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When I stumbled alone into the real world at 17, I decided my best chance of survival was to trust whatever hodgepodge bunch of humans I encountered next.

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Keeping up appearances

In Britain, the most explicit examples of how we view our family ties can be found on the telly. Soap operas (such as Eastenders or Coronation Street) make it look as if we think of family ‘units’ as nothing more than aggressive branding exercises.

The infamous ‘Mitchell’ family, for instance, have always harboured an unhealthy obsession with the esteem of their name. …

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Back to the beginning

I wrote an article in 2018, outlining what it felt like when I started to take the anti-depressant Citalopram in 2017. Across four years, my dose changed from 20mg, to 30mg, and 40mg. This was to address an elusive ‘chemical imbalance’ in my brain.

Why did I quit? After increasing my dose, year after year, and trying and failing to reduce it, I saw a life sentence ahead. I became disconnected and unthinking, unconscious. My behaviour grew self-destructive and life was grey. My ‘balance’ felt artificial.

I didn’t quit cold turkey and I wouldn’t recommend doing that. Instead, I lowered…

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Whether you’re commandeering a military spacecraft or lurking in the shadows of Mordor, a cough or a sneeze simply won’t do. You want an ailment that’s on-brand and as awful as you are. But which is best?

10. Immortan Joe (Mad Max)

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Some scores sit well alongside the stories that inspired their on-screen adaptations (Showtime’s Dexter or the Picture of Dorian Gray, for example), but the most exciting reading experiences can stem from pairing books with a left-field choice of soundtrack.

A tip: listen on shuffle. If the track doesn’t fit the chapter, skip it. If the scene is calm, you’ll need a track to match.

Here are some highly recommended combinations you might like to try.

8. Life on the Preservation (Jack Skillingstead) / House of Cards (Jeff Beal)

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We’re heads down, wide-eyed, bathed in a soft, blue glow; we’re escorted through a multiverse assembled by algorithms and routinely squirted with dopamine. Happy little vegetables.

Lightning in a bottle

You probably know about echo-chambers and Machiavellian political campaigns (watch The Great Hack on Netflix for a deeper analysis). We largely accept that corporations clamber for our likes, dislikes, and our inner-most desires because they want us to spend longer looking at ads. But as we learn more about the addictive designs of modern tech (see also The Social Dilemma and Screened Out), it’s tempting to toss our phones aside and live in a…

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Are there any blogs you regularly revisit? If I described them as droll, predictable, or soulless you’d probably disagree.

They’re not long or convoluted — they might be short and snappy — but there’s surely more to them than facts and figures. The copy’s got edge — it’s got life. You might even say it has a personality.

What are brands with personality doing differently?

The brands you recognise as having a personality are invested in a thorough tone of voice document — and their copywriters aren’t afraid to use it.

Usually, this document offers all kinds of advice regarding brand positioning and ‘characteristics’, keywords, consistency, and…

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I had attended counseling, tried cognitive behavioural therapy, drank herbal teas, and read self-help books, but I’d always slip back into an unbearable pit of despair. Sometimes within a few weeks, sometimes it’d take years. I was hospitalised before I finally decided to see my doctor about medication.

He gave me a prescription for Citalopram and I waited a month before I took any for fear of its negative effects. When I did finally begin treatment, I recognised that I was becoming uncharacteristically furious very quickly.

I thought it might be beneficial to keep a log of how things felt…


Just a writer, writing.

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