Friday, 28 February 2014

53. Island Men

I remember being at secondary school and never being able to grasp why my female peers would always seek a companion or three for a visit to the bathroom. I also remember the many occasions when I would happily sit in a room with another person, completely silent, and feeling no obligation to engage if I had nothing to say just for the sake of engaging.

"No man is an island." John Donne's famous words would wash over me, because I didn't understand why it was considered so impossible to live a life of total introversion and still do significant things and feel contented at the same time. Although I am largely an introvert (according to Susan Cain's Quiet, at least) and still exercise many of the habits mentioned above, I have realised that there is no harm in building new and old friendships, and concerning myself less with the events in my own world and more with those relating to the people around me.

Donne continues: "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind..." Do you think that it is wrong to consistently act in an introverted or enclosed manner? How does introversion or inward behaviour serve as a detriment to one's own (if at all)? If we take Donne's words literally, I could even contend that the majority of us are "island men" on a much larger scale - our concerns lying outside of our selves, but stretching only as far as whatever lies in close proximity. How many of us would rather ponder over our weekly timetables than reflect momentarily on the outbreak of civil war in Kiev? As "parts of the main", should we not then "borrow [others'] misery" - or, at the very least, endeavour to understand or to enquire why our neighbours mourn or rebel or fight or suffer?

Thursday, 27 February 2014

52. Edification

Ensuring that our diets are rich in multivitamins and other key nutrients is only one way of building ourselves up physically. But what else can we consume as sustenance? 

Iinformation made up of words, numbers and characters which feed our minds. Visuals - films, paintings, computer games, natural landscapes or innovative architecture - engage our eyes and delight our brains. Music causes us to move or feel or think, and deep thought and prayer aids us spiritually.

Even when we take away from ourselves - donating time, imparting knowledge unto others - we are still edified. What then (not concerning food), constitutes malnourishment?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

51. 5 Reasons why Corporate Life is Good for You



I am often subjected to people's arguments as to why working in a corporate environment is undesirable, or even "soul destroying". What I rarely encounter, however, are positive accounts of such environments. I hope to demonstrate that working in a corporate setting during the early stages of one's career can prove to be incredibly helpful - personally as well as professionally.

1. Attention to detail is everything

If there's one thing that I've taken away from my (limited) time in the corporate world, it's that attention to detail is absolutely everything. Plotting a property a few millimetres out can completely distort a 100-page due diligence report. Forgetting to proofread a draft contract can lead to dire consequences for a client. Even sending a poorly-worded email to an opposing party can place your entire firm in bad light. Developing a keen eye for detail at an early age can be useful in any working environment, and while early observations of small errors may not be rewarded, they avoid potentially serious disciplinary (or, at the very least, embarrassment).

2. Know what you mean and mean what you say

In an environment that requires the ability to argue your point at a moment's notice, you're going to need to start using your brain more actively and deliberately. Why did you phrase clause 5 in that way? What are the commercial implications of that decision? What questions are you going to have to ask your client, and why? Never before have I had to explain myself so often and completely understand myself at all times. Working in such a "deliberate" environment gives rise to conviction in every move. And if that conviction didn't already exist in you, you can bet that it'll be born.

3. Playing with purpose is as important as working hard

One of the greatest misconceptions of freshly-graduated young people looking for work in the corporate arena is that one must take an all-serious approach to their career: i.e. strict prohibition on 'banter' with senior employers, a reluctance to network (in the loosest meaning of the word) with potential future clients and a feigned stiff upper-lip. You will note that I have entitled this point "play with purpose" and not "play hard". Corporate life has demonstrated the importance of knowing how to "woo" a client (because without clients, there is no demand for our services and so our skills are made redundant) and, in turn, knowing how to "woo" your colleagues and superiors. 



4. Excellence is expected

Particularly in the corporate world, there is no special recognition for great work, because greatness is expected. Whilst this may seem harsh in the first instance, it's the perfect way for individuals to permanently raise the bar on their own standards.

5. It is soul-protecting, not soul-destroying.

There's an age-old cliché which suggests that the typical corporate lifestyle (early mornings and late nights, demanding deadlines, pushy clients and lots of money on the line) can break a (wo)man. Well, there's also an age-old cliché which says that something either makes you breaks you. Working in an environment where there are constant pressures not only enhances all of the soft skills referred to above (attention to detail, strong communication skills, interpersonal skills, significantly high expectations/standards) but also creates resilience. One's soul is in turn shielded from what may previously have broken its carrier's now sharper surface. Where's the negativity in that?

