely interested in both of the World Wars, and the impact it had on families and their dynamics. I hope it’ll be something I look back on in a few years, and call it my first good thing; my first successful venture into the world of publishing. I hope that comes true, and I can imagine spending all my free time writing, because that’s all I’ve ever really wanted to be, or do.

There are some problems, with the writer’s life though; the first is that you have no externally imposed structure, and so you have to be well-disciplined, and able to commit yourself to work, even when there are a variety of distractions around you. The second is writer’s block. I’ve had a few weeks recently, where there was nothing I could say. I couldn’t write anything worth a dime. But then I caught a cold, and spent a week at home, watching old episodes of Friends, and all of a sudden, I remembered why I wanted to be an author. And when my new laptop came, and I did the thing, you know, where you sort out all the old files on your computer,I found the drafts and plans I made for a novel, about a year ago. And with nothing else to do with my time, I decided to start writing it again.

And frankly, it’s been the best four days of the summer, so far. Despite the raging cold, and an ability to talk like Darth Vader.

(:

(1) http://cjwriter.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/fountain_pen.jpg?w=600

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War Crimes Convictions? But Katie Price Just Had Her Nose Done…

I have written on the subject of the media before, however in light of a very thought-provoking comment from a fellow blogger, I thought I’d write about media bias. It’s something that affects all of us whether we are aware that it does or not; because our perceptions are shaped by the world we experience, and if there’s something that can change the way we look at the universe, then that is powerful, potent even. As the age-old statement goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Or in this case, television, Twitter, Facebook, and radio, might be more powerful than anything else.

Tony Blair (1)

Media control is an issue often associated with totalitarian regimes, and it is rarely perceived as an actual problem in what we refer to as the ‘civilized’ western world. However, the control that exists is subtle, and because it is subtle, there is little cause for rebellion against it, from most of us. It is widely accepted that newspapers tend to have a political bias, however it is not always obvious that the content of newspapers can, and often is, controlled to a certain extent by the proprietors of such things. Rupert Murdoch for instance, is hailed as the media’s big, bad bully; but on the other hand, who can blame the man for wanting to expand control? Power is a base human instinct.

The conviction of George W. Bush and Tony Blair for their role in the Iraq War (example courtesy of this blogger), was not well publicized in the slightest, despite the fact that they were convicted for the most heinous of crimes; a war crimes conviction is not something that is taken lightly in society, however the lack of news coverage in the aftermath of the aforementioned tribunal is astonishing; other elements of leadership, such as the organisations that underpin government, are often obscured through a sort of smoke and mirrors facade. Issues that should be fundamental in securing voters are often hidden, or at least not advertised. Small articles features on the very back pages of newspapers are often used to line kitty litter boxes, and few people really get to the bottom of difficult political issues on a regular basis.

This is also representative of the new celebrity craze that exists; we idolize the rich and famous, often for having made no significant contributions to society. We follow twitter updates constantly, and seem to associate our interests not in the trivial, per se, but in the more human elements of life. We are concerned with how the other half live. We are far less concerned as a society about the workings of government than we were one hundred years ago, however again we live in a culture that is shaped by the significance of media exposure, and so if all we are exposed to is human interest, then it is much more difficult to form a society that is genuinely concerned about finance. As the Nazi regime, and North Korean dictatorships have discovered, anything can be accomplished through propaganda, and there is always a side of the story that can and will be obscured if it is in aid of ‘the greater good’, or a particular political agenda.

I have included the comment of the aforementioned blogger, which was written in response to one of my earlier posts, because I think it provides a very interesting understanding of ‘the other side’.

(:

Comment

You mention the connection between education and politics/ political leaders.

Here’s a fascinating video about that very subject.

I’m not sure if the national socialist (AKA Nazi) ideology is dead at all. The main difference between the corporate fascism of the WWII Germany and the corporate fascism we see in the ‘west’ today seems to be that in Germany the state took over the corporations. Today the corporations are taking over the state. (My brain is saying “Like, whatever….”)

