Berfrois

At this terrible Brexit moment…

At this terrible Brexit moment…

The British creativity I grew up with – in pop, fashion, poetry, the visual arts and the novel – has almost always come from outside the mainstream: from clubs, gay subcultures, the working class and from the street.

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‘My neo-vagina felt like the confirmation that I had been born transgender’

‘My neo-vagina felt like the confirmation that I had been born transgender’

I couldn’t write a book about sex, trans bodies and genitals, or the changes we make without being honest about my own inability to get it right or at least explore it openly and with self-respect.

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‘No aspiring writer sets out to be a minor writer’

‘No aspiring writer sets out to be a minor writer’

I’m not who I was supposed to be. No aspiring writer sets out to be a minor writer. I didn’t dream of growing up and writing books that sell modestly, are received quietly, and reviewed indifferently...

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Vienna-Despising Viennese

Vienna-Despising Viennese

Alone in Vienna, January sky smoothed and silvery over a thin lip of sunlight, streets windless, I sat in the Café Museum before a strudel and a cup of milky coffee, reading an Austrian novel propped open and freshly coffee stained.

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Story of Biafra

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Story of Biafra

Sitting in Baltimore, Chimamanda found that writing her Biafra novel was arousing in her a degree of obsessiveness that she had not experienced before...

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When the Literal and Metaphoric Control of the Gaze is Queered

When the Literal and Metaphoric Control of the Gaze is Queered

This decade has witnessed an increased focus on representing, discussing and experiencing difference in video games. Queer Game Studies, the first games studies volume to focus exclusively on LGBTQ issues.

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Alexander Chee continues to test the parameters of his identity…

Alexander Chee continues to test the parameters of his identity…

Years ago, Alexander Chee was attending a Wall Street book-club discussion of “Edinburgh,” his début novel, when “an otherwise nice white guy” asked him whether he had been a victim of sexual abuse...

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Our Shared Epistemology

Our Shared Epistemology

Like a lot of black girls coming of age in the final years of the 20th century, I had an adolescent fascination with Prince.

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Pound’s Ill Politics

Pound’s Ill Politics

In December 1945, Ezra Pound was committed to St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC. He was then 60 years old, internationally famous, and under indictment for treason against the United States.

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Effectively Extract

Effectively Extract

Surveillance capitalism – with smartphones, laptops, and the increasing numbers of ‘internet of things’ devices making up its physical infrastructure, watching and tracking everything we do...

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Believing Takes Practice

Believing Takes Practice

As a kid, you are tossed incessantly against your own limitations. So much about the world is unfathomable; your job is to dispel some of the dimness, with help from adults and firsthand experience.

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Gyms are not sites of spontaneity and play…

Gyms are not sites of spontaneity and play…

Despite the pulsing pop music and comfortable clothes, gyms are not sites of spontaneity and play. There are rules beamed out from video monitors, mostly innocuous ones, like no cursing, “staring” at others, or expressing effort in audible form such as grunts or panting.

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Are ‘you’ just inside your skin or is your smartphone part of you?

Are ‘you’ just inside your skin or is your smartphone part of you?

Your phone ‘knows’ whom you speak to, when you speak to them, what you said, where you have been, your purchases, photos, biometric data, even your notes to yourself – and all this dating back years...

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It’s Your Letters

It’s Your Letters

I started writing in isolation. For me, it was the natural result of reading too much: those extra words bred in the pools between my ears, multiplying and evolving, and finally spilled out of me in a tidal rush.

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They Didn’t Know Any Women

They Didn’t Know Any Women

Beware the callow misfit who becomes part of the ruling class; rather than disrupt the social order that excluded him, he might just reap its spoils for himself.

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Drinking at the Ladbroke Arms

Drinking at the Ladbroke Arms

The Ladbroke Arms, Notting Hill. Photograph by Ewan Munro. From London Review of Books: The Ladbroke Arms is a pub in Notting Hill known for years as the policemen’s pub. The explanation is obvious: over the road is the local police station. Two decades ago, if you went for a drink...

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‘Tea began our mornings and punctuated long afternoons’

‘Tea began our mornings and punctuated long afternoons’

At the studio, along with a box of tea bags and a bag of powdered milk, the cheaply made kettle assumed its place on my vast stone counter.

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