Illustration by Aaron Reynolds (@EffinBirds)

If you’re active on Twitter, you’ve probably commented, shared or quote-tweeted an open question from a random person. You may have even set the question itself — an epicentre of engagement.

Some people look on this with a tilted brow, cynically chastising others for taking part in the activity.

“Why should I care when everyone’s most embarrassing moment was?”

It’s hardly an exercise in data burglary. I don’t know many hacker types but if they can steal identities from within the answers about when you slipped on a triple scoop gelato in Rome and tripped into the Trevi Fountain, my…

© Getty Images 2020

We can easily forget that every number on a chart is a human being. Each new case is enforced isolation with its own problems. Each death a light gone out for loved ones. It’s easy to see the lines rise and fall with passing weeks like a living stock market waiting to crash. We have been led to this state of unconscious dismissal of human life through months of clumsy governance. It isn’t our fault we’re back in lockdown — despite the virus’s anti-mask fifth columnists. And yet, here we are. …

Generic pints.

Dating apps are always under scrutiny. Their place in the romance sector of our lives is not like the formal, authoritarian dating sites of yesteryear. Instead of such rigidity, apps are casual — indeed we swipe our phones like we’re playing some erotic Fruit Ninja, testing our tastes and pushing our prejudices. They’re here to stay and we must accept that. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call out their faults, nor the people who use them.

As such, I’m calling for a ban on the phrase ‘part-time alcoholic’.

You will have seen this in the personal bios sat awkwardly…

We’re all keyboard warriors now, really. Our mandatory isolation has filled us with a sense of anxiety for updates, a thirst for knowing what comes next. As such, we’re watching daily coronavirus briefings and reading numbers like frantic scientists at a blackboard. The need for good journalism could not be stronger. And yet, it’s under constant attack.

It’s hard to watch this siege. Twitter is a social network yes, but it’s a professional space for self-promotion too. I’ve connected with a number of writers and journalists who I would now consider colleagues in a wide landscape. It’s not quite a…

In the space of a few harrowing days, the infrastructure of the British welfare state was flipped on its head. The Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who only took the role in February, was suddenly in charge of the largest expansion of spending in peacetime. Taking up as the steward for employee wages, business bailouts and loan shark may have been the economic wake-up call the welfare system needed, though in exceptional circumstances and certainly not the right pathway.

The immediate place for those who have been made unemployed by coronavirus is the Tories’ flagship project Universal Credit. The Department for Work…

Generic cliche stock image symbolising loneliness

We are living through a not-so-splendid isolation. Cooped up indoors, anxiously watching the news, our routines have had to change drastically. Where once we had access to a blessed spontaneity, now we’re inside. But not all experiences are the same.

Watching the daily stream of morbid updates, you’d be led to believe our daily lives are exactly the same, compelled by work not by living. Indeed much of the focus from the political sphere has been economic; how to stop a society’s collapse without breaking the bank, literally. We’re not all able to work from home or easily entertain our…

Schools like to put rugby on the timetable as an experiment to highlight the weaker children. At least, this is what I believed at school. A hypermasculine