Do I want to be or kiss Clarice Starling from ‘Silence of the Lambs’? An examination

Summer is the time for macabre obsessions to blossom – to get really, really weird, until you’re spending your break at work reading lists of the Fred and Rose West victims as if it’s a natural thing to do with your downtime. The long light scoots nightmares out. The winter means walking home alone in the dark, often, which is bad enough without worrying you are going to spy Ted Bundy across the road, bobbing around on fake crutches and asking for help with his suitcase. In summer, this feels less likely.¬† Continue reading “Do I want to be or kiss Clarice Starling from ‘Silence of the Lambs’? An examination”


‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away’: A Literary Analysis

Some programmes exist in a peculiar hinterland, accessible only in certain stages of your life. They’re such unattractive prospects to everyone else that they may as well be broadcast on a different frequency. ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away’ exists in a liminal space (Channel 5) that you can only reach if you are a student, or depressed. It makes you feel the same way you do when you see someone fall over in public. Continue reading “‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away’: A Literary Analysis”

A Love Letter to ‘A Little Life’

I’ve had so many books that have been dear to me – the sort of book that you read and read, for comfort, mainly; the sort of book that would unravel and skip if it was a tape, that would fray if it was a warm jumper. The Harry Potters, the first two Bridget Jones books, ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt were all small homes that could be entered at any time. They were comfortable, even though there were parts of them that weren’t comforting. None of them, though, were as uncomforting yet somehow homely as Hanya Yanagihara’s ‘A Little Life’ – a book which, tonight, is in with a strong chance of winning the Man Booker prize. This is my love letter to it.

Since finishing it two weeks ago, I’ve had it on my bedside every night; I’ve filled up with tears thinking about it in places as diverse as Sainsbury’s and a club and almost every room in my flat; I think about it when I listen to songs on the bus. It’s a big book, but even bigger are the tendrils it extends into all parts of your life. And for all of the literary merit the Man Booker panel have evidently recognised (precise, beautiful sentences; a structure that allows secrets to be revealed as carefully as in a thriller; settings that are as vivid and lush as a painting) there’s a lot of things that truly pack a punch because of the context. Rich, layered, complex gay characters; mental illness presented unflinchingly; a horrific focus on child abuse, the sort of focus that understandably leads to many people choosing not to read the book. Yanagihara not only creates a world – she represents one. For anyone who sees themself in her New York, the detail with which she writes her characters is something close to love. Almost honour.

Continue reading “A Love Letter to ‘A Little Life’”

7 Things I Learned From Binge-Watching ‘House of Cards’ Season 3

[This post contains spoilers for House of Cards Season 3.]

Friday was a big day. I bought all the foods you’d associate with a very small and not very fun party (chocolate fingers, big bags of crisps, cake, a bottle of Coke) and once my housemate got back from her lectures to join me, I slipped into that Netflix-drunk feeling, that sort of limbo where it gets dark without you realising and your emotions go up and down with the plot. And I learned stuff. Sat there for thirteen¬†episodes¬†– six on Friday, seven on Saturday – ‘House of Cards’ quietly kidnapped me, and returned me a pound or two heavier and with eyeballs that feel like they’ve been rolled in sand. Continue reading “7 Things I Learned From Binge-Watching ‘House of Cards’ Season 3”

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