Author Archives: shirty

Annie Glenn

After this year of “celebrity rapture”, as one friend called it, hearing of a 90 year old man’s slipping out of existence registers little more than a vale, but since the man in question was the lovely John Glenn, my second thought was of his wife. I knew of her because of The Right Stuff, […]

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Feathery Dinosaur

2016 has been a total shitshow, but at the very least we end the year with one shining bright spot: Dinosaurs were once fuzzy. Day made! The rare specimen provides new insights into how feathers came to be Source: This 99-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Tail Trapped in Amber Hints at Feather Evolution | Smart News | Smithsonian

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God Save the Free

I’m a British citizen but don’t have much patriotic devotion to the country. Unless, of course, you count its commitment to culture and the arts. The decision to make museums and galleries free was a wonderful one, and much appreciated. Wish more countries would follow suit. Fifteen years ago today National Museums around the country […]

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Michael Dean | Turner Prize 2016

He didn’t win the Turner Prize, but all the press around him has been a wonderful way to spend time (virtually) with my friend Michael. So great to see someone who has worked so hard for so long finally get the recognition and the success he’s due. Source: Michael Dean | Turner Prize 2016 | […]

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British Humour

I’m a dual citizen, but the only time I ever feel truly British is when I see something like this (the replies, that is – not the hateful bile that inspired them).

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Flogsta Scream

File under: Local traditions. Every evening at approximately 10 p.m., the “Flogsta scream” (Flogstavrålet in Swedish) may be heard, when students individually or collectively let out screams and howls from windows, balconies and roof tops. According to Uppsala University, the collective screaming acts as “a much needed safety valve” and “a cry of angst” for […]

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Trevor Noah on Trump’s victory

We’ve reached a point where the comedians have become sombre. America has some rough seas ahead of it.

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The Remarkable History Of The Humble Pencil

Someone at NPR has stumbled upon my favourite Wikipedia page: The Pencil. Believe it or not, it’s full of geopolitics, historical significance, hilarious facts, and so many famous names-cum-art-brands that it reads like fan fiction. The classroom writing implement has roots in exploding stars, the French Revolution, the British crown jewels and Walden Pond. Source: […]

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Suffragette Sisterhood

This election has been a mess, but I’m hoping against hope that Hillary wins tonight. Stories like this move me to tears, and give me such hope for the future. For the first time in American history, a woman has been nominated by a major party and stands a real chance of becoming our next […]

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American Ulysses

There’s a new Grant biography for us all to enjoy. American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant is here reviewed very favourably by the Chicago Tribune. Given the fuss and fury of this year’s election campaign, it might be nice to spend 850 pages immersed in the company of a genuinely nice man. (Though […]

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