Don’t forget that the Nazi’s were funded by elite bankers such as the Rockefellers and even George W. Bush’s grandfather Prescott Bush.To understand why they would do this we just need to look above the school history textbook (or mass media/ Hollywood) version of history and realise that the banking and political ‘elite’ sit above nation states and have no particular allegiance to any of them. Not only do they fund and profit financially from war (from human death, let’s be honest), but they use war as a means to affect the geopolitical landscape in order to consolidate their power.

Their motto is ‘Order out of Chaos’. They first create or manipulate the chaos into being (a war, an economic crash, a terrorist act etc) and then while the world is in disarray and the traumatized public are desperate for their leaders to “do something”, it’s much easier for them to steer society towards their desired objectives, towards their new order (towards their ‘new world order’).

The strategy is all around us. David Icke, although much ridiculed for some of his theories, sums it up perfectly in the phrase: Problem – Reaction – Solution.

After the elite funded WWII was over, hundreds of Nazi mind control and rocket scientists were imported to the US, pardoned of their horrific crimes and integrated into the US military industrial complex, including universities. Many of the propulsion scientists (such as Von Braun) ended up working for NASA.

As researchers like bestselling author and journalist Jim Marrs have pointed out, the Nazi’s didn’t really ‘lose’ WW2…. they just had to relocate to somewhere else ie America. In reality, America was hijacked by these globalist elite and their psychopathic frontmen long, long ago. The people who run America today are all CFR members (an organisation well worth researching), including Obama (not that he really runs America – he is just a wall street puppet like most presidents).

It all makes a lot more sense once you realise their agenda for world domination actually requires an end to the ‘superpower’ (ie any nation strong enough to actually stand up to them!). IOW the very people who run America today are intent on destroying it! That is why they are happy to start war after war after war costing trillions …… or sell off all America’s industry to China ….. or destroy the constitution with the Patriot Act and NDAA….all at a time when the economy is so bad even middle class Americans are losing their homes and living in tent cities.

While the Bush family were busy promoting flag waving patriotism in order to send young boys to war (see also: Hitler) they were busy buying up hundred thousand acre ranch in Paraguay sitting on its own aquifer, ready for when America finally collapses and/ or turns into a fully fledged police state / ‘failed state’ under martial law.

Both Bush and Blair were found guilty of war crimes for Iraq under the Geneva Convention in a recent tribunal. And this didn’t even make the mainstream news such is the control the ‘elite’ have over the media these days (just five corporations own nearly all the main media networks in the US…. and the BBC is just as controlled).

Preemptive wars of empire, genocide of innocent civilians, foreign threats and terrorism blown out of all proportion and used to provoke fear and xenophobia, torture, false flag attacks, FEMA concentration camps, the erosion of civil rights, outlawing of basic freedoms and the creation of surveillance society based on fear and perhaps most importantly of all: a complacent, brainwashed public who can’t see it all for what it really is ……. has anything really changed since the days of Nazi Germany?

Have things in fact gotten worse?

Was that OK? … I can rant for longer if you want? ;) (well you’ve got to laugh…)

(:

(1) http://www.topnews.in/files/tony-blair3.jpg

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Cultural Revolutions: Libya

The civil war in Libya seems to be a distant memory to most of us, particularly in the wake of the Syrian uprisings; to the unaffected Western spectator, the Middle East and Africa is just one long civil war. The location may change, however the results remain the same. However, at present, Libya is experiencing a change of such magnitude that it will influence the course of the country, irrevocably. The situation after the war is the one that matters to the Foreign Office; we depend on a country’s stability and post-war success to shape our own policies.

Libya is currently being controlled by the interim government, the NTC (National Transitional Council), who took de facto control in the aftermath of the governmental collapse. The transitional council is formed of anti-Gaddafi revolutionaries, who are currently aiming to restore democratic function to the country, including planning for elections of an official government by the middle of the year.

The man himself. (1)

The presence of this government seems to be merely a formality, however to the people of Libya, it represents freedom that they had previously been without; under Gaddafi’s rule, political parties, and anti-governmental publications were banned, and monitored by the “wishwasha”, or secret police. Today, hundreds of new magazines, pressure groups and welfare organisations have sprung up across the capital. Gaddafi’s slogans and portraits have been removed; the process of “de-nazification” seems to have occurred in Libya, practically overnight.

