1. Joan of Arc by Albert Lynch (1851-1912)

    engraving from Figaro Illustre magazine, 1903

    (Source: paintingses, via jeremyjohnirons)


  2. stcelestine said: What about 51, 52, and 96?

    52. What story (book, movie, game, etc.) have you learned the most from?

    The best answer I can think of to this are the stories that taught me to read, which were by Beatrix Potter. If I hadn’t first learned about Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck’s poor life choices, my subsequent learning would have been greatly curtailed.

    96. If you had a tagline, what would it be?

    ‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.’ I could probably come up with something better if I’d had coffee today. Actually, that would also be an accurate tagline.

    51. Describe the ultimate dystopia.

    A big question, so I left it until last. My current view would tend towards a chaotic rather than an over-ordered dystopia, in which government had broken down and climate change was undermining society both literally (buildings being swept away by floods) and figuratively (daily life involving much greater exposure to risk). To me, what gives a dystopia its power to horrify is plausibility as an extrapolation, so the vague description above is basically life in the failed states of the developing world. No guarantee of safety, of health, of access to electricity, water, or food. What I think would make it the ultimate dystopia would be to add to that general insecurity and freak weather a worldwide outbreak of ebola virus. (Ebola is an absolutely terrifying disease, I wish I knew less about it.) There would be persistent rumours that the 1% have a vaccine or treatment, providing a glimmer of hope that is then dashed. Those rich enough to do so would seal themselves off behind walls, with drones to pick off anyone trying to break their quarantine. Outside these citadels, panic and government breakdown would undermine attempts to control the disease and people would begin to scapegoat minorities for blame (probably on racial lines, given the origin of ebola).

    I am fascinated by how brittle the linkages we totally rely on for daily life could turn out to be given multiple disasters. So climate change would spread the ebola outbreak as storms, desertification, and flooding force mass movements of refugees. Climate upheaval would also undermine the interconnections between energy systems, international trade, and governments. But to my mind, the real tip into chaos would be precipitated by the withdrawal into fear & panic of the people in control of a large proportion of the world’s assets. Given how destructive the richest are whilst merely protecting and enhancing their wealth, I can only imagine how much worse things would be if they were seeking to preserve themselves at any cost.

    This isn’t an especially original dystopia, nor does it require much suspension of disbelief. That’s what scares me about it. But to give it some colour… The Murdoch dynasty would have giant mechs, the UK Royal Family would be sacrificed on top of the Thames barrier to protect London from flooding, and China would clamp down on panic by imitating Stalinist Russia in the 1930s, except with all the advantages of technology that Stalin did not have. Facebook and google’s drones would get into pitched battles with considerable collateral damage. American survivalists would be insufferably smug, until located and overrun by the terrified and heavily armed general population. An antipope would rise, occupy parts of the Vatican, and make pronouncements about the end of days. I’m not sure what Nicolas Cage would do, but it would be spectacularly batshit insane. Maybe he would be the antipope! Finally, to symbolise the collapse of civilisation, the UL would burn down.


  3. I was awake until gone 6am with insomnia and am not feeling at all dynamic today, so by all means ask me some more questions from this list.

  4. (Source: zepsternerd, via katzenfabrik)


  5. Meme Question 44

    44. What was your most memorable dream?

    It’s a tie between a dream I had at about the age of seven and one I had much later. The former has stayed with me because I dreamed of my existence before I was born, as a consciousness floating bodiless in space. There was some huge significant shape in space that I’ve never been able to describe but can vividly remember. It nags me sometimes, that maybe if I could describe that shape I would understand something fundamental and important. It was an absolutely mind-bending dream and it happened before I’d even started reading science fiction!

    The latter dream occurred when I was 23, after I’d watched The Mighty Boosh for the first time. But two years before Inception, please note. I wrote it down at the time before any of the details faded (cut for length).

    Read More


  6. katzenfabrik said: Thank you for the questions! Could you answer 7, 44, 70, 82 and 86 please? xx

    7. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

    I’m really not sure, but the best recent one was a stranger on goodreads saying that my prolific reading was an inspiration. I was really touched by that.

