Off Topic

Readings for a funeral

January 9, 2015

What do you read at a funeral? Some­thing sec­u­lar, some­thing reli­gious? My own close family’s his­tory of ritual-less indus­trial incin­er­a­tion — a few words, a recor­ded organ, the coffin slip­ping behind a faded vel­vet cur­tain in the crem­at­orium — offered little in the way of sec­u­lar com­fort. A school­ing paid for by singing psalms to empty cathed­ral stalls withered […]

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Making sense of Davos

January 9, 2012

When the World Eco­nomic Forum pub­lishes a well-researched report on global gender gaps, sus­tain­able con­sump­tion, water secur­ity or com­pet­it­ive­ness, it fuels global debate. When it gath­ers its Mem­bers from the busi­ness world with oth­ers from a broad swathe of soci­ety (aca­dem­ics, artists, politi­cians, human rights cam­paign­ers, trade uni­on­ists, envir­on­ment­al­ists and more), it becomes either the sin­is­ter archi­tect of a global con­spir­acy or the convener […]

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Education by evensong

May 17, 2011

Noth­ing enshrines so com­pletely the idea of decline as an Eng­lish cathed­ral. Mil­len­nial in age, monu­mental in scale, metic­u­lous in dec­or­a­tion, the cathed­ral is ded­ic­ated to a medi­eval deity. A god of build­ings, wor­shipped through spires and fly­ing but­tresses and arches, feared through plaster paint­ings of dev­ils and awed in roof bosses carved with angels and apostles. A god […]

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The Ideas­Broth­ers blog has uncovered a novel writ­ten by an advert­ising plan­ner. In a pent­house apart­ment on the right side of town, a 28‐54 year old man called Dan tried to con­trol his breath­ing. Someone or some­thing was mov­ing about down­stairs. He listened intently. There it was again. In the inky dark, the sound had real cut‐through com­pared to […]

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