*Is it obvious that I'm a Suits fan?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

50. The Great (Fashion) Debate: Is Fake a Faux Pas?


Fashion designer and businesswoman Ashley Olsen steps out in alligator backpack, $39,000 (c. £23,400) from her line The Row.

The fashion set are tough to decipher.

One season it's alright to wear animal print when it was once considered trashy, another season it's the done thing to sport baseball caps with pencil skirts.  Animal fur in particular is condemned by many as being immodest and insensitive towards animal torture, with the faux version increasingly embraced by fashion's high society (read: Stella McCartney) as being equally as fashionable as the real deal - albeit for reasons along more moral lines.

But why can't the same apply to other luxury goods? Is it not also, to an extent, highly immoral to price what is essentially a sack made of animal skin which carries other things at an amount which could also serve as a down-payment on a well-placed London apartment? What about the importance of money management? Is it not immoral to charm young fashion lovers' minds into thinking that it is socially acceptable to scrape their current accounts, student loans and overdrafts clean of savings to purchase such a sack, only then to endure a month-long diet plan rich in bread and beans?

Please note, reader, that there's a log in my own eye too. There's something about luxury fashion that I love, despite its slight frivolity. When I finally bought my first luxury handbag after working part-time (in a luxury fashion boutique, ironically) during university and saving up in anticipation of the eventual crusade to Old Bond Street (seriously underwhelming by the way - the staff at Chanel weren't very friendly), my boyfriend at the time ignored me for at least 24 hours and then, when his words finally returned, mocked me for about a month. Every time I wore my new bag outdoors, he respond with "you could have bought a car with that money", or "you could have gone on two holidays with that". And he was right. But in my mind at the time fake was not an option, and so break the bank I would.

Which is why I almost fell off my chair when I read Shini Park's post on the (highly coveted) Chanel Boy bag. A well-respected fashion blogger admitting that a luxury item is not an essential? Is this the writing of a hacker?


Shini Park of Park and Cube wearing the Chanel Boy handbag, c. £2,500.

It’s borrowed, don’t ask. I’m flattered though, that anyone would assume I have enough speech & debate skills to convince my husband, to whom Tommy Hilfiger is couture and Tom Ford is the CEO of Ford – the car company – that spending three months’ rent on a bag (a transparent one at that) is reasonable...we (I say we, but I mean me) are not yet in a junction in life to warrant a brand spankin’ new Chanel boy bag...I still want to work towards a stage in life where I can afford a Chanel/Hermes/LV bag without disrupting priorities.

Of course, Park's bag is borrowed and is indeed authentic, but does she grieve at the inability to purchase one for herself? Not really. What we have here is an acknowledgement of the irrationality in purchasing an item for which one's finances do not allow (or, in modern day speak, understanding the importance of "staying in one's lane"). To an extent, it's not even solely about an inability to purchase at the premium price; during my (part) time in luxury fashion, I met a significantly wealthy client who once admitted that her entire Louis Vuitton collection was counterfeit. I would never have known.

In the same way that fake (faux) fur has been accepted by fashion circles from Sloane Square to Sydney to Stockholm and back again as a more affordable (and more moral) version of its mammal-like counterpart, will it ever be acceptable for young women to tote the latest Céline calfskin tote *whispers* in its imposter version and thus at a fraction of the price?

Let's talk about this. Comment below/via Twitter because I'm still torn.

You can read Shini Park's blogpost here: http://www.parkandcube.com/pinstripe-coat-leather-trousers/

Monday, 24 February 2014

49. Can't Get No Satisfaction



Person A earns a comfortable six figure salary at the age of 28, working for a highly reputable financial corporation. Their salary entitles them to a lifestyle that most would love to maintain, and on the outside Person A regularly enjoys the fruits of their labour as part of an overall "glamorous" existence.

Person B earns significantly below the national average at the age of 28, working for a highly reputable media corporation. Their salary prohibits them from enjoying their preferred lifestyle but the nature of Person B's line of work is such that regular international travel, social events and access to freebies are a common occurrence.

Person A is overwhelmingly dissatisfied with their job. Person B, on the other hand, is incredibly satisfied with their daily routine.

