Skip to content


Quote #34

I think the great lesson of the 20th century is that you have to separate the ethics from the aesthetics… The great lesson there is that you don’t have to agree with what the Nazis did, but, yes, be honest about it, they did have the best uniforms. A lot of people can’t come to terms with something as banal as that.

Andrew Eldritch

Quote #33

Nothing I’ve ever written was anti-market. Being against the market is like being against conversation. It’s a form of exchange. But I was just as hostile in the past to giving any privileges to the market as I am now. Besides, those who are great advocates of the market don’t always make it easier for people to have access to the market through basic education, credit or whatever. (my emphasis).

Amartya Sen

We love sheffo

(Quoting andy) This is from ‘we love sheffo’ a new fanzine type thing about how great sheffield is…most of it is kind of about urban design / town planning, but it has a hip hop flavour too:

yo yo peeps this is real life and I’m a tell you about it. So me and my homes is chilling in the ponder rosa and hubs (he’s 2nd in command) is all ‘yo we need more 40s’. they all turns to me, you know, being il duce of the beats, so I hit my pops on the 2way – ‘urgent 40 call ponder rosa’ and he’s all like ‘i’ll pick you up when I drive by’. Got kind of excited at that part. Anyhoo, he rolls by in the mondeo and chaffeurs the don of rhymes (i.e. me) to Jacksons. I look but hey, I don’t know this stock, so I give Janice a heads-up. ‘where the 40s at ?’ and janice gets on the mike, spitting out ‘shelly, this young man’s looking for some 40s. do you know where they are ?’. I’m like yo, are we freestyling ? is this a battle ? D-stroy V Janice who’s hotter ? Holler back. But she’s all like ‘if you don’t stop grabbing that microphone I’ll fetch security’.

A brother can’t find no peace in Crookes.

genius !

Quote #29

Sometimes it seems like we’re all living in some kind of prison, and the crime is how much we hate ourselves. It’s good to get really dressed up once in a while and admit the truth — that when you look really closely, people are so strange and so complicated that they’re actually beautiful. Possibly even me.

– Henry Miller

tired of london

In 1777, Samuel Johnson wrote Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. (link).

In 1777, the population of London was approximately 800,000 people, a tenth it’s current size and a little larger than modern-day Leeds but smaller than Birmingham. (link)

Quote #27

You don’t need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Don’t even listen, simply wait.
Don’t even wait.
Be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you.
To be unmasked, it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka

The only true life i have is the life of my brain…

Just found some transcriptions of Utah Philips’ Stories, from which this, a favourite of mine:

That’s when [Fry Pan Jack] told me – you know, he’d been tramping since 1927 -he said, “I told myself in ’27, if I cannot dictate the conditions of my labor, I will henceforth cease to work.” Hah! You don’t have to go to college to figure these things out, no sir! He said, “I learned when I was young that the only true life I had was the life of my brain. But if it’s true the only real life I have is the life of my brain, what sense does it make to hand that brain to somebody for eight hours a day for their particular use on the presumption that at the end of the day they will give it back in an unmutilated condition?” Fat chance!

Quote #25, Neoteny

Reading Tom Robbin’s Still Life With Woodpecker on the tube this morning i was pleasently surprised by this:

“Neoteny” is “remaining young”, and it may be ironic that it is so little known, because human evolution has been dominated by it. Humans have evolved to their relatively high state by retaining the immature characteristics of their ancestors. Humans are the most advanced of mammals — although a case could be made for the dolphins — because they seldom grow up. Behavioral traits such as curiosity about the world, flexibility of response, and playfulness are common to practically all young mammals but are usually rapidly lost with the onset of maturity in all but humans. Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature

Ha! And with that, I’m off to the Hay Festival.

show it like it is

Via Dave does the blog

The story is told of Picasso that a stranger in a railway carriage accosted him with the challenge, ?Why don?t you paint things as they really are.?

Picasso demurred, saying that he did not quite understand what the gentleman meant, and the stranger then produced from his wallet a photograph of his wife. ?I mean,? he said, ?like that. That?s how she is.?

Picasso coughed hesitantly and said, ?She is rather small, isn?t she. And somewhat flat??

? Angels Fear, by Gregory and Mary Catherine Bateson

Quotes #21 and #22

Taking about the transition from naive ignorance to profound ignorance in the pub last night, this quote came up :

Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.

– Ch’ing-y?an

The quote reminded me of a Chinese poem which touches upon the same distinction

Mount Lu in misty rain; the River Che at high tide.
When I had not been there, no rest from the pain of longing!
I went there and returned…. It was nothing special:
Mount Lu in misty rain; the River Che at high tide.

Both are in Alan Watts’ book The Way of Zen

quote #18

Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. For what the world needs is more people who have come alive.

– Howard Thurman or Harold Whitman, depending on which bit of the web you look for the source.

Quote #16

The availability of good coffee has become more important than the availability of democracy.

– Michael Leunig

Quote #14

Reading maketh a full man,
conference a ready man,
and writing an exact man.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) ‘Of studies’

What should i do with my life?

Two quotes from Po Bronson’s What Should I Do With My Life. An annoyingly complacent piece of American self-help literature on the one hand, but on the other I’m a sucker for bite-sized wisdom…

Three guys laying bricks are asked why they’re doing it. The first guy says, ‘I’m doing it for the wages.’ The second guy says, ‘I’m doing it to support my family’. The third guys says, ‘I’m helping to build a cathedral.’


…it is likely that we fall in love with people who bring out the part of ourselves that we’d like to see more of.

quote #9

An example of implicit academic knowledge maybe? This simile, which Nicol told me last night, is actually pretty true and funny, trust me.

A Nature paper is like a red sports car that flashes past at 100 mph. A paper in Journal of Neuroscience is like a Rolls-Royce that cruises passed at a comfortable pace

quotes #7-8

Today, politics:

If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.

-Charles Darwin

If you love Jesus, work for justice. Anybody can honk.

-bumper sticker

quote #6, Master K’ung

A plough man said to Tzu-lu, a follower of Confucius, ‘Under Heaven there is none that is not swept along by the same flood. Such is the world and who can change it? As for you, instead of following one who flees from this man and that, you would do better to follow one who shuns this whole generation of men.’ And with he went on covering the seed.
Tzu-lu went and told his master, who said ruefully, ‘One cannot herd with birds and beasts. If I am not to be a man among other men, then what am I to be?’

– the Analects of Confucius, Book 18

quotes #3-5

It’s been a good day for quotes. These on, loosely, the scientific process:

People commonly use statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support
rather than for illumination.

– Mark Twain

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself- and you are the easiest person to fool.

– Richard Feynman

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.

– US Supreme Court judge Oliver Wendell Holmes

quote #2

[Whilst watching 2001: A Space Odyssy, somewhere near the end]

Jon: I’m bored. I want to watch something else.

Tom: I’m bored too, but I want to know what happens.

Jon: That’s why you have a PhD and I don’t.