1. I'm a month behind the times, but that's less than usual so I'm okay with it. The Veils have a new album, released on their own label, called Time Stays, We Go. I'm on my first listen through some of the tracks, and I already really, really like this one, with its moody Western feel, which suits them. Finn used to sit in the square across from my old work, and we used to watch him in wonder, like he wasn't real. Much has been said about his looks (ethereal), but it goes beyond that; there is something about his person that is also other-worldly - something you can't quite put your finger on.
2. It's funny when you take something for granted because it seems fairly obvious, and then someone (usually a man) slaps a name on it and all of a sudden it's a revelation. Any reader of Jane Austen already knows about her exploration of manipulation and sophisticated communication. This guy has called it Game Theory, and all of sudden lots of people are interested. Clearly, I'm not overly impressed, but if it's going to gain her more readers and appreciation, then whatever. It's such a man thing to do though, and living in a colonised country and being from a colonised people, I have little patience for the practice.
For some happy Austen-related reading, a mini-review of Persuasion, which is also my favourite of Austen's books.
3. There was something vaguely annoying about this article explaining the new "new atheism" (perhaps the name "new atheism"), and I don't know that just because "they" say there's been a shift that there actually has been one, but nonetheless, I welcome it. Because everybody is different, the way we understand and practise beliefs differ, and I think it's a good thing to separate out different atheists. I'm an atheist. I can also see merit in religion, and don't think all of the world's problems are because of religious belief (this sounds crazy, but lots of people really believe it). I tried to read The God Delusion (and will, one day), but just couldn't stick with it, largely because of how condescending and just smarty-pants it came across. I see the same thing in some of my atheist friends who are sharp and witty and say things that can be funny but are also mean in a way that just makes them look like arseholes. I think many atheists struggle with this because we have reason on our side, but that's not licence to be dickheads. I like "secular humanism" (I would prefer "atheist humanism"); its focus is as much on the similarities between people with different beliefs as the differences. I've talked before about how I feel about organisations like World Vision and The Salvation Army. Like non-partisan politics, there are some things that are common to all people in spite/because of religious belief, and so much good might be done if we focus on those.
4. Okay, I usually loathe things entitled "friendship!" or "how to be a friend!", but I like Garance, so I clicked on this post, and I really liked it; maybe partly because I could hear it coming from her, and she seems a sincere, kind, and unpretentious kind of person. And also because faces immediately popped into my head, and made me feel happy.
5. Still on season 2 of Dawson's Creek, still digging it. It's also rekindling a love of the (often-overlooked) late '90s; the part that no-one wants to borrow from because it's still kind of embarrassing. I've been embracing the music, and it's only a matter of time before the style creeps in... Metallic eyeshadow and platform slides? Oh yeah. I was going to end with De La Soul, but it has to be one of the slow-jams I've been listening to (which is actually from the early '90s). Vincent and I were discussing the demise of the slow-jam, and I truly believe a big part of romance died with it. Songs like this make me think about what the first Vincent says about foot massages in Pulp Fiction: "I ain't saying it's right. But you're saying a foot massage don't mean nothing, and I'm saying it does. Now, look, I've given a million ladies a million foot massages, and they all meant something. We act like they don't, but they do, and that's what's so fucking cool about them. There's a sensuous thing going on where you don't talk about it, but you know it, she knows it, fucking Marsellus knew it, and Antoine should have fucking better known better." Now we dance to house, hip hop or d&b, and there's no subtlety... "This is about business."