Consider The Donut

Or, From There To Here With The Simpsons

Old episodes of The Simpsons are great. The other night “Bart After Dark” was on and I really enjoyed seeing it again. It’s from season eight, the one where Bart ends up working in the Maison Derriére. I thought it was older; mind you, this makes it nineteen years old. When I thought about the episode later on that evening, I realised how the story anarchically set out in multiple directions before settling into its main storyline. This still happens in newer Simpsons episodes, though the show is rarely as joyfully chaotic now as it was back then.

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On Trident

With the final vote on Trident replacement due in 2016, at an estimated cost of £100bn, this is the final election before the decision – and it is one which requires a higher level of debate than the Tories’ name-calling. While the Tories are happy to indulge in cheap personal attacks, they’re running scared from a serious debate about defence. Senior military figures warn that the £100bn white elephant of Trident replacement does nothing to keep us safe – and is resulting in thousands of jobs in the armed forces being slashed. How a blind commitment to squandering our overstretched national resources on a Cold War weapon can be touted as being “strong on defence” is beyond me.

Kate Hudson, CND

The Magic of Reading

One thing I noticed while reading “The Martian” is that getting into something absorbing is great for getting a good night’s sleep. That’s the magic of reading, apart from the fact that I stay up past 1AM because it’s sucked me in!

Maybe once you get to that “got to keep reading point” your brain invests in anticipating and interpreting the story, and keeps on doing so as you turn out the light.

I find it harder to reach this kind of flow state with non-fiction but it does happen. In Chile I remember sitting in my tent reading Nate Silver’s “The Signal and The Noise” by torch-light. It was very effective at relaxing me for sleep. Those were good times.

The next book I plan to read is Adam Tooze’s “The Wages of Destruction” which is about how the Nazis managed to fund the German economy in the run up to the second world war. It’s a difficult book to get hold of: it’s out of print and West Sussex library keeps its copy in the rare books section – that’s the copy I have now. I can only keep it for another five weeks so I figure I’d better get cracking.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Cover of The Martian by Andy WeirI received a copy of The Martian by Andy Weir for Christmas. This week during some annual leave I managed to finish it. It’s one of those novels that just flies by once it gets going. I’ve stayed up incredibly late to read it as it is full of those “just one more page” moments. It’s a readable and enjoyable story of an astronaut trapped on Mars.

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Jodorowsky’s Dune

Jodorowsky's Dune is a documentary about outlandish Chilean director Alejandro Jodorosky's attempt at a film adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune in the 1970s. As a big fan of the novel and of science fiction in general, I was very interested in this film. It does not disappoint. It gives a great insight into the mind of a little known (if slightly batty) director and shows even an artistic failure can lead to shock waves that can be felt in later work by others.

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A Little Bit Intimidating Really

There is so much good writing out there. All you have to do is fire up the guardian website, or download the medium app to your smartphone, or visit my friend Barrie's site, or Lee's, and so on and so on.

When it comes to my little whisper into this great choir, it's easy to feel a bit intimidated. How do I add my voice? How do I feel distinct? How do I do it as well as all these other wonderful writers?

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