In situations of massive coup d’états, little consideration is given to the positive elements of a dictatorship; in Gaddafi’s case, it seems only prudent to mention his contribution, to this cultural liberation that Libya seems to be experiencing. Under Gaddafi’s rule, literacy in Libya rose to 82% of the population, which remains to be the highest in Africa. The life expectancy of the average Libyan rose from 57 to 77, as a result of the free healthcare system. These investments were made possible by the exploitation of Libyan oil reserves; in the 1980s, at the height of Gaddafi’s rule, the GDP of the nation was greater than that of Italy.

At this point then, it is possible to argue that although Libya is currently in a state of political disarray, and economically has been severely limited as a result of administrative failure in recent years, Gaddafi did provide his populace with skills that inevitably contributed to their ability to rise against their dictator, and displace him, beginning a cultural revolution and subsequently, a new period in Libyan history. Mass literacy means that people are able to begin writing magazines; the manmade river ensures that they will be alive and healthy enough to be able to protest against their leader. It is impossible to condone Gaddafi’s actions whilst he was in power; the most heinous of which was perhaps mass indoctrination by propaganda. However, despite these misgivings, the people of Libya now have education, which is something that can never be sanctioned by the United Nations, or removed under new political systems.

(:

(1) http://blog.yaaree.com/wp-content/2011/08/gaddafi3.jpg

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Issuu Update

So, in light of my recent, rather ponderous post, I have decided to go full steam ahead in creating a magazine prototype. So far, I have a couple of articles, a photography spread, a few opinion pieces, and two book reviews, with many thanks to http://procrastin8or.wordpress.com/book-reviews/. The minute details are being adjusted day by day; alignment seems to be a massive problem in creating magazine pages. So far, I have nearly fifty pages of creative work, and it’s really starting to come together. Not only is it starting to come together, but I daresay that it’s starting to almost look professional.

Creating the project seems to have been a rather steep learning curve all on its own. Each spread has taught me something new, especially about IT management and using technology in a creative capacity. The use of colour also seems to be of paramount important in creating something, and creating an atmosphere around the text. The colours within photographs consistently have to align with the text, and enhance it; the emphasis has to remain on the creative element of the spread, no matter how gorgeous the font, or font colour may be. I suppose it’s prioritizing; it’s placing emphasis on creativity as opposed to aesthetics.

Equally however, aesthetics is of paramount importance; the magazine should look professional, and clean. I’m seeking a crisp layout; nothing too fussy, consistent, but not mind numbing. The articles for example are all formatted in a similar fashion; the text is the same size and font, however I’ve placed a variety of images on each of the pages to break up the text, and make it more accessible.

These details seem almost irrelevant, however I find them fascinating; the smallest changes seem to be making an enormous difference to the appearance of the publication. I also keep thinking of different elements to look at including at four o’clock in the morning, and then wondering whether or not this would make the magazine seem unfocused. I haven’t quite come up with a defined idea of what I’d like the magazine to be about, at this point; I know that I want it to be creatively focused, intermixed with some serious journalism and photography projects. It’s still very much in the early planning stages, and prototype stage, but making the prototype is confirming my commitment to pursuing a career in the publishing sector. That I think, makes the project worthwhile in its own right.

However, I need some advice; I need a title for the magazine. I started off thinking of “Live Critique”, however I’m not sure it captures the imagination enough, or whether it seems a little dry, and associated with literary theory explicitly enough to be off-putting. Please tell me what you think!

(:

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Censorship versus. Twitter

Twitter is a social medium that most of us in the United Kingdom, and across Europe and America, take for granted. The instantaneous ability to share information, and pass on news, is an everyday occurrence in what we consider to be the developed world. Twitter flashes us tiny snippets of information, as soon as they happen; we can know exactly what our favourite television presenter or band ate for dinner, or bought from the shops.