    70. What is something you find difficult to talk about, even though you know you should?

    Probably my rather messed-up relationship with my body. This tends to manifest as ignoring or misunderstanding its needs, for example, thinking that hunger is actually fatigue and/or forgetting to eat. I also need to get better at talking about my PhD. My default response to, “How’s your PhD going?” is, “Who knows??”

    82. Describe an ideal day.

    (I interpret this as a day that hasn’t actually happened.) I would sleep late and wake remembering some exciting dream, then be brought coffee in bed by a butler. I’d be staying in a mansion with a huge garden that’s always covered in snow. The day would be spent walking in the snow, reading beside an open fire, playing with my rabbits and baby panda, and humiliating unpleasant politicians in subtle but devastating ways. In the evening friends would come over for supper. They’d cook, I’d wash up, and we’d have a lengthy and rambling conversation on many topics.

    86. What is something unusual about you that not a lot of people know?

    I am unusually averse to mobile phones. As a teenager I insisted that I wouldn’t get one ‘until it could be implanted in my ear’. I was the only person in my sixth form not to succumb. When I went to university my parents insisted that I get one so they could keep in touch. I subsequently spent a year of student life, maybe more, sharing a mobile with a friend. She carried it and told me if someone was trying to contact me. These days, my mobile is permanently set on silent, so I can only tell if someone is calling or texting if I happen to be looking at it. The actual phone is a cast-off from a friend that I’ve had for five years.

    I’m by no means a luddite, but I find mobile phones intrusive and irritating. Whilst they are clearly useful for organisational purposes, they also seem to have fatally undermined the social norm of punctuality. Needless to say, I really don’t want a smartphone, as they appear exponentially more intrusive and distracting. Basically, I’d rather not be connected and contactable all the time. 

    I’m posting the answer to 44 separately, as it’s very long! xxx


  7. 100 Excellent Questions (Anyone ask me some please)

