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Impressions of Poverty

Our national epic has yet to be written – James Joyce

If you’ve ever listened to the song Running to Stand Still from U2’s Joshua Tree album you will have heard about the Irish town of Ballymun in the lyric “I see seven towers but I only see one way out.” Located on the northern periphery of Dublin city, Ballymun was at one time Ireland’s largest and – at least as much as my own experience has led me to hold – most unattractive public housing estate. 3,383 more words


On Writing Race

A lot of us here when asked to talk about race are most comfortable, or least uncomfortable, talking about it in the language of scandal. It’s so satisfying, so clear, so easy.

1,125 more words

The Surveillance Elephant in the Room...

Yesterday’s decision in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in what has been dubbed the ‘Europe vs Facebook’ case was, as the… 1,360 more words

Safe Harbor

One Fun Game

Sometimes it feels like there’s a trembling child inside me, even though I see a bearded man staring back at me from the mirror these days. 784 more words


The Unrighteousness of Fat

I’m fat. Technically, more accurately, I’m morbidly obese. But people don’t usually like technical, so I’m fat.

Being fat is hard in our society. Being fat and Mormon is even harder. 708 more words


How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb

I took a pregnancy test on the morning of May 14th, my husband’s birthday. I’d had a feeling about it and I thought it would be a nice surprise. 1,353 more words


Redrawing the Margins: Debating the Legalization of Prostitution

Amnesty International’s recent decision to support the legalization of sex work is a controversial one. The group reasoned that because these individuals lived outside of a licit society, they were more vulnerable to physical abuse: “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse.” In order to bring these men and women out of the shadow economy and into the light, Amnesty International has supported the call for “consensual sex work” to be made legal in order that workers may be more legally protected from trafficking, violence, and exploitation. 893 more words


Dear Congress - Sincerely, A Mass Shooting Survivor

Dear Congress,

I write you today upon hearing the grave news that another heinous mass shooting has happened, this time in Roseburg, Oregon. We learned today that at least 10 people have lost their lives, and at least 7 have been injured. 958 more words


How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Celebrate Bakra Eid In America

I can’t slaughter a goat but I can roast a leg of lamb.

Yael Malka/ Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Last year, around this time, I was struggling. 696 more words


Savage Shapes

by Eleanor Adair

I’ve always been interested in how self-consciousness alters our identity, so my art naturally becomes a way of exploring the different ways we define ourselves through others. 281 more words

Figurative Art

Love and Other Experiments

By Billy-Ray Belcourt

1. He told me he was into natives, but he couldn’t love the traumas hidden in my breathing.

2. How do you tell a ghost that it’s already dead, that its body is a fairy tale you stopped reading a long time ago? 214 more words

Creative Writing

Filling In the Blanks

Earlier this week, Ryan Adams released an album in which he covers every song, in order, from Taylor Swift’s 1989. It’s a project that has inspired a fair amount of media bemusement, and although Adams explains his thought process in detail in… 1,075 more words

Ryan Adams

Breaks, Flares, and Blockades

Photograph: courtesy of Camps Breakerz

Ahmed Ghraiz is wrapped up warmly against the cold. It’s dark inside the dance centre in which he sits, the occasional teenage voice echoing loudly in the background. 2,057 more words


Interview: Jessie Hartland and Telling the Story of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, we feel we know him and yet he is something of a mystery and there is an enormous amount to cover. Jessie Hartland has created an illustrated work, a “graphic biography,” that brings the public figure down to a human scale: “Steve Jobs: Insanely Great,” published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. 1,845 more words


Staying Put

There was in the eyes a look of anticipation and joy, a far-off look that sought the horizon; one often sees it in seafaring families, inherited by boys and girls alike from men who spend their lives at sea, and are always watching for distant sails or the first loom of the land. 1,953 more words

Personal Essay

Three Years

I’m perched on a paint-splattered stool, located downstage right, in a darkened forty-seat theatre. We’re well into the second act of Barenaked Angels, a show that’s a sort of hybrid between solo performance and an ensemble piece (I wrote about it… 1,107 more words


An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life

To The Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life,

I can’t refer to you by name because I never actually met you. But the nurses have assured me you are indeed real, and a very busy, trust-funded, white man. 1,129 more words


Why I Stand By Planned Parenthood

I was sixteen and in love for the first time.

After months of heated groping, my high school boyfriend and I wanted to go all the way. 956 more words

Reproductive Rights

The Country And The Corbyn (after A.A. Milne)

There once was a country which had at its head

The Conservatives (blue) or the Labourites (red)

And all the day long we’d be told what to do… 544 more words

UK Politics

What Happened to the Cameroonian Poet Who Fell in Love?

What Happened to the Cameroonian Poet Who Fell in Love?

by Viola Allo


I am going to become a cliché.

Going to become Viola The Cliché. 349 more words


House Swap

So for today’s part of the tour, the first stop is Plymouth, Devon, UK, at Guest Doodlewasher Sarah Smalldon’s home. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you might remember that Sarah and I drew each other’s dogs awhile back ( 442 more words

Urban Sketching

The Sum of a Place: Gwent Levels

“They always say the best way to see the Gwent Levels is with a microscope or a helicopter.” I was walking through the stunning June meadows and dense willow copses of… 3,167 more words


Our Old Dog

It’s not fair to write about a dying dog. Just those last two words are enough. Automatic tears. So I understand if you stop here. But I need to say a few words about our old dog Fred. 3,294 more words


Chronopolis: Detroit's Time Zones

In a peculiar instance of art imitating life, I happened to read J. G. Ballard’s 1960 short story ‘Chronopolis’ during a recent stay in Detroit. In Ballard’s tale, set in a future city (the Chronopolis of the title), the population have completely abandoned the notion of sequential time, resulting in a city that is ‘effectively an enormous ring, five miles in width, encircling a vast dead centre forty or fifty miles in diameter.’ Hiding his own interest in the now forbidden timepieces of his ancestors, the central character Conrad sets off on a journey into this abandoned city, meeting the renegade Marshall, and restarting the city’s clocks once again. 612 more words


Protests, Unrest & Flares: '70s Fashion Then and Now

It’s safe to say that the 70s are having a moment. You can barely turn your head without catching sight of wide legged trousers, metallic, jumpsuits or platform shoes – and any Pinterest fiend will be able to tell you that even in the world of interior trends, old-school crafts like macramé and crochet are having a revival too. 1,236 more words


The Damnation of Memory

In recent days, we have seen fresh examples of a war against memory in the Middle East, waged by the Islamist organisation, ISIS. In late-February, videos surfaced depicting the destruction ancient Assyrian cultural artefacts in a Mosul museum (the video… 1,006 more words