This is a phenomenon that is vastly underappreciated by many. Many sigh in complete exasperation at this disregard for privacy, and for boundaries; there seems to be very little that cannot be shared with the World Wide Web, the great secret keeper of the ‘free’ world.  Having too much information, in the same way as having too little, can prove detrimental; our bosses can access every facet of our personal lives, if we are indiscreet, and people whom we have never met can access our lives, and invade them, even to the extent that they can injure us. We can feel like we are trapped inside the bubble of the all-knowing; we are constantly having information thrown at us, and we are in turn, constantly sharing information, and often, we are indiscreet, and unaware of the potential dangers of knowing far, far too much.

It's a cute bird, but sounds like a stalker. (1)

However, at this juncture, we can consider what it would be like to know nothing; to be forbidden to access the world, a world that continues to progress indiscriminately before our eyes. This is the case in China, and in nations such as North Korea. The ruling powers in these countries censor every element of their people’s lives; North Korea imposes a complete ban on the internet, for most of its inhabitants; only very senior members of the dictatorship are allowed access. North Korea however takes the concept of knowledge and subverts it in a way that Britain has never done, demonstrating how the manipulation of information is perhaps the most dangerous weapon on the planet.

Kim Jong-Il and his son present the nation with a highly emotive personality cult; many North Koreans believe that their leader had the magical ability to change the weather, and that he was a popular political and cultural figure across the globe. China has recently begun to censor social networking sites that were seen to be discussing banned topics; political censorship was also deemed to be rising in places where political unrest was rife. The inhabitants of these two nations are not exposed to the world in its pure and uncut form; one could ask whether they are more protected from the dangers of social networking and the internet as a result.

Map of North Korea (2)

Censorship across the world is not an automatic process; it is often ideologically driven and dangerous insofar as those that perpetrate the censorship have access to a potentially disastrous amount of information themselves, such as where the internet user lives, their employment status, their marital status. Those who deny others information have such an abundance of it that it is potentially cataclysmic, and enforces a fear culture among the general population. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Here in the United Kingdom then, we are bombarded with information, all the time; via email, Twitter, Facebook; we are constantly asked to process information. However indiscreet and irrelevant some of this information is, we still have access to it; we still have the ability to discuss whatever it is we wish to, without fear of reprimands, fines, or even death. We are allowed to protest against the bills we don’t want passed, and we are allowed to petition for meetings with senior government officials. These changes have the potential to happen on the basis that we have the ability to access relevant services and legislations that will make change happen; censorship not only denies the discussion of change, but also denies the protestor access to the legislation that would help them.

Information can be tedious, it can be irritating; but this ‘irritating’ environment allows the world to progress; often too quickly, but it manages to progress regardless of whether the government approves of it or not. The significance of democracy is represented in the power of the Twitter network; the power of the pen is no longer the dominant, unquestionable source of power. Now the power of Twitter, and social networking generally, outweighs the power of the newspaper, of the letter, and of the written word altogether.

(:

Further Reading

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17313793

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/19/kim-jong-il

(1) http://tweepi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/t12.jpg

(2) http://images.nationmaster.com/images/motw/middle_east_and_asia/north_korea.jpg

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To Issuu or Not to Issuu. That Is the Question.

My flatmate introduced me to a website yesterday, called Issuu. I had been previously unaware of its existence, however this morning I created an account, and watched explanatory videos. It would seem that you can create an online magazine, or publish your work as though it were a glossy magazine. Now, I would love a career in publishing one day, and so this seems like a wonderful place to start. I have the resources to begin, but I don’t think I could write an online magazine entirely on my own. So I think I’m going to have to enlist some help.

I thought firstly, I could take a selection of previous posts, and tweak them, to make them into viable magazine articles, and collaborate with photographers at my university for the photo-shopping, and making things look pretty. However, I was wondering if I could find other contributors, around university and amongst the blogging community, who might like to be a part of an online magazine.

