“So what are you going to do with your English degree?”


  • Sit quietly and patiently by Shakespeare’s grave for two thousand years, like the little boy in A.I., until he rises again and we just have a proper laugh together, and possibly solve crimes in a sort of Mulder-and-Scully set-up
  • Become a local “character” who sits in Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, drunk, telling everyone who sits nearby about that one essay I was really proud of. I will become an expert at delivering an abstract while simultaneously signalling for the bartender to fill up my glass
  • (loudly and cheerfully) “What WON’T I do?!” Continue reading ““So what are you going to do with your English degree?””

Weird Imaginary Stuff I Used To Do As A Kid

Present TV shows.

I was convinced an audience would be really interested in the “potions” I made in the bath by squashing bubbles until they turned almost-liquid and packaging them in the cup I used to rinse my hair. I knew I had to be subtle about it, though, because once I was doing a TV show about schoolwork (this was before I started school, which is definitely the best time to broadcast your advice about how to handle it) while my mum was hoovering and she heard me loudly declare “AND YOU MAKE SURE TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK EVERY DAY,” and she turned the hoover off and said “What?” and I said “Nothing.”

My facility in the field of imaginary television is not something I can put on a CV, but back then I truly thought I was really, really good at it. Continue reading “Weird Imaginary Stuff I Used To Do As A Kid”

From Ophelia to Rae Earl, via Blanche DuBois: Mentally Ill Women in the Media

‘Hamlet’ is a crash-course in depression. Existential nausea has never been summed up so well as by Hamlet’s yearning repetition of too too solid flesh. His frustration at not being able to act, at being paralysed and then frantically doing the wrong thing just to do something, is a look at the sort of ugly, sort of dull side of mental illness. He talks about bad dreams. He repeats to die, to sleep like a lullaby. We follow his reasoning through, watching where it veers down wrong or illogical paths, but always understanding.

What does Ophelia do? She exits one scene stable and enters another as what Margaret Atwood, in her lecture Ophelia Has A Lot to Answer For, calls ‘winsomely bonkers’. She sings rude songs. She hands out flowers. And then she drowns, beautifully: her clothes spread wide and mermaid-like, surrounded by crow-flowers, nettle, daisies and long purples. Her sweet, lyrical madness is followed by death. Continue reading “From Ophelia to Rae Earl, via Blanche DuBois: Mentally Ill Women in the Media”

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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