If there is anything that my 22nd year has shown me, it is that so many things - commodities, careers, et cetera - appear to hold so much promise from a distance but turn out to feel/be average at best close up. I have met so many young "Person A" professionals who live lives which look amazing on the outside - exotic holidays, great salary, early prestige - but feel inadequate on the inside. Who are coaxed out of bed each morning only by the assurance of security or surrender to routine. Who are not once mentally stimulated during their 10 or 11 hours of work, but would never consider breaking away from their daily cycle.

Of course, not everyone can enjoy some of the aforementioned perks which come with a job similar to that of Person B. Despite perhaps earning less than their corporate peers, let us assume in this instance that Person B is happier at their workplace. There is greater transparency at the top end, a decent work/life balance and an ultimate feeling of passion towards their role - so much so that hating Mondays are a myth and eagerly anticipating Fridays are an irregular occurrence.

But...is job satisfaction overrated? Does one need to be passionate about their job? Should we perceive work as simply being that which places food on our tables and roofs over our heads? Or should we seek careers that we love and that fit us perfectly - because after all, the workplace is where many of us will spend the majority of our waking hours per week? One argument may be that a higher pay packet allows for substantial enjoyment outside of the workplace despite, in many circumstances, limited time for "play" due to unsociable hours. Does person A really need to be happy at work when work for them may just be a way of making honest cash?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

48. Résistance

Even today is my complaint rebellious,
my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

47. Blackout





He 
is mine 
and I 
am his.
Our 
meeting was intended
to be.


Some of you will note my earlier references to writer and artist Austin Kleon. So when I wrote my previous post "Five Percent" earlier on in the project, I knew that this week would be the perfect time to try my hand at a "Newspaper Blackout" poem.

The format of the blackout poem coincides neatly with George Orwell's idea that less is more when it comes to the use of words in expressing a point - with a bank of words issued already issued in the form of a newspaper, it is up to the writer to carve new sentences out of old passages.

Friday, 21 February 2014

46. In 2014

In 2014 a young woman feels compelled to change her Asian name on an application for a corporate training programme in order to be properly considered.

1n 2014 a group of young City professionals are turned away from a club because too many of them are of BME origin.

In 2014 a young man will not grow out his beard because his WASP colleagues will consider his curly hair unkempt in comparison to their own ironed-out follicles.

In 2014 .

In 2014 a young man or woman of ethnic minority is condemned for adopting received pronunciation, yet is also condemned for adopting an untainted accent representative of home.


What are some of your experiences?

Thursday, 20 February 2014

45. History Is

History is
an area of academia
everlasting
forgotten
a time prior to now
a tale
a form of context
partial
a past relationship
a messy track record
an archive
biased
a friend of society
an enemy of society
backwards
a fortune-teller
a trend-setter
set on repeat
an elephant in a room
ornamental
both tangible and
intangible.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

44. Five Percent



"If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself."
 - George Orwell

Reading George Orwell's 1946 essay, "Why I Write", has made me completely rethink my approach not only towards this project but to writing as a whole. I now find that 95 percent of words used are fillers, and only around five percent of words per post on average carry the argument. "[The] invasion of one's mind", says Orwell "by ready-made phrases...can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetises a portion of one's brain." Between days two ("Autopilot") and 44 (this post), I have forgotten the very arguments that I set out for you all to read:

"That's one of the main reasons for this project. I think that everyone's greatest fear in life should be the fear of becoming stagnant. How can we grow and develop as humans if we allow ourselves to perform the same tasks, be surrounded by the same people, see the same sights, consume the same level of information on a day to day basis? We need to be shaken up, made uncomfortable, forced to flick the autopilot switch to the function labelled 'OFF' instead of 'ON'. Of course, this is much easier said than done. But all it takes is a small level of commitment and an active mindset. It's a constant, not an event. So even if nobody reads this or the 363 posts to come (but I'd be really upset if that was actually the case, guys), I know that for at least half an hour of every day I will have set myself to 'ON' and had to, you know, think about something."

"Autopilot" itself houses useless decoration. Here is the same excerpt, condensed:

"We cannot develop if we are monotonous. We must challenge ourselves to become more engaged. In starting this project, I hope to stimulate my mind."

Orwell finally explains that the key to clear expression is "to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about." That said, I hope that subsequent posts will feature 95 percent of deliberate prose and five percent of embellishment - not the other way about.




43. The End Goal

Nowadays, I find myself asking the people around me what their end goal is when they announce a desire to obtain or achieve something. You want to go for that high-paying City job? What's the conclusion? You want to travel the world? What do you hope to get from that? You want to change your approach when meeting new people? What's your desired end result?