Pretty glossy magazines. (1)

If I were to try to jump-start a magazine, I’d take a creative focus; photography, and journalism, perhaps with columnists. I’d attempt to publish initially every three months. I’d like to include reviews on books, films, and music. I’d like to include three or four articles on current events, and I’d also like a photography project in there too. I don’t mind what kind of photography project; anything from fashion journalism, to personal projects. But I think I’d like to include an ‘editor’s letter’ too, and perhaps a theme per issue. The fist issue could be devoted to “Beginnings”; this covers a rather wide scope for topics. I think the idea of creating a ‘glossy’ magazine cost effectively also rather appeals to me. I’d like to be a part of paper publishing too one day, but one step at a time…

There are also innumerable benefits for publishing online; sharing, and sharing the rights to works, is made much simpler when using digital files, and work can be distributed among a much wider readership. Essentially here, I’d try to take some of my blogging experience, and my university experience, and make it more aesthetically pleasing and sophisticated, and pop it up online. I suspect that without the publishing costs, and therefore buying costs, people would be much more willing to read it; and any exposure for authors is exposure. It would be rather an experimental venture, but it could be off the ground reasonably quickly due to our boundless technological advances, and invaluable, curriculum vitae worthy experience too. I suppose there’s an element of coordination and management to be considered.

So, I need some ideas; anyone with experience, or anyone with a pointer to give to me, I’d be more than happy to listen to your suggestions!

(:

(1) http://c1blogsustainablogorg.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/files/2011/08/glossy-magazines.jpg

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Oh, What It Would Have Been…

The best news arrived on my twitter feed today: the Titanic movie, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, is being relaunched in April. In 3D. I read this wonderful nugget of information and then starting jumping up and down, because I love that film. Honestly. I get completely caught up in the sentimentality and the opulence, and start wondering whether I would have done well in the aristocracy, being Rose. I very much doubt it however; I don’t like corsets, and am rather comfortable in track suit bottoms, and the dress code would probably prove beyond my tolerance. I think I just quite like the idea of being involved in such a romantic situation.

It wasn’t really romantic, of course, because it didn’t happen in real life. However for one hundred and ninety-four minutes, it seems very realistic. The special effects are remarkable; the ship seems completely real, and even to the most critical film buff, it has some value. It even contains a degree of educational value; the unsinkable Molly Brown was indeed aboard the RMS Titanic, and the crew as stated in the film were largely a part of the create tragedy. I love true stories; and whilst Jack and Rose didn’t really exist, the ship did, and I imagine there were some interesting affairs and entanglements aboard.

So, to belong to the aristocracy; it’d certainly be wonderful to experience if even for a day, because we’d all love to be the elite; not to simply examine them, and watch them like vultures, but to be them: to be the people who are the most talked about in history. I think some of the facets of this world would be luxurious beyond any kind of modern comprehension; for example, dressing in magnificent gowns for dinner, or sailing first class across the world. Being painted, being given extraordinarily extravagant gifts, dancing. That would be fantastic. But, I think only for a week.

As a student of course, I also indulge in the above; I go dancing regularly, and I have a fantastic dressing gown that I often sport in the kitchen whilst I’m making my tea. I also receive extravagant gifts, for example, a huge bar of Dairy Milk, or a nice bottle of wine. But somehow, I think the chasm between the old world of decadence is rather far removed from the one I experience, or in fact the one that any modern person can experience. The old world, although highly romanticized, was wonderfully decadent; it was almost a bottomless pit of beauty and luxury. So much so that it was unsustainable perhaps, and of course it had its flaws; it was horrendously political, and expectations preceded personalities. But undeniably, it would have been a wonderful playground to explore for a month or so.

(:

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On Twitter: For the Technologically Bemused

So it’s been a little while since I joined the twitter community, and I can honestly say that I don’t think it’s really enriched my life yet. I have developed a new working knowledge of what Stephen Fry’s imaginary wife feels like, and what she has for dinner, but nothing of any real note. It’s incredibly frustrating; I thought it was going to be a way to access a media waterhole, a way to promote this blog, and to establish an internet presence. And bizarrely enough, my strange little webpage has far more followers than my humble twitter account.

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Part of the problem might be however that I’m not very good at tweeting. I don’t understand the point of it, and I never know what would make an entertaining tweet, given you’re only allowed one hundred and sixty characters. I can’t imagine how a person manages to get an interesting, engaging piece of information into such a small space. Also, I never know what people are interested in; I could say, for instance, that I’m having roasted butternut squash for dinner, but honestly, who really cares? Aside from being able to update people instantaneously about what’s going on in your life, I see no real benefit. I imagine you must need friends who also tweet. I have no such friends, or people who would even contemplate doing so.

