The minor deities of the internet | Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Infinite attention, infinite regard and the minor deities of the internet

“That’s the dream of replication: infinite attention, infinite regard. The machinery of the internet has made it a democratic possibility, as television never could, since the audience in their living rooms necessarily far outnumbered the people who could be squeezed into the box. Not so with the internet, where anyone with access to a computer…

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An Arcadian Idyll by Georges Auguste Elie Laverne (1863-1942). An arcadian idyll with Pan playing pipes and nymphs reclining. The triptych was found on wooden panelling in an apartment in Paris built in 1895.

Ancient words of the day: Arcadian Idyll

Arcadian Idyll: an idealised vision about rural life, a country paradise. Arcadia was and still is, a mountainous region in Greece. It was populated mainly by shepherds and the sleepy and fluffy flocks of sheep. In reality, rural life in Arcadia was harsh, poor and beholden to the ravages of unpredictable weather.    Arcadian Idyll…

Travel: Ryoan-ji, Kyoto

And the people stayed home by Kitty O’Meara

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. A terrace house in Sevilla, Spain. © Content Catnip 2010 And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the…

Day in the life: Facebook is destroying our understanding of normal life

On silence and idleness

"Happiness is in the quiet, ordinary things. A table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. And the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent." Virginia Woolf, The Waves Time Moves Slow by Bad Bad Good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgPQ2J_uM3A “Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness…

Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris

Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris

Weatherland by Alexandra Harris is a sweeping panorama and magic carpet ride through the history of England using a quirky weathervane to measure the changing culture - the weather. Author Alexandra Harris’ debut book won The Guardian’s Book of the Year. It’s no surprise either because this is a far-reaching, expansive book written in an…

You have sprung from soil in which you are a stranger

You have sprung from soil in which you are a stranger

Purple dusk in Chefchaouen A palm tree stands in the middle of Rusafa, Born in the west, far from the land of palms. I said to it: How like me you are, far away and in exile, In long separation from family and friends. You have sprung from soil in which you are a stranger;…

Unusual augurs of thunder in ancient times

Unusual augurs of thunder in medieval England

In times of yore ( yore occurring around 1389) the appearance of thunder was a mixed bag. Thunder during January augured bumper crops, along with war when it crackled over the sky. However, thunder in December heralded abundant fruit trees, provisions and harmony among people. Harry the Hayward's Thunder Prognostication Chart (1389) Harry the Hayward's…

Film Review: Backtrack Boys

Film Review: Backtrack Boys

Framing delinquent youth as hopeless cases is a common narrative ploy by a ruthless and shallow media. There’s the assumption that youths are going to gather together in gangs, commit crimes and cause havoc. Director Catherine Scott has thrown a fresh bucket of water on an old stereotype. Just as she did in her other…

Omnia tempus habent: a delightful medieval rhyming calendar | December ~ And at Christemasse I drinke red wine

Omnia tempus habent: a delightful medieval rhyming calendar

Omnia tempus habent - All things have their season. Ecclesiastes Here is a medieval rhyming calendar depicting the labours of the months in the fields, designing in rhyming couplets dating from 14th century England. And yes the mis-spelling of the words is intentional. This is how it was spelt in Old English of medieval times.…

Travel: Wellington’s Chinese New Year Lantern Festival

Despite all of the media beat-up around Corona Virus, the Lantern Festival to celebrate Chinese New Year went ahead on Wellington's waterfront the other night. It was really beautiful, bustling full of people and one of those sacred and special Wellington evenings where there was virtually no wind and all was peaceful, balmy and summery.…

Day in the life: Facebook is destroying our understanding of normal life

Mind-expanding books that opened up the world to me as a teenager #Booktag

Some books help you as a teenager to move beyond the claustrophobic and limited world you were born into. We can't help where we were born or who our family is. However, when we are young, if we read the right books, we may just be able to transcend challenging beginnings and see the world…

Film Review: Corpus Christi (Boże Ciało)

*Contains no plot spoilers 4.5 stars Readers of this blog will know that I do love Polish culture and Polish films. Here’s another great Polish film that has come out recently and is currently nominated for an Oscar for best international feature film. Corpus Christi, or Boże Ciało as it’s known in Polish, is a black…

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

Strange Victorian Journeys Into the Fourth Dimension

The last gasp of Victorian spirituality infused cutting-edge science with old-school mysticism. Theosophy was all the rage; Many weird and and wonderful ideas being developed at the turn of the century around death, ghosts, the fourth dimension filled the Victorians with a palpable sense of possibility.

Book Review: The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

Book Review: The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven

This is the ultimate Arctic voyage novel, based on real events. The 1913 Canadian voyage on the Karluk was the worst planned arctic mission in history. The captain declared the boat unsuitable on seeing it and the crew consisted of a rag-tag bunch of wannabes with no experience in Arctic weather. The scientists on the voyage had never stepped out of a classroom.

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen http://wp.me/p41CQf-ItW

Here be the Viking Hoard: The Mystery of the Lewis Chessmen

The Lewis Chessmen were likely to have been made in Trondheim in Norway from walrus ivory. This kind of bone was hard to come across at the time (1150-1200 A.D), as it required hunting during a brief window of time per year in the Arctic Circle, using primitive hunting tools of the time and in…

Hidden shinto shrine in Kyoto Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

The Enlightenment of Everyday Objects

In ancient Japanese tradition, when a treasured household item reaches the end of usefulness, it is given the proper funerary send off that it deserves. This unusual ritual harks back to two ancient philosophies. The Shinto Animist philosophy that all things alive or otherwise have a soul. And the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy that when a…

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari

Kawaakari (Japanese) The glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり). Kawaakari can refer to the reflection of the moonlight off flowing water, or the gleam of late sun at dusk. Obumbro (Latin) To shadow over and over: to make dark with shadow; to…