Archive for beautiful things

Ten Twitter Feeds of Joy

Twitter is an incredibly flexible medium: diary, conversation, promotional tool, link collection, repository of tiny fiction, joke factory, confessional. And sometimes, work of art. For example:


What is it?

Washing instructions delivered in the tone of a despairing apocalyptic scream.

Why is it?

BECAUSE IT IS!!!!! Also, because it just gets funnier with every tweet. At least if you’re a fan of being told how to wash laundry in excitable capslock, which it turns out I am.

Sample tweets:



see also: nothing else is really like hysterical laundry, but some good all-caps accounts include Feminist Hulk, Drunk Hulk and Film Critic Hulk.

Friends season 11

What is it?

Tweet-length pitches for a new season of Friends.

Why is it?

Because somewhere, I choose to believe that a small and imaginative film crew is actually producing these, possibly using Lego version of the actors. Or finger puppets. If nobody is doing this, I suggest they start now.

Sample tweets:

‘The One Where An Unlikely Number Of Limbs Burst From Rachel’s Torso Like Spring-Loaded Toy Snakes.’

‘The One Where Monica’s Birthday Is Ruined When The Clown Rachel Hired Performs A Impenetrable Beckettian Monologue About Decay And Memory.’

This is Iceland

What is it?

It is the tweet of the country Iceland. Not the government. The actual land.

Why is it?

Because Iceland wants to be your friend. And because this, in an ideal world, would be the start of a global trend which resulted in every country in the world having its own Twitter account.

Sample tweets:

‘Many humans are talking about same-sex marriage. It is not only legal on me, but my people’s prime minister is a woman, married to a woman.’

‘I am bigger and brighter and wider than snow.’

See also: We Are Ukraine

My Toaster

What is it?

It’s a toaster.

Why is it?

It toasts, therefore it is. Also it has 1,500 followers, which isn’t bad considering it mainly alternates between two tweets. Which are below.

Sample tweets:


‘Done Toasting’

see also: pothos, although that has more of an actual function.

Tweet of God

What is it?

It is the Word of God in sardonic 140-character form.

Why is it?

Because if the Tweet of God is anything to go by, God has some things to get off his or her chest. And has picked up a few modern idioms since the Bible. Also, apparently the only human he likes is Justin Bieber.

Sample tweets:

‘Next time you feel guilty about the kind of world you’re leaving behind for your children, remember how whiny they get in the car.’

‘If for budgetary reasons I had to eliminate one of the three dimensions of space, which one would you miss the least? Just, uh, asking.’

Feral Pigeon

What is it?

It’s the life of a Trafalgar Square pigeon. I don’t know which one. Maybe that grey one over there, in the corner, with the tiny laptop.

Why is it?

Presumably even pigeons need creative expression.

Sample tweets:

‘flap flap’

‘coo coo coo’

‘shifty look’

The Scream

What is it?

It’s the painting The Scream in word form.

Why is it?

Because it has a mouth and it must scream?

Sample tweets:

‘AAaaaaaahhhhh!!! #moveslikejagger’

‘Aaaaaaaahhhhh!!!! #ImNotCrying #IToldYouImNotCrying’

Hirst Skull

What is it?

It’s Damien Hirst’s skull. Not his actual skull, though that would be interesting too. The shiny art one.

Why is it?

Possibly to keep Hirst Shark company.

Sample tweets:

‘I’m eyeless’

‘I’m noseless’

‘I shine’

Hipster Dalek

What is it?

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but Twitter is overrun by Daleks. Republican, Communist, unemployed. poetic, flamboyant, happy, lethargic – every flavour is represented. (Including, for all I know, actual flvours. Raspberry ripple Dalek, anyone?) The one thing they have in common is that they all want to exterminate you. Yes, you specifically. Hipster Dalek is a bit more laid back about it than most, though.

Why is it?

Because Daleks are people too. Well, no, they’re not, but they still get to listen to indie bands.

Sample tweets:



Not Tilda swinton

What is it?

It is a thing of beauty, a joy forever, and (I assume) nothing to do with the actual Tilda Swinton. It’s also the newest big thing on Twitter: when I started following her a couple of days ago she had about 400 followers, now it’s over 15,000.

Why is it?

I think she may mean to kill us all. But we won’t mind because she will do it so beautifully.

Sample tweets:

‘I spent a year riding a grizzly bear piggy-back, my legs tied into his fur. He was my brawn, and I was his brain. We were called Prita.’

‘Ask your neighbor over today. Cover your basement floor with salt and pebbles; braid each other’s hair while weeping. This is connection.’

‘I once dove to the deepest part of the sea, only to tell the ugliest fish they were beautiful to me. They told me they needed no pity.’


I Am Sad Because I’m Not Beautiful Like Samantha Brick

A few weeks ago I read an article about Shin In Geun, the first person known to escape from a North Korean prison camp. Up until today I thought he had probably the hardest life I’d ever read about: institutionalised, tortured, controlled. And yet today that crown has been stolen. Stand back Shin: Samantha’s here.

Yes. Samantha Brick, handily named for the item you most want to throw at her, has written today in the Daily Mail about her own torture: being too pretty. Her ethereal, transcendent beauty leads women to hate her (although, as per an earlier article, luckily it’s also brought her enormous wealth) and this makes her sad.

Not sad enough to stop working out and eat her own bodyweight in chocolate, though, which has always been my preferred method of preventing men from throwing themselves in front of me as I walk down the street. (It was getting annoying having to step over the bodies.) And not sad enough to wear a bag over her head, which would presumably solve many of her problems, although it might create some new ones.

I’m sure that being pretty does bring its own problems. But like complaining about having too much money, it’s not really a great idea to go public with your issues in this area. There’s really no way of coming out of it well. Particularly if you’ve already written about how great it is being attractive, which was the point at which any lingering sympathy I’d had trotted off into the distance, muttering darkly to itself.

And yet perhaps I should sympathise. Brick is a product of her environment, and I can only imagine that said environment was startlingly shallow and image-obsessed. More generally, she’s a product of a society which does have a very polarised and contradictory view of women’s appearance. Moreover, Mail writers are apparently often manipulated into writing what the paper wants. Maybe Samantha Brick is a modest, unassuming woman who is about to sue the Mail for gross misrepresentation.

Maybe not. But possibly I shouldn’t actually pick up that brick.


Five Tips for Winter (That May Only Be Useful If You’re Me)

1. If you can’t find a matching pair, it’s perfectly ok to wear one black leather glove and one fuzzy rainbow glove. It’s also fine to rearrange your outfit to match the look: perhaps a black leather bodysuit with a furry multicoloured trim? One black leather shoe and one fuzzy bright pink slipper should complete the look, making you feel both toasty warm and enjoyably eccentric.

2. If it snows, move a wardrobe to be against your front door. Cut a doorway-sized hole in the back and pretend the outside world is Narnia. You can then choose to go exploring for Aslan – a toy lion or local good-natured cat will be all the props you need – or if you prefer, snuggle up on the sofa and claim you can’t leave the house in case the White Witch gets you.

3.. Pack your razors away for the next six months! Beards and body hair are nature’s way of providing insulation. If you feel unkempt, try plaiting the hair into tiny elaborate shapes, to make it clear that this is a conscious fashion choice on your part. This will also provide employment during the months of darkness, and teach you valuable craft skills sure to be useful in later life.

(Speaking of beards, by the way, my friend Mat is growing one for charity. Think how much more luxuriant it could get if watered by your money.)

4. Furry hats that make you look as though a wild animal is devouring you are a valid fashion choice for adults as well as children. If a passer-by misunderstands the situation and attempts to rip your hat off in order to rescue you, simply view it as a fun conversation-starter.

5. If you wish to avoid turning the heating up from motives of economy or environmentalism, a handy alternative is to vividly remember something embarrassing that once happened to you. The resulting hot flush of shame will provide valuable warmth and a pleasing rosy glow. And if you share the experience with your loved ones, their affectionate laughter will provide material for the next time you need that warming memory. Free self-replicating heating!

(Bonus genuine tip: my sister’s gorgeous quilts, blankets, balls and bags are the ideal Christmas present for any babies in your life.)



Toygers, invisible art, and face emoticons

Links! Which are, as always, connected by nothing more than the fact that I like them.

- What should I read next? you may ask yourself, on the occasion of finishing a book. This website answers your question based on existing reader data. I tried it with a couple of favourites and it recognised them and offered reasonable-looking suggestions.

- If you see Einstein, you don’t need glasses. If you see Marilyn Monroe, you do. That’s really all you need to know.

- Cats bred to look like tiny tigers. Can we have tiny lions next? Then I want budgies that resemble cute little mini vultures. I have my reasons.

Handy pocket size, and they probably won't eat your face.

- Once people read books. Welcome to the new world, where they function as technology accessories. (OK, I kind of want this.)

- Like baths? Like boats? You’re going to want to see this.

- Notebook full of photos of New York walls for you to draw on, so you can pretend to be a street artist. Nice.

- I know this is incredibly easy to mock, but I quite like living in a world where someone will pay money for works of art that only exist in the artist’s head.

- Emotion-enhancing glasses, on the the other hand, are just silly. But kind of appealing. Maybe.

- And if your appetite for Things off the Internet remains unsated, try these Simple Ideas That Are Borderline Genius.


Further tasty virtual flies from the Web

- These toy photography pictures are very pretty. I think most people who possess both toys and camera must have tried this (or at least I have: see picture).

A toy lion at a festival

My pet lion at the Big Chill festival

Be your Own Souvenir. Who doesn’t want a tiny plastic army version of themselves?

- Oh wow, little paper record players as wedding invitations.

- Now that we know you can hack traffic lights, I foresee many more instances of this, and possibly the collapse of the traffic light system, probably followed by the collapse of civilisation as we know it. The link, by the way, may not be worksafe, depending on how your work feels about pictures of little green electric people copulating.

- Lacking though my hands are in the ability to make small exquisite cupcakes, I still appreciate the fact that other people can do it. These topiary ones are lovely, the rainbow ones appeal to my inner rainbow, and the steampunk ones – well, if the phrase ‘steampunk cupcakes’ doesn’t make you want to grim maniacally, then clearly you’re not me.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: non-worksafe video of Creme Eggs having sex. Happy Easter.

- And finally, what I believe is the obligatory kitten link: Parenting is Thoroughly Sisyphean


The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Kneehigh is a Cornish theatre ensemble which has found success in London. I therefore identify with it, not because I am a Cornish theatre ensemble myself – although aren’t we all in a sense Cornish theatre ensembles? No? Anyway – but because like them, I grew up in Cornwall and then moved to London to seek my fortune. (I have not yet found my fortune, but I have found a shop that sells Japanese notepads with surreal quotes on them, so it was still worth moving.)

So I had affection for Kneehigh already, and then in 2006 I went to see their production of Nights at the Circus at the Hammersmith Lyric and fell hopelessly in love with them: their dark shiny style and their folky, staccato, instantly memorable songs and their offbeat self-aware humour and, well, everything. 

So this is basically to say: if you can, and if this trailer appeals to you at all, please consider going to see The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. It’s their current West End production, and it’s closing early (May 21st), and has tickets from £10. I’ve already booked my second visit, and I couldn’t swear there won’t be a third.

Because it’s lovely. It’s closely based on the 1964 French film, which is also sung through. (It’s been criticised for being too faithful to the original, but that’s a little unfair since that was the point of the whole thing.) It features people dancing while holding colourful balloons, and foamy rain, and sailors moving the main characters around like props, and an extremely French narrator who may steal your wine or tell you off for goosing her, and it’s a story about love, but not quite in the usual way. Unlike webcowgirl, I don’t find it heartbreaking; I find it oddly reassuring. But I won’t say any more, although it’s not a show that needs to worry about spoilers; the plot is only half the point, if that. The point, I guess, is the sheer beauty of it all.

It will, obviously, help if you like musicals. I understand that many people don’t, although I only understand that intellectually; emotionally I remain baffled. But then I was infected at an impressionable age (with Top Hat, initially) and ever since I have been of the opinion that life should include impromptu song and dance routines wherever possible. (My social inhibitions and lack of ability to either sing or dance are the reasons for my never having tried to put this into practice. I hope the world is suitably grateful.)

I suppose what baffles me is the people who complain, for example, about the way that musicals feature characters bursting into song in unrealistic ways. On this topic I am always reminded of a quote from the Kingsley Amis book The James Bond Dossier:

Either you smile appreciatively and nudge your neighbour and lean forward when – say – the saloon goes quiet as new marshal and town badman confront each other, or you groan and swear. If the second, you don’t like Westerns, and  perhaps would be best to avoid them.

Obvious, of course, but apparently it does need saying occasionally.

(Of course, the above quote may only work if you like Kingsley Amis, but I think I may be getting myself into some kind of recursive loop here so it’s probably best if I stop writing now.)