The (Scheduled) Fall of the Facebook Empire

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Social networks bring people together but like any gathering, the time comes to split. People move on, just like they did from Bulletin Boards, from Chat Rooms and from My Space. QED, historical analysis proves Facebook’s imminent and scheduled demise. The argument is put that users will always need Facebook to contact their friends but that’s what they said about the phonebook. The pendulum on Facebook’s fifteen fleeting minutes of fame has been winding down since it reached its zenith in May 2012 when its ownership went public.

Mark Zuckerberg is a talented man but he is not a businessman. His forte rises above mere commerce. Yet he presided over the halving of Facebook’s share price following the most overhyped IPO since Noah floated the Ark. I won’t delve into the apocryphal IPO debacle here but given the result that the original stakeholder(s) raked in bazillions of dollars in cash that day, I believe that the IPO marked the Facebook mission as ‘Accomplished’. The owners cashed out, regardless of what was to happen afterwards. Any shares they kept could be used as confetti because the overpriced issue on that May day got them twice what it should have. Continue reading

Big Sur

by Jack Kerouac

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Big Sur – wild and organic with a unique ecosystem and microclimate caused by its asperous profile. That description could just as easily characterise Jack Kerouac himself.

Located a couple of hours south of San Francisco, this land area of spectacular forest and coastal beauty was termed ‘El Sur Grande’ by the Spanish (The Big South). Kerouac installed himself there in Bixby Canyon for six weeks in 1960 to escape the attention and fame his book On The Road brought to his life. Continue reading

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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This book is a refreshing departure from more regular coming-of-age stories both in style and approach. Stephen Chobsky takes a literary risk in requiring his readers to follow the narrative in epistolary mode – the central protagonist communicating entirely through his letters to an unnamed confidante. The risk pays off once the reader gets the cadence and language of the first-person writer and from there the voice becomes very natural for both the character and the story.

Clues like Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit and the popular practice of boys making music ‘mix-tapes’ for girlfriends, put the action in the early nineties. The wallflower is Charlie, a mid-teen schoolboy without friends until he ventures to approach fellow students Samantha and her gay stepbrother Patrick. Continue reading

Fairy tale update

Little Red Riding Hood grew up and moved to the city. She met some more wolves who got her hooked on crack so she turned to prostitution to feed her habit. When Prince (the artist formerly known as Charming) was in town for a concert at the MCG, he booked her for a quickie and was so impressed that he paid for her rehab then set her up in her own brothel. Continue reading

Book review: Julia & Julia

Julia & Julia by Julie Powell

Subtitled “My year of Cooking Dangerously” Julie Powell’s “Julie & Julia” suggests conflict the ilk of Khrushchev & Kennedy; Tweedledum & Tweedledee; Blackadder & Baldrick. There are times when the book lives up to these classic pairings but so too are there times when they resemble Caesar & Cleopatra; Barnum & Bailey; Jack & Jill.

The book is a jocular journey through a woman’s perceived change-of-life event – her encroaching thirtieth birthday. Powell is not satisfied with what she has achieved in her life to date. College trained, she had hoped to become a writer but abandoned her unfinished first novel, resorting to secretarial temp work. She feels unfulfilled, stuck in a rut, and believes that if she does not do something meaningful before she turns thirty, she will be a failure. Continue reading

Blight

He surveyed his domain from the hillock behind his family’s one-room, thatched cottage. The landlord’s domain to be precise, but for the four generations preceding this year of Our Lord, 1845, his forefathers had paid the rent that made it theirs to call home. All three acres and only half of it rock and stone.

He pulled his knit cap down to shelter his immaturely balding pate against the mountain wind and focused his steady grey eyes on the troop of Redcoats on the shore road far below. He released his breath when he realised they would not bother the family today.

He set off to the potato patch, his smock flapping noisily in the wind, his legs kept dry from the mist by coarse leggings. His bare feet found purchase on clod and stone with a dexterity that told of familiarity with the exercise. He moved neither quickly nor slowly, just with the efficiency required by the task in relation to the sinking sun. Continue reading

An overdue letter.

Dear Vincent,

As we are unacquainted it is somewhat presumptuous of me to write this unsolicited letter. I felt compelled to do so following my visit to the Museé d’Orsay this afternoon, where I had the pleasure of viewing the gallery dedicated to you.

Like many of my generation, you were humanised for me in Don McLean’s 1971 tribute composition ‘Vincent’. The song described you, your tragic life and a number of your works, in particular ‘The Starry Night’ 1889 which has since become the most representational of your works worldwide.

Currently on display at d’Orsay is ‘Starry Night’ 1888, Continue reading