It's also a question I regularly ask myself in respect of my career aspirations, relationships with the people I choose to surround myself with, and other basic day-to-day choices. In doing so, I am more concerned about checking myself and really thinking more deliberately about my thought processes than acting and reacting frivolously to whatever I encounter. Of course, one's careful thinking cannot control the outcomes of every single event entièrement, but at least (for me, anyway) there is comfort in deliberation - analysis of risk, weighing up of positive and negative factors, consideration of asset and liability.

What's the end goal for this project? I have a few ideas tucked away in my mind. Perhaps I'll let you know in 17 days' time.

Monday, 17 February 2014

42. His Thoughts.




"There are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here now...I hope that, 150 years from now, our ambivalence will not allow another filmmaker to make this film" - Steve McQueen on accepting his BAFTA for Best Director of critically- and commercially-acclaimed film, 12 Years A Slave.

This evening's BAFTAs have brought a multitude of ideas and thoughts and opinions to the front of my mind which cannot (unfortunately) be distilled into one eloquently-written essay (but will serve inspiration for upcoming commentaries within this project, no doubt). Instead, I shall direct you to the thoughts of writer Musa Okwonga's on one of the most talked-about films of 2013/2014, 12 Years A Slave.

An excerpt of his essay, and link to the original New Statesman-published piece, is below:

"As I wandered out into the foyer, I stopped to speak with an elderly black steward, who saw me out with a smile and a slow shake of the head. “Ha,” he said, offering perhaps the most fitting review that 12 Years A Slave will receive. “I don’t like to watch such things.” Me neither: but if we're not yet fully aware of the extent of slavery's evil both past and present, then, perhaps, watch them we must."

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/01/12-years-slave-asks-us-most-important-question-why

Sunday, 16 February 2014

41. Ritualistic

home.
dinner Italian Ghanaian English.
social media Twitter Instagram.
chatting family telephone texting.
television news fashion music reality.
reading psychology politics Bible fiction.
social media Twitter .
bath.
music Robert Glasper Jhene Aiko Solange Knowles.
reading psychology politics Bible fiction.
learning languages theories truths.
Internet articles photographs discussions.
social media Twitter Instagram Whatsapp.
writing [on all of the above].
chatting family telephone texting.
social media Instagram Twitter.
bed.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

40. Connect

In our current age, it is nearly impossible to be out of contact with people we wish to connect with. Whether our choice of correspondence is via telephone, text, Skype, Whatsapp or social media (Facebook or Twitter, for example) connecting with one another has never been easier. New friendships are often cultivated through these channels, and existing friendships diminish through a lack of use of these channels. But what of the fool-proof, old school face-to-fave exchange? Our technological age somewhat restricts our likelihood of traditional interaction.

My question is this: fast forward ten years, will our technological connectivity still remain intact? Or will there be an alternative means of regular correspondence?

Friday, 14 February 2014

39. The Concepts of Beauty, Pt. I


Photo credit: http://le-21eme.com.

For a few weeks now, I have been gathering my thoughts in order to write about our notions of beauty, and with Fashion Week now in full swing, I thought that now would be as best a time as any to make a start. I studied Art History as part of my A-Levels, and I remember taking a few classes on the origins of our current idea of beauty, particularly within the female form. Hip-to-waist ratio, the width or one's forehead in relation to the remainder of their features, hair colour, nose shapes and lip plumpness were all taken into consideration by the Greeks, and their findings are ideas which remain with us even in 2014.

But, I wondered, what if the Greeks had decided that a face which wasn't half forehead and half features was the most beautiful? What if blonde hair was reminiscent of straw and not gold? What if a straight nose, full lips or cat-like eyes were all considered unsightly - how would we as 21st century individuals consider beauty then? Fashion is quite similar in its ability to prescribe to the masses without question. In one season of runway fashion the coolest of women will decide collectively that a ball gown will harmonise with a New Balance sneaker, and in another the bedroom slipper will be an equally attractive choice as the classic stiletto for evening wear. Soon enough, the aesthetics displayed by the world's most celebrated designers in New York, London, Milan and Paris trickle down into high-street stores, and it is no longer the "fashion pack" alone who find it acceptable to experiment with varying beautiful and not-so beautiful items of clothing.

