Hacked up: three books you should read

For some reason, now it’s an actual thing that happens, hacking doesn’t seem to make much of an appearance in novels these days. The new book to augment Stieg Larsson’s original trilogy, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, is out at the end of the month, but so far, now Anonymous are busy tip-tapping away on their mac books, there’s been little else new in the genre. It seems like the genre had its heyday in the 90s and early 00s. Perhaps the reality of hacking isn’t as cool and romantic as it seemed when it was a distant possibility … Continue reading Hacked up: three books you should read

Cult authors, sci-fi and snobs

Who gets to choose what’s worthy of being considered serious art when it comes to writing? And why is literature so much worse at recognising really great works that just happen to fall into a genre category? Film doesn’t have this problem; there are tons of sci-fi films that are widely recognised as works of art, real slices of celluloid genius. It doesn’t seem to work the same for books; you don’t get a sci-fi author winning, or even nominated for, the Booker, at least not often. You might get a book from a more mainstream literary author, like Margaret … Continue reading Cult authors, sci-fi and snobs

Despicable art: shock therapy for the soul?

John Waters, the people’s pervert, self declared “filth elder” and director of Hairspray, Pink Flamingoes and Serial Mom, among lots of other weird and disturbing films, is an ambassador for the shocking in art and cinema. The first London exhibition of his art is on at the Sprüth Magers gallery at the moment, and he recently gave the commencement address at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) – seriously, watch it. It’s amazing. Waters has, throughout his career, tried to shock people. He wants to be despised, hated, vilified. In his speech to the graduates at RISD, he told … Continue reading Despicable art: shock therapy for the soul?

Failsafe: writing and rejection

I’m not very good at self-motivation (I know, imagine). Even when I want to do something if it’s a bit hard, I give up. It’s laziness and privilege I guess. I’m not going to starve so why try harder than I have to? It’s one of my many character flaws (oh there are so many to choose from) but it’s easily the one that I dislike the most. I mean, I have evidence that doing stuff makes me happier. I have actually done some stuff in my life, not much worth talking about or particularly special, but even these relatively … Continue reading Failsafe: writing and rejection

Stories, magic and fairytales – Wendy Ramshaw’s Room of Dreams – review

Inspired by fairytales and other magical stories, Wendy Ramshaw’s Room of Dreams is on at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until May next year. There’s something about fairytales that means they seem to remain relevant. Even when the most magical thing you come across in your daily life is the 30 day ab-challenge on BuzzFeed (seriously, 30 days? A few sits up? Rock hard, flat stomach at the end of it? It’s got to be bloody magic), fairytales still have the power to bewitch us. Who doesn’t want to believe in magic? And why shouldn’t we? If something amazing happens, … Continue reading Stories, magic and fairytales – Wendy Ramshaw’s Room of Dreams – review