Candice Holdsworth

Semantic sorcery: Using words to bewitch, conjure and transfigure

For 21 years the writer Alan Moore has been a practicing magician. He says in this interview  that on his fortieth birthday, “rather than bore my friends by having anything as mundane as a mid-life crisis, I decided it might be more interesting to terrify them by going completely mad and declaring myself to be…

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Psychonauts: Blasting off into mindspace

“I didn’t know if it was my birth I was re-experiencing; or my death, which was yet to come. This is the actual core of where all of reality is emanating from. This is where meaning comes from. Symbols were pouring out, they were intertwined, every symbol and letter in every language was pouring out…

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Why does religion need God?

I’m sure many of you reading this will have heard the words: “I’m not an atheist, I’m agnostic.” Perhaps you have even uttered them yourself? Depending on your interlocutor, it’s a statement unlikely to surprise or astound in any way. A slight re-ordering of this sentence into: “I’m an agnostic atheist,” seems to provoke a…

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Facebook: A life laid out in linear form

Newborn babies have started appearing on my Facebook news feed, lovingly cradled by people that not too long ago (it seems) were holding bottles of cheap vodka with such tender care, playing disastrously drunken games of table tennis together, still in their first year of university, innocent and unaffected, with delusions of adulthood. I recently…

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The Silk Road: should drugs be legalised?

Please excuse the brief nature of this blog, the subject definitely merits a longer discussion at some point, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the recent closure of The Silk Road drugs bazaar and the arrest of the person whom the FBI believe to be its founder, Ross Ulbricht, and more generally on…

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Breaking Bad: An epic for our time?

*Reassurance: Does not contain spoilers*   Best description of the last episode of Breaking Bad: “Tense, witty, violent, oddly tender.”   So last night I saw the conclusion of Breaking Bad, a major pop culture event and the end of a television series that has excitedly been called “the best of all time”. I must…

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This should be about Syria, but it’s about Space Barbie

Pending the vote on Syria in Congress, which has been delayed while Barack Obama considers other, more diplomatic options, the topic of this blog is a certain Ukrainian YouTuber known as the “real-life Barbie” or as Vice has crowned her: “Space Barbie.” Valeria Lukyanova (Space Barbie) has made somewhat of a name for herself online…

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The boy George: He will reign but not rule

The fanfare has died down quite a bit now, but last week’s media chatter pretty revolved around the arrival of The Royal Baby aka George Alexander Louis. Right now he is completely blissfully ignorant as to the significance of his birth and royal fate. I wonder at what age he will start to realise that…

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conservative with a small c and Liberal with a capital L

I recently listened to an engrossing discussion on BBC radio, featuring Douglas Murray and Peter Hitchens, about modern day conservatism as distinct from classical liberalism or libertarianism, and in contemporary Britain, Toryism. It’s usually very difficult to systematise conservatism as it generally eschews such rigidity, and true to its name seems more content to “conserve”…

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Fracking and Utopia

An engineer recently said to me that there’s no such thing as a perfect system. He was referring to software development, but the concept was not unfamiliar to me, as Utopia is something that political theorists have been discussing for centuries. It is always there, whether referred to implicitly or explicitly in the academic literature….

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