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Showing posts from April, 2011

Top 3 Significant Royal Weddings in English History

Congrats to Wills & Kate, very happy for them both! By the time the confetti has been swept from the Mall this will have probably been the biggest TV event in history - a day where we throw off the lingering heaviness of post colonial shame & remember how to be Great Britain once again. A day where we suddenly feel confident in celebrating our identity in one giant street party before the world's eyes. A day where our ever shrinking planet shares in a truly global, tribal event.

So it is a genuinely significant day for us all, not least the happy couple. Whilst Wills & Kate may wake up tomorrow to the realisation that their ascension to the throne may take another 40 plus years, we can take a look at the top 3 Royal marriages which have had true & lasting significance.

In reverse order!

3/ William & Mary
William, Prince of Orange, married Mary Stuart on 4th Nov 1677. The Dutch Stadtholder was actually marrying his first cousin, & she just happened to be the da…

Grace Identity

Identity theft is big business. If you are looking to diversify as a criminal mastermind into a growing market - ID theft is the next big thing! The UK government estimate the cost to our economy from this kind of 'victimless' crime is over £1.2 billion a year. The real figure is probably higher with so many smaller crimes remaining unreported. No wonder Ministers have contemplated allocating budgets they don't really have to bring in national ID cards.

What is it about our identity that is so important, so precious? The age old philosophical question, 'Who am I?' has been debated over the generations by all the great minds. A Google search on that phrase today will necessitate you trawling through a mammoth 15,300,000 hits. Last year the Science Museum in London opened a permanent interactive exhibition dedicated to the question 'Who am I?' Or if you want to explore lower culture, check out Jackie Chan's 1998 movie classic of the same name!

In the script…

Dead works, Damien Hirst & the macabre scent of formaldehyde

I was drawn & repelled in equal measure by the various animal body parts that used to be kept suspended in big dusty jars of formaldehyde on the high shelf in our biology lab at school - a jar of eyes bobbing around as you took it down & shook it like a snow globe had an endless, macabre fascination value for this schoolboy.

Damien Hirst must have seen a gap in the market. His horrible, provocative art collections of entire cows & other animal parts in formaldehyde has sold at auction for over £100 million. Essentially a collection of bits stolen from my school biology lab, this is quite a feat to pull off. I wish I had thought of it first instead of limiting myself to stealing the cow eyeballs one at a time to put in Toby Pass's lunch box!

This trade in literal dead works also blights the contemporary church today. We like to think that we are safe from dead religion & ritual - These old ways are the preserve of the tired denominations, those who display their form…

No vintage classics: 5 books you must invest in!

There has been a lot of noise over the last week in blogs & chatrooms about the Orange Inheritance prize for vintage classic literature. In short, which book out of all the millions written would you pass down to the next generation? There wasn’t much on the list that took my fancy, Thomas Hardy apart.

The problem with all these 'Desert Island discs' moments is our inherent human dishonesty, allied with our desperate need to impress people. When asked which book has changed our lives, we lie in the face of the uber cool culture police & spout a list of books we feel we ought to read, or at least would feel good about being run over with it open on our kindle! The harsh reality is that most of the really cool stuff in films, music, books & popular culture generally is (say it quietly) a little bit boring!

Have you noticed all those facebook apps that do the rounds asking you how many of the top 100 books or films you have read or seen? They fall into the same trap – …