I was startled by recent video footage of designer Rick Owens' offering for Spring/Summer 2014 at Paris Fashion Week:


Startled because for at least three minutes into the show I was convinced that a 6-foot, size 6, blonde waif would eventually saunter elegantly down the steps in one of Owens' signature leather ensembles. These dancers were just that, dancers, I thought. Where were the models? Where was the beauty? And then I caught myself. Despite the concepts of beauty prescribed to us by early schools of thought, was it really impossible for the regular onlooker not to find beauty in Owens' show? Given the context - fashion - could it be the case that "alternative" beauty may now be embraced in the same way that youthful, cherub-like beauty has?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

38. Seventeen Pounds

Seventeen pounds. That's how much money I paid for a fashion magazine the other day.

Okay so not quite. Here's the mathematics:

1. Unit price: £4.17
2. Tax: £0.83
3. Shipping: £12.00

Sure, it was delivered to me the very next morning by a handsome Mediterranean-looking man in head-to-toe black who handed me a rather luxurious black bag sealed with black ribbon cradling my magazine inside. But really though?

What would really be great is if Inception were a real film and someone came to me in my sleep and extracted my bank card details from my memory.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

37. Des Fashionistas Noirs



It's very easy to forget the fact that fashion has an ongoing diversity problem. Of course, there are the June Ambroses and Naomi Campbells and Pat McGraths and Julia Sarr-Jamoises thrown in for good measure, but the bigger picture is actually quite startling once you dust off your specs or rub your eyes and take a closer look.

Do you think that other fashion sites should follow suit with sections celebrating fashion from "black people" only (I use quotations because I've never been a fan/user of the phrase, but it's the only one which illustrates my point)? Or do you think that there should be better diversity in fashion in general - such that street style blogs (for example) will give us something other than the Marant and Céline-wearing, pin-straight haired, Caucasian (often French) waif?*

Check out the Voguistas Black section of online Italian VOGUE via the link below:

Voguistas Black - www.vogue.it


*Nothing against Marant and Céline-wearing, pin-straight haired, Caucasian (often French) waifs, of course.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

36. Writers' Block



I'm stumped. Over the course of the past 24 hours (because more often than not I write based on what I have immediately heard or seen or randomly thought or felt) there hasn't been one thing that has stood out enough for me to want to write about it. So I thought that it might be interesting for me to illustrate the thought processes behind some of my previous posts.

3. Penelope (Stream of Ratchetness)

This was a fun post for me as it was so early on in the project and was in a different style of writing from my usual mini essays on culture or race or society. With the likes of Pusha T and Trinidad James blaring through my headphones on my walk home from work one evening, I began to think about the flexibility of language, and how words can adopt completely new meanings when taken out of context. How the words "popping molly" could mean totally different things in different contexts. So, as I punched words frantically into my iPhone whilst simultaneously trying to navigate through other commuters and pedestrians, the monologue from a young woman scrutinising a spot in the bathroom mirror could be connected with a neighbour's account of a gang shoot-out, no questions asked.

When I finally got home, I thought that I would add a harsh contrast between genres - the hip-hop I was listening to was set off against the practices of James Joyce (stream of consciousness) and his own references to the epic poems and their leading protagonists in his novels (Penelope). A very eclectic, textured piece. I wish I had had the patience to take it even further.

15. What Is Art?

I remember writing this post the moment I got out of bed. It was a Monday morning and I'd taken the day off work. As I lay in bed, scrolling through my Instagram feed, I stopped at a photograph posted by Miroslava Duma relating to an interview with Dasha Zhukova featuring on her site, Buro247. In time, this photograph (Dasha sitting on a chair crafted out of metal poles and a real-life sculpting of a African woman, stripped naked and bound by belts) went viral and commentaries were popping up on every social media channel and credible online news outlet.

I was so angered by the photograph that I ended up losing my rag with a Duma fan claiming that people were being "too sensitive", but I eventually calmed down and asked the questions of the post instead - to myself, and to anyone reading.

26. Cymotrichous

There is a point in time during the wearing of one's weave - and ladies who are reading and who have ever worn a weave for longer than a month will recognise this - where a woman's own hair will grow out, creating a spongy barrier between her scalp and her weft. I love to dig my fingertips into this spongy mass (so much so that I decided to chop all of my hair off and go natural - see HERE) and so I wondered if I could capture that sensation in a poetic/spoken word format.

34. Night

Not much to say except for the fact that I was tired. Like, really sleepy. I thought it would be cheating if I went to sleep without writing something (still haven't done that! *punches air in delight*) so I thought I would put my tiredness in words. And that's pretty much it.

