Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Sweater

This is a song by Meryn Cadell I caught on the radio while driving in the States about a year ago and I only now found the video online. Enjoy and follow!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Little Bo Peep

This is Phillip Roebuck, a real one-man-band...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Tyrannosaurus Cash

I feel something should be done with the monetary system, and not just in the UK, but everywhere in the world where paying by card and doing Internet transactions is common place. Retailers and other commercial businesses should allow more freedom of use of bank cards and online payments. Fees for spending amounts smaller than £5 in shops and £10 in bars should be eliminated - this would allow more spending freedom for the consumers and eventually more profits for businesses. All this would increase the velocity of the circulation of money and who knows, maybe eventually even bring down the shopping prices.

The history of people fiddling with the idea of having cards as media of payment goes back to the early 1900s. The first credit cards as we know them were introduced in 1966 and since then they've become a favored form of payment for much of the population. The digital age is here in so many ways, so what's keeping a wide-spread standardization of payments from happening? Does it really cost so much to the retailers to carry out the card transactions? I paid a 50 pence extra charge on a £3 purchase for using my card yesterday, which makes the fee over 15% of the entire purchase. As far as the pure transaction costs for banks, they are supposed to be a relatively small fixed percentage of the purchase, so to me it seems like the fixed fees applied in bars and shops are there not just to cover the transaction costs, but also to discourage the use of cards. Why does this take place? The bank charges, exactly as they are, should be transferred to the consumers instead of influencing the policies of retailers. By the way, Sweden supposedly found a way to make this all work.

If one was to push this issue further, why not think of abolishing cash and introducing a strictly card-only system? This would allow more transparency of transactions and eliminate a lot of ways in which cash is misused, but now this is probably a too-extreme measure. What can I say, I can't wait for tomorrow.

Lykke Li

Here's Lykke Li, a young Swedish singer I was recently introduced to. Disregard the videos (I don't think they're that good) and get into the tunes...

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Just for fun

Check out the Sartorialist, a blog published by a guy shooting random people with some taste in what they wear in the streets of NYC and other locations around the world. Fashion is nothing, style everything.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Bruno, My Love

We say it's hard to pick our favorite favorites when it comes to many things, be it friends, countries, or pieces of art. Despite the wealth of choice of literature available and the intense differences between many a writers, I have come to a place where I can not only appreciate, but truly adore a writer.

Bruno Schulz was a Polish Jew, born in 1892 is a small down of Drohobycz in Galicia. Apart from creating drawings and a few magnificent pieces of writing, his life mostly revolved around teaching drawing and handicraft in a small-town Polish school. He was a man of a feeble health and an almost incurable state of self-perceived inferiority and insecurity. His life was an endless conflict between providing financial support for his extended family and carving out moments of freedom in which he was most creative. His life ended in 1942, when he was shot dead by a Gestapo officer in a street of his home town.

Despite not being widely known on an international scale, Bruno Schulz is regarded as one of the greatest Polish-language stylists of the 20th century. The quotation below referring to Jacob, Bruno's father, could easily be pointed at the writer himself.

It is worth noting how, in contact with that unusual man, all things retreated, as it were, to the root of their being, rebuilt their phenomenon down to the metaphysical core — they returned to their primordial idea, only to betray it at that point and lurch into those dubious, daring and equivocal regions which I shall here succinctly call the Regions of the Great Heresy.

Descriptive to the point of transcending the nature of objects and states presented, Bruno Schulz's writings are characterised by a language of incredible depth and color. The simplicity of the prose's content is transformed, liquefied, and brought to its very essence in light of the language used to portray it.

But even further from the light there were cats. Their perfection was alarming. Locked up in the precision and meticulousness of their bodies, they knew neither deviation nor error. They sank for a moment into the depths of themselves, to the bottom of their being, then they froze in their soft fur and grew menacingly and ceremonially serious, while their eyes grew as round as moons, soaking up the view into their fiery craters. But a moment later, cast out to the edge, to their surface, they yawned in their nihility, disappointed and without illusions.

Due to his entrapment with teaching and poor health, and above all, lack of free time, the body of his most popular written work includes only two collections of short stories: The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. In 1975 a collection of Schulz's letters was published in Polish as The Book of Letters. Several works have been lost or burned, including some short stories from the early 1940s that the author had sent to be published in magazines, and his final unfinished novel The Messiah.

This works have inspired other creations such as the adaptation of The Street of Crocodiles by the Quay Brothers:

Bruno Schulz's writings and life have been described in more detail in a book by the Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski Regions of the Great Heresy. The texts of The Street of Crocodiles and Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass are available here for free.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


From the Economist.