North Korea’s Nerve War

The Moranbong Band is best imagined as a North Korean version of Celtic Woman: an all-female ensemble band swaddled in fetching formalwear, blasting highly produced, energetic nationalist kitsch. Of course, no matter how much vigorous fiddling Chloe, Lisa, Susan and Mairead can manage, Celtic Woman is unlikely to attract as much scrutiny from intelligence agencies as the Moranbong Band’s cover of Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now”, which is perhaps better known as the theme from Rocky, and was performed – complete with a video backdrop featuring cuts of Sylvester Stallone working out – for none other than Kim Jong-un, the number one of the sinister and secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  

Plongeur

“A plongeur is a slave, and a wasted slave, doing stupid and largely unnecessary work. He is kept at work, ultimately, because of a vague feeling that he would be dangerous if he had leisure. And educated people, who should be on his side, acquiesce in the process, because they know nothing about him and consequently are afraid of him.” –George Orwell

It is better to be a contented cat

“It is good to be a cynic—it is better to be a contented cat — and it is best not to exist at all. Universal suicide is the most logical thing in the world—we reject it only because of our primitive cowardice and childish fear of the dark. If we were sensible we would seek death—the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.”

H.P. Lovecraft, Nietzscheism and Realism (October 1921)

(Source: hate-wizard)

The Bank

I am now earning £2 10s a week for sitting in an office from 9.15 to 5 with an hour for lunch, and tea served in the office. It’s not a princely salary, but there are good prospects of a rise [raise] as I become more useful. Perhaps it will surprise you to hear that I enjoy the work. It is not nearly so fatiguing as schoolteaching, and is more interesting, I have a desk and a filing cabinet in a small room with another man. The filing cabinet is my province, for it contains balance sheets of all the foreign banks with which Lloyd’s does business. These balances I file and tabulate in such a way as to show the progress or decline of every bank from year to year.—T.S. Eliot (via The Rumpus)

Transparent Studio Collaboration with Jaret Vadera

“For the collaborative project with writer James McGirk, we decided that we would do a dialogical writing piece. We agreed on two things: that it would be set in the future – around 2050; and that we would write as two characters meeting in a waiting area. Then, we developed our own characters without telling each other. And then let the story unfold through dialogue between our characters within the story as they were telling it.” Read about the Transparent Studio Collaboration…

Captain Samuel Clough on his Beloved Cat

“My Boate has filled with odd Beasties. Tho the Leathers of his nose make a fine tip for my cue, not even Snooker could tempt me to trim the Snout of such a mouser.” – Captain Samuel Clough on the polydactyl descendants of Marie Antoinette’s Turkish Angora, who roamed his ship for years after the original “Maine Coon” cat disembarked in Wiscasset, ME. (1793)