Off Topic

Readings for a funeral

January 9, 2015

What do you read at a funer­al? Some­thing sec­u­lar, some­thing reli­gious? The fam­ily tra­di­tion was ritu­al-free indus­tri­al incin­er­a­tion. Organ record­ing, coffin slips behind vel­vet cur­tain in the coun­cil crem­at­ori­um. My reli­gious belief per­ished dur­ing singing psalms to empty pews. But bur­ied in the bible are frag­ments of prac­tic­al advice that have sus­tained human beings for a very […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]