Thursday, 23 February 2012


Sorry blog. I know it’s been a long time. hopefully I’ll get a chance this weekend. Here is a taster:

Sunday, 12 February 2012

the further north i go


Photo by Anne-Lise, a French school teacher who I met volunteering for the Red Cross in Christmas of 2010. She has a wicked sense of humour, patience and a strong sense of self.

Iceland changed and saved my life in more ways than I can go into detail here. I could never quite explain what it means to me, but here I shall try. By quoting myself. 

“A symbol and theme throughout my life has been that the highest form of joy and achievement is to be myself all of the time, and I have often said that the further north I go, the more I can do exactly that.”

“In the overwhelming love I felt for a number of people I met in Iceland, it’s easy to look over the love I feel for Iceland itself. It’s so honest. I would like to go back and discover its power. Escape the cities and just run and swim and roll and laugh and lie and chew the cud in the fervent mountains and rivers, lakes and shores, caves and grassy banks and soaring arches and watertumbles, fjords and faults and cliffs and endless sunshine.”

“I’m so full of inspiration and energy and just… joy! I can’t remember the last time I felt like this… Coming back from Iceland, I am so inspired and uplifted as if I feel like I’ve just taken a deep breath, like the air in my chest is fresh as mountain air and my speech is all in sheer italics. I feel like the grey film from my life has been shifted and lifted and wiped away and now I can see the cloud forests in Madagascar and the sweet dew in the morning breeze and like I’m walking on clouds and silver linings are all around and all other saccharine thoughts and clich├ęs are cushioning my step.”

“Apart from anything else, I think I love this country because I sometimes feel like Iceland: remote, unlike anything else, sometimes overseen yet unexpectedly explosive and troubled, beautifully complex, ruled by nature, creative and full of impossible dreams, always changing (literally), full of oddities and fucking awesome.”

I haven’t even mentioned the elves or Retro Stefson or the yellow lighthouses or the weird obsession with liquorice or the alcohol which tastes like dust and piss and cough syrup or the wind chill factor or the smell of whale or the volcanoes or the hitchhiking or the opera singers and Viking cowboys and prison guards or the Blue Mountains and the mountains of waffles or the green smiling faces or Babalu or the waterfalls or the moon or the hot tubs.

Eugh. Splurge.

What is my life.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

this post is totally metameta

This blew my mind.

So my favourite words are usually prefixes: quasi-, ante-, meta- (I'm an Oxford student, ok, allow me to fulfil at least SOME of the stereotypes of being a pretensious ass).



The use of 'meta' in metaphysics, metafiction, metaemotion as meaning "about", or "an abstraction of" or let's put it simply, the physics of physics (philosophy) fiction about fiction, emotion about emotion etc is BASED ON A MISINTERPRETATION of the original use of 'metaphysics'! 


In Ancient Greek, "meta" links to "change" or "after, higher, beyond" (all of which come from the Proto-Indo European root "*me-" which has to do with "in the midst of", like, in the midst of something suggests being interchangeable suggests change i dunno PIE is a hot mess) ANYWAY originally "metaphysics" refered to that which was after the Physics, i.e. after Aristotle's writings on physics. It did not mean "scientific thought beyond actual scientific thought" i.e. philosophy.

I'm so heartbroken! No longer can I say "that's so meta"! :(

... or can I?

Listen, this is my favourite things about languages. Words can change meaning and the new meaning is just as legitimate as the old one. Even more so, in this case. Think of all the words which have changed meaning and whose older meanings are now defunct and coutnerintuitive: punk (whore), awful (awe-inspiring), prove (test). 

Languages change, evolve, grow, breathe, shape history and are shaped by it. This is why I get so irritated about people who are pernickety about 'correct' usage and 'original' meaning not changing. No, meta did not originally mean what it means today. That doesn't make its current users ignorant or wrong. It makes them progressive without knowing it.

Languages are wonderful.