Twitter has essentially replaced the BBC when it comes to announcing ground breaking news, however I tend to be the last to know everything. The nature of the website suggests that you’d have to be constantly looking at it, updating and retweeting (also, what is the point of “retweeting”? Someone has already mentioned it…) tweets. I get bored, log off, and come back a day later with absolutely no idea of what I’ve missed. And surely the point of twitter is that you miss out on absolutely nothing. Including all your friend’s bathroom breaks, meal choices, and romantic engagements. One would almost start to think that there is no privacy in the world. Not even in waste expulsion.

The only reason I really acquired twitter was to, as I mentioned above, promote myself; I’m not sure if this particular endeavour is really paying off yet, or maybe I simply have to give it time. I wonder if anyone else has had experiences of twitter lately, and are you as bemused as myself by the whole affair?

(:

(1) http://www.whatralphknows.com/WindowsLiveWriter/FunnyTwitterCartoon_13F7F/twitter%20cartoon_thumb.jpg

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Dorian and I? We Had a Fantastic Afternoon…

This afternoon, I sat down and watched the adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, starring Colin Firth and Rebecca Hall. And I’ve never enjoyed a film adaptation of a novel so much in my life. Usually, I tend to rebel against them; I find them slightly abhorrent, and feel as though they potentially corrupt the value of the text itself. And whilst the novel shows some differences, the theme and concept remains completely the same. The essence of the text has been preserved; possibly the mark of some of the very best adaptations.

The adaptation very accurately and rather shockingly portrays the idea of the soul being revealed in a painting, a visual medium; the graphic image of the maggots quite literally eating away at the portrayal of the soul is a repulsive image. As humans, we reject the idea of decay, because we seek to survive and preserve. The brutality of Dorian Gray’s character as a result of impulse as portrayed in the film also represents the concept of excess, an almost epidemic problem in Wilde’s own lifetime. The sexual excesses in which Dorian indulges represents not necessarily the corruption of an entire era, but the effect these excesses have on Dorian. The effect on his psyche is spectacular; his aversion to the idea of multiple partner experiences soon changes to an insatiable appetite for every sexual indulgence possible; from the sadomasochistic, to the bi-sexual.

Dorian's first visit to the Opium Den. (1)

Decadence appeals to my frugal sense of the self because it is a luxury I lack both as a student, and as a person who works, and who realises the value of money. To be allowed a window into this world of unimaginable excess is therefore highly appealing, and Wilde as an author created small moments of complete, unrestrained indulgence for a reader, with an almost unrivalled level of skill. As a Victorian, he escaped from the restrained morality dictated by Christianity and entered a hitherto unexplored arena, notably examining the right of man to engage in homosexual activity without legal condemnation. Wilde’s trial was less focussed on condemning him for a clearly defined breach of legality; instead, the trial sought to persecute a lifestyle, instead of one element of a person’s possible activities.

The adaptation not only focussed on the destruction of Dorian’s soul, sacrificed on the altar of beauty, but also the influence of Lord Henry, the narcissistic uncle figure who first introduces the young man to the carnal and chemical pleasures of the world has to offer, most strikingly in the first visit to the opium den. The Lord himself dreams of a lifestyle of profound excess, however never quite has the courage to complete the dream; perhaps he has a conscience that is unrealised, and perhaps he cannot fathom exposing his soul to such complete tyranny; for those who harbour superstitions within themselves, it is simply an impossible notion to risk eternal damnation to such a degree as Dorian does. Dorian however lacks one of the fundamental elements of existence, in that he has no boundaries; no real influence telling him where he ought to draw the line, and to this end, he sacrifices his soul on the altar of beauty and physical pleasure.

I would recommend watching the film alongside reading the novel; it certainly brings to light some of the more subtle ideas of the novel and emphasises the value of aesthetic beauty in relation to the soul. Not only is the novel spectacularly on form, the lighting and scene cuts add a great deal of atmosphere to proceedings. I hope you enjoy it!

(1) http://th07.deviantart.net/fs71/PRE/i/2010/163/b/b/The_Opium_Den_by_FroschiLove.png

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