4. Sex, Cash and the Afridicto Disposition

I won't talk on this post for too long because I've posted it to death - not only on my own social media channels but also on others (www.mediadiversified.org - cheeky plug there). But this was, hands down, my absolute favourite to write. I was drawing from childhood experience, conversations I'd overheard as a little girl amongst aunts and uncles and conversations I've had with friends at a much older age; I was drawing from discussions I'd initiated with my own parents and imagining their accents as I typed particular phrases, and I was so thrilled at the response to the age-old question from readers across the globe! It's so contentious that I could probably lend another post to the topics of African parents and careers, but maybe I'll save that for the next project.

Monday, 10 February 2014

35. Twenty Three (Social Media and the Transactive Memory)






As it's just over a month until my next birthday, I have begun (the very clichéd process of) reflecting upon my year as a twenty-two year old and beginning to consider just what twenty-three may or may not bring. I wrote the following piece on the effect of social media on our methods of processing information on my birthday last year - continue reading below or click HERE for a link to the original post.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

34. Night

Night falls, energy ebbs from knackered bones, sleep suddenly set in.

Go, into dream-drunkenness. 

Go.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

33. Be Afraid

I don't know about you, but fear has held me back from a lot of potentially awesome experiences in life. Whether it's resisting to start your own business due to a fear of failure, feeling obligated to step out in certain clothing or wear your hair in a certain way for fear of standing out, or even rejecting opportunities to go travelling alone due to fear of the unknown, I'm certain it has affected all of you at some point or another. Don't tell me you've never felt fear. Because I won't believe you.

What I do believe, however, is that being afraid is good for us. Fear spurs us on to overcome it, dares us to challenge it, wills us to supersede it and be freed from it. So I challenge you (and myself) to be afraid, and see where that feeling takes you.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

32. On Love



One of my favourite songs from one of my favourite albums.

Today's "thought", then: a conglomeration of my unwritten sentiments, Hill's own lyrics and Hill's (obvious) primary source - 1 Corinthians 13.


31. The Motives of Making Money.


Money;
cash;
funds;
reddies;
Gs; or
cash moula (my personal favourite).

So many words for the pieces of metal and paper that are exchanged globally and frequently in varying forms: pound sterling here, Euros, Pesos, Dollars, Renminbi or Cides there. For many, the process required for obtaining regular instalments of money is daily toil - whether in the office, in the laboratory, on set or on site, usually only obtainable in exchange for some type of service in return (also known as the nine to five). But what's it for?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

30. Generation Combinations

"How often, in our social lives, do we interact only with our exact contemporaries? If our friends are from school or university, their lives will mirror ours - treading different paths, perhaps, but always in step.

At work though, we have unique opportunities to meet, collaborate with, and learn from people decades older and younger than ourselves, whose past experiences or fresh perspectives have much to teach us."

Celebrate the power that comes from sharing ideas and knowledge across the generational divide.


www.harpersbazaar.com

29. Lost In Translation: the Wonders of World Languages

I would have thought that by 2014 we'd all have developed the ability to automatically communicate with others in a different tongue. But I guess that's what apps and other technologies are for, right?

One of the most uncomfortable situations for any human being has got to be standing amongst a group of people and having no idea what they are saying due to a mighty language barrier. There's probably nothing worse (for some, anyway - I imagine many of you will find it an intriguing position to be in) than hearing foreign sounds and not knowing what they mean; whether they are of relevance to you, whether they are insulting, or friendly, or intelligent. 

Despite numerous surveys and reports demonstrating non-verbal communication as equally telling of a person's message, I still think that there's something so interesting about the fact that I can hop on a plane to Germany and instantly become at a loss for words (except for perhaps declaring "Mmm - lecker!" in satisfaction not only of the meal that I would have just eaten, but also at the fact that I actually managed to remember some vocabulary from my Year 8 language classes). Umms and ahhs, extreme gesticulations and raised voices aplenty. Forcing the mind to work twice as hard in order to convey a simple point such as "how much" or "which way" or "do you speak English?" Lost in translation indeed. 

Monday, 3 February 2014

28. On Balance.

Discuss:

"When people say they want balance, it's because they're looking to turn off when they go home. But there are other people like [my business partner] and me who always want to integrate work and personal life.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

26. Cymotrichous


Underneath her wefts lie a multitude of springs, curls and coils which push against their linear suppressors. A spongy seabed, stretching this way and that, new shoots struggling to crack the soil's surface. Peeking out coyly from her corners; a badly-kept secret, a poorly-performed "surprise".