    1. 1. If there were one word which was automatically to your name in Google searches, which word would you want it to be?
    2. 2. What is a goal that you recently met?
    3. 3. What is your favourite time of day?
    4. 4. Name a celebrity you find attractive.
    5. 5. What is one of the best pieces of advice you have ever received?
    6. 6. What is the ultimate gesture of total trust?
    7. 7. What is the best compliment you have ever received?
    8. 8. What is something you have changed your mind about?
    9. 9. What is something you’ve never changed your mind about?
    10. 10. Rewrite the end of a fairy tale.
    11. 11. Choose one: you will never misunderstand the meaning of what someone else is saying OR nobody will ever misunderstand what you say.
    12. 12. If offered irreversible immortality, would you take it?
    13. 13. In your opinion, what are the most important qualities of a good friend?
    14. 14. If you could be a founding member of a space colony, with the caveat that you would never be able to return to Earth, would you go?
    15. 15. What is your favourite superpower? Why?
    16. 16. If you were a book, which book would you be?
    17. 17. If you found out that your life was a book, and you met your author, what would you say to them?
    18. 18. How would you prefer to die?
    19. 19. What is your favourite paradox?
    20. 20. Tell us five facts about your first love, or, if you haven’t had one yet, invent the story of meeting your first love.
    21. 21. If you could live anywhere for a year, where would you live?
    22. 22. If you could visit anywhere for a week, where would you go?
    23. 23. You can only read one genre of books for the rest of your life. Which genre do you read?
    24. 24. Define “love.”
    25. 25. Define “justice.”
    26. 26. Define “truth.”
    27. 27. Define “art.”
    28. 28. Define “good.”
    29. 29. Define “obscene.”
    30. 30. What one thing in the world would be hardest for you to give up?
    31. 31. What is one thing you regret?
    32. 32. What is something that you have done that you are proud of?
    33. 33. Is it easier to talk or to listen?
    34. 34. When are you vulnerable?
    35. 35. If you met God, what would you say to God?
    36. 36. Would it be harder to tell someone you loved them if you weren’t sure how they would respond, or have to tell someone that you didn’t love them back?
    37. 37. Excluding romantic love, when was the last time you told someone you loved them? Who were they to you?
    38. 38. What is your worst quality?
    39. 39. What is your best quality?
    40. 40. What is your most immediately noticeable quality?
    41. 41. What is the first thing you notice about other people?
    42. 42. Describe one of your closest friends, and explain why that person is such a close friend.
    43. 43. What happened in the last dream you remember?
    44. 44. What was your most memorable dream?
    45. 45. Two truths and a lie.
    46. 46. If you were having a baby with the love of your life, and they insisted that the child be named after a place, what would you name your child?
    47. 47. What is the last lie you told?
    48. 48. Is it possible for you to love someone you don’t trust?
    49. 49. What motivates you most?
    50. 50. What is your favourite narrative trope?
    51. 51. Describe the ultimate dystopia.
    52. 52. What story (book, movie, game, etc.) have you learned the most from?
    53. 53. What is something you wish other people could know about you without you having to tell them?
    54. 54. Describe a moment you experienced something unexpectedly beautiful.
    55. 55. What is the biggest challenge you face when trying to form relationships with people?
    56. 56. How close do you think your perception of yourself is to how other people perceive you?
    57. 57. What is something you used to be afraid of, but aren’t anymore?
    58. 58. What is the most important emotion?
    59. 59. Do you think humans are any different than very advanced organic robots? If so, how?
    60. 60. If you had to move somewhere else, what would you miss most from where you are now?
    61. 61. If you were a videogame character, what would your iconic weapon be?
    62. 62. What is an aspect of your personality now that would come as a surprise to your younger self?
    63. 63. If you could eliminate one event from the last month, which event would it be?
    64. 64. If you had to forget the entire last year except for one 24 hour period, which day would you chose to remember? (Other people would remember, and you would have anything you wrote down or recorded during that time period - you would just have a form of amnesia.)
    65. 65. What is the most upsetting thing anyone has ever said to you?
    66. 66. If you had to pick only one ideal or cause to work toward, what would it be?
    67. 67. Are there any unforgivable actions? What are they?
    68. 68. Under what circumstances is keeping information secret acceptable or morally required?
    69. 69. What is one of your favourite ways to relax?
    70. 70. What is something you find difficult to talk about, even though you know you should?
    71. 71. What is an easy, default topic of conversation?
    72. 72. What is your favourite sort of conversation?
    73. 73. What is a version of you in an alternate reality doing right now?
    74. 74. What was the last adorable thing you saw?
    75. 75. Would you prefer for people to hate you or for people to be completely indifferent to you?
    76. 76. Would you prefer to be yelled at or ignored?
    77. 77. What is your favourite word and why?
    78. 78. What is your dream job?
    79. 79. What is the most difficult thing you’ve done this month?
    80. 80. When was the last time you were really scared?
    81. 81. What do you want most?
    82. 82. Describe an ideal day.
    83. 83. If you could speak to any real (non-fictional) person, living or dead for one hour, who would it be?
    84. 84. In general, are you happy with the person you have become?
    85. 85. Do you want to be a parent?
    86. 86. What is something unusual about you that not a lot of people know?
    87. 87. What makes you you?
    88. 88. Are you lonelier when you’re with people or when you’re alone?
    89. 89. What makes you feel safe?
    90. 90. What was the last bad decision you made?
    91. 91. Who is someone you have utmost respect for, and what is it about that person that makes you esteem them so highly?
    92. 92. What was the last thing you laughed uncontrollably at?
    93. 93. Your friend tells you that they are suicidal, and asks you not to tell anyone. Is it more of a betrayal to tell someone, or to keep silent?
    94. 94. What song speaks to you most? Why?
    95. 95. What basic values or principles do you turn to when faced with moral dilemmas?
    96. 96. If you had a tagline, what would it be?
    97. 97. If applicable, what do you look for in a romantic partner?
    98. 98. Who is your favourite author?
    99. 99. Who is the one person you know who is most similar to you (in terms of personality, beliefs, attitudes, mannerisms, etc)?
    100. 100. What are you most excited about right now?
  8. coutugh:

    Vivien Solari photographed by Scott Trindle for Twin #10 S/S 2014

    (via hellotailor)

  10. Marlene Dietrich with her husband, Rudolf Sieber, at a train station in Paris. Both arrived from Hollywood, May 20th, 1930

    (Source: sharontates, via sharontates)