“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breath free.”

This is an extract from the poem that lies at the proud feet of America’s Statue of Liberty that, when first built, served as a beacon to travellers and immigrants as they neared their soon-to-be home. It served as a symbolic gateway to a new life; a free life, where a person was able to pursue his or her dreams, with honesty and integrity, and above all, without fear of persecution or undue judgement.

In this new era however, a unseen country has arisen in the wake of the digital age; a new domain for men and women, children and adults, to express themselves, to open themselves, to find themselves; and like Narnia or Hogwarts or countless other realms of fantasy and imagination, this parallel universe is accessed via a magical portal.

Well, I still think iPads and android phones are pretty magical, anyway.

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For too long have I borne sad witness to the folly of a coffee maker brewing a cup of tea. This isn’t some slap-dash, hasty, get it done fast kind of job; this is an art form. It takes time, precision, and patience. So don’t screw it up.

Start off with a decent brand. My favourite is Twinning’s. Loose leaf is good if you have the time and the inclination, but a bag can be equally delightful. I’m awfully partial to a spot of Lapsang Souchong, but for this example, I’ll give the instructions applicable to a bag of simple, traditional, breakfast tea. Continue reading

While at work today, I saw a group of men watching the BBC news, which at the time was featuring the story of Julian Assange and his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy. The ‘alpha‘ of the group started running his inebriated mouth of about how terrible it was that Assange was still able to stay at the embassy, and how he ought to have been assassinated. I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and say that this man probably had no idea of the circumstances that led to Assange’s current diplomatic turmoil, but he was loudly voicing his opinion either way. Now Assange’s innocence or guilt in regards to the sexual assault charges in Sweden are of no concern to me, and as such, I have no opinion of the matter; however, hearing the utter ignorance in this man’s voice was really winding me up, and after a good ten minutes of listening to himself speak, he blurted out a sentence that I may never forget.
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So, I’ll try to make this brief… There may be a few tangents, and I’m really tired.

I was walking home from work tonight, exhausted after 13 hours shared between two jobs. It was about 11.45 at night and on my side of the street ahead of me was a pack of youths. I don’t know what the collective noun for hooded reprobates is really; a gaggle of chavs, a flock of delinquents? Anyway… I call them youths; it sums it up nicely, derogatory enough to convey my meaning, condescending enough to convey my sarcasm. I don’t know what age I was when I began to refer to ‘punk kids’ as ‘youths’, but I think it was around the time I once saw a 13 year with a cigarette who was so indifferent and unintelligent, that he tried to spit on the floor, as so many smokers do, and couldn’t be bothered to turn his head to the left or right, thus combined with the forward momentum of his walking meant he spat on his own shoe. Anyway, they were youths, and I decided to avoid them for some reason. They were drunk and loud and boisterous, and I couldn’t be bothered to be near them. I figured I’d just cross the street.

This is where shit went wrong.

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I went to get my ring finger sized yesterday, I won’t go into why…

Anyway! I tried on a test ring, and was told that if I had a normal ring, I would be a size R. No problems so far. However, the lady then said that if I were to get a broader ring, I’d probably be a size Q and a half. Problem encountered.
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This is a story about a boy named Alexander Green.

Alexander really wanted to be a goth. Lots of boys at his school were goth kids and he thought they were very cool. He would often try to hang out with them, but they told him to go away because of his apparent love of conformity and rules. They told him that he didn’t understand. Ironically, Alexander didn’t understand what it was that he was being accused of not understanding.

One day, Alexander decided to become a goth.

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Unlike where I grew up, which had a decent(ish) mixture of races and cultures, the place I currently live is quite segregated; and as such, a lot of the people here have quite a myopic view on the subject of middle-eastern immigration.

“They should go back where they came from.”

There’s a famous, but often mis-quoted, phrase, that states that being born an Englishman is like winning the greatest lottery in the world. We have freedoms here, and in all of the western world, that so many could scarcely imagine. In this instance, I’m not talking about the right to eat food and drink clean water that people in so many starving third world countries don’t have. I speak of the many areas of the middle-east, where families have to worry about their children being blown apart on the way to school, where they have to worry about their livelihood, be it a shop or a farm or a restaurant or whatever, being destroyed or looted by thugs and armed terrorists. The ideal that a country exists where they can go, and not have to worry about their loved ones being forcibly drafted into extremist militia, being blown apart by stray bombings or terrorist attacks, must be as near a vision of heaven on earth as they may find, and a lucky few may earn enough or fight hard enough to earn safe passage to England or America or anywhere else where such liberties are granted. Telling them to go ‘home‘ is effectively sentencing them to a life or hardship and danger, simply because they weren’t fortunate enough to be born where you were.

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A guy I know showed me a Facebook profile picture of a girl on his phone today. He had covered up her face, leaving only a fairly large, not fat but ‘chunky’, body, with thick legs and a barrel-chest. Guy: What do you think of that? Alright body, eh? I naturally assumed this to be […]

It’s a weird concept, isn’t it; to have a ‘best‘ friend. I find it strange enough; the notion that while you may have lots of friends, one of them in particular is universally agreed to be the one that you like the most, but what’s even stranger is when someone refers to themselves as someone else’s best friend. That’s weird, right? On the one hand, you can be saying to a friend who isn’t your best friend, that someone else is your best friend, and that basically translates as “Have you met Charlie? He’s that guy that I like more than I like you.”, but then for another person to refer to themselves as someone’s best friend is like a declaration that they like you more than they like anyone else. It’s like saying “Oh, hi. I’m Charlie, the guy that Matt likes more than he likes you.”

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There are a lot of misunderstandings regarding self-harm, many of which have lead to ostracising behaviour and unkind prejudices. I try not to write too often about anything personal on this blog, but I was confronted with a reminder of this topic at work today, when a young girl came and spoke to me, and I could see the old, familiar white lines across her wrists and forearms.

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