What is a black belt?

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I ask this question with great trepidation, for reasons which will become apparent…. I’ve dabbled in three martial arts.  Of those, I did karate for a few months (too much pain), jiu jitsu for about half a year (too much need for a poker face) and escrima for about four years (the bestest).  My partner also has three years of chen-style tai chi under his belt, and every now and then we will teach each other things and get enthused together by stuff that can be done with elbows and hips. In karate I never achieved a belt.  My instructor …

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LDs and Arnica

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Recently I did 5 days of tech.  They went like this: Day 1.  Sunday.  Arrive 9 a.m. at the venue, meet the crew, trot through any final, obscure details on the lighting plan, then commence rigging.  Rigging involves lifting some heavy lights – the heaviest being about 50kg – onto lighting bars, plugging them in, flashing them out, then flying the bars to their deads.  This process takes to about 2 p.m..  At 3 p.m. focus commences.  Focus is pointing the lights at the correct place, and requires one person – today for ease of speed it’s me – climbing …

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Money money money

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My word, isn’t Donald Trump doing well?  The hugely wealthy bastion of corporate double-dealing, bigotry, bombast and might continues his merry rollock towards the Republican nomination, to the despair of pretty much every moderate Republican in America.  And what’s his big selling points?  Everything is the fault of everyone else except (mostly white male) Americans. Government is corrupt. I’m a successful businessman so I know how to run these sorta things. There’s far too much to be said on this theme, and far too much being said frankly right now, but I do wanna get briefly tense over this notion …

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Letting Go

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I write this while on the tail end of a stinking cold, so apologies if at any point it vanishes off into delirious paracetamol land…. I am broadly and thinly educated.  I know, for example, exactly enough about computers to be able to diagnose for my partner exactly what the nature of the problem is as he attempts to convert a .cvs file into a spreadsheet, but can I solve it?  HELL NO.  I can read 3% of the Chinese texts at the British Museum.  I can tell you that the Korean alphabet was custom-created for its purpose, that Amharic …

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In Praise of…. This Changes Everything

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I don’t often do book reviews on this blog, perhaps because as someone who is occasionally reviewed I assume that everyone else in the scribbling business, like me, wants to avoid reading them.  (This is what is known as Very Very Wrong Thinking.) However, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein is both good enough and perhaps important enough to merit a bit of conversation.  It’s not a barrel of laughs; a book about the entanglement between environmentalism and capitalism, it’s never gonna make your heart soar with incandescent joy. That said, its greatest strength is perhaps not the clarity with …

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Artsy Fartsy

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I was down a pub a few weeks ago, listening to a couple of people explain how art works. Or maybe that should be… How Art Works. “Well I want to be a musician, that’s what I really want.  I work as a corporate lawyer by day, but I really do feel that I have a lot to say with my music….” “I’m writing a novel, it’s about the nature of the universe, it’s high-concept dystopian YA….” “… but the thing is, well, I can’t get the sales.  I was talking with a producer, like, a really big guy, really …

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