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The teeming mass of the working class…

“I didn’t want to be in the teeming mass of the working class… I didn’t want to live and die in the same place with only a week at the seaside in between. I dreamed of escape – but what is terrible about industrialisation is that it makes escape necessary. In a system that generates masses, individualism is the only way out. But then what happens to community – to society?”

Jeanette Winterson – Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?


365/17. Daily notes from the City of Culture.

Worth remembering, in the clamour for tickets…

“I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding. We grasp at everything, but catch nothing except wind.”

Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

City of vultures…

365/17. Daily notes from the City of Culture.

“You ever get the feeling the world’s filling up with bastards? I do. What I want to know is what happens when all the bastards run out of people to crap on? What happens when all that’s left in the world is bastards? . .”

William Hoffman – A Place For My Head

#challengehull week 3…

365/17. Daily notes from the City of Culture.

Hull 2017 have teamed up with 64 Million Artists and community groups and organisations across Hull to set a weekly creative challenge to encourage everyone in the city to try something new.

This week’s challenge, courtesy of Hull WI – Apple Crumble and Stitch, is to ‘create an inspiring message’. So, in the true spirit of cultural theft, I’ve taken the important and inspiring Japanese idiomatic phrase (which sits atop this very site) and expanded my thoughts on it a little.

A creative life doesn’t take you down a linear path. There are lots of obstacles to climb over, lots of doors to break down and walls to smash through. You’ll be asked to make compromises. Inevitably there are going to be setbacks and rejections. Well fuck that. What’s important is how you channel your energy. You get knocked down, you make sure you get back up, kicking and screaming. It’s all worth fighting for. If you get knocked down seven times, be the one that gets up eight. Keep going, never give up. You’ve got something unique to say, it’s worth saying and that’s the only thing that matters;. nana karobi ya oki 七転び八起き


To the heart…

“And there are plays – and books and songs and poems and dances – that are perhaps upsetting or intricate or unusual, that leave you unsure, but which you think about perhaps the next day, and perhaps for a week, and perhaps for the rest of your life.

Because they aren’t clean, they aren’t neat, but there’s something in them that comes from the heart, and, so, goes to the heart.

What comes from the head is perceived by the audience, the child, the electorate, as manipulative. And we may succumb to the manipulative for a moment because it makes us feel good to side with the powerful. But finally we understand we’re being manipulated. And we resent it.

Tragedy is a celebration not of our eventual triumph but of the truth – it is not a victory but a resignation. Much of its calmative power comes, again, from that operation described by Shakespeare: when remedy is exhausted, so is grief.”

David Mamet – Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama

For what it’s worth…

As someone who wrangled with whatever it is I wanted to be for longer than is sensible, I think this F Scott Fitzgerald quote is beautiful.

Never Too Late quote by F Scott Fitzgerald

Via @ElephantEnlightenedSociety


Struggling with words these days. Had a good natter about it last night.  I think owning a typewriter might help. We’ll see.

“Words… They’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good any more… I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.”

Tom Stoppard – The Real Thing

A total whatever…

“Funny how ye tell people a story to make a point and ye fail, ye fail, a total disaster. Not only do ye no make yer point it winds up the exact fucking opposite man, the exact fucking opposite. That isnay a misunderstanding it’s a total whatever.”

“Ninety-nine per cent of traditional English literature concerns people who never have to worry about money at all. We always seem to be watching or reading about emotional crises among folk who live in a world of great fortune both in matters of luck and money; stories and fantasies about rock stars and film stars, sporting millionaires and models; jet-setting members of the aristocracy and international financiers.”

James Kelman


“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

Kurt Vonnegut – If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young

“In strange and uncertain times such as those we are living in, sometimes a reasonable person might despair. But hope is unreasonable and love is greater even than this. May we trust the inexpressible benevolence of the creative impulse.”

Robert Fripp

Again and again…

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”

Goethe – Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship

“If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful, before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don’t work out the way you want, hold your head up high and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!”

Sarah Dessen – Keeping the Moon

“How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to their minds the events of the whole day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day.”

Anne Frank