Against Self Improvement: The Negative Capability of Everyday Life

by Chris Horner Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason… —Keats. To become mature is to have regained the seriousness one had as a child at play. —Nietzsche Why do we want to know ourselves? Self knowledge seems like…

Patience With What is Strange: In Praise of Slow Art

by Chris Horner Less disappointing than life, great works of art do not begin by giving us all their best. —Proust …for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life. —Rilke Everything demands our attention. A ceaseless stream of electronic information and entertainment flows through and around us.…

Fire Alarm

by Chris Horner The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable:  greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.…[…] We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe. […] It is a a “code red for humanity. —António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General. The…

Things to Come: See, Hear and Read in 2023

by Chris Horner A look forward, and backward, to some ‘cultural stuff’ for the coming year, old and new things worth seeing, hearing or reading. Here we go: Tár.  Unless you have been cut off from all media in the last few months, you probably will have heard of this new movie from Todd Fields.…

Seen and Heard

by Chris Horner A choice of ‘cultural things’ I enjoyed in 2022 and which you might like, too. Some were from well before this year, but discovered by me in ’22.  Novel, non fiction, concert, recording, exhibition. Here we go: Novel: The Odd Women – George Gissing. This is the kind of novel which when…

Darkness Visible

by Christopher Horner Port Sunlight was a model village constricted in the Wirral, in the Liverpool area, by the Lever brothers, and especially under the inspiration of William Lever, later lord Leverhulme. Their fortune was based on the manufacture of soap, and the village was built next to the factory in the  Victorian/Edwardian era, for the…

Attention, Please!

by Chris Horner They all want it: the ‘digital economy’ runs on it, extracting it, buying and selling our attention. We are solicited to click and scroll in order to satisfy fleeting interests, anticipations of brief pleasures, information to retain or forget. Information: streams of data, images, chat: not knowledge, which is something shaped to…

Music for Pleasure

by Chris Horner No man is a hypocrite in his pleasures —Dr Johnson Without music life would be a mistake —Nietzsche Music started for me with whatever was blaring out of the radio, and later those 45 rpm ‘single’ records that were the main vehicles of listening pleasure for teenagers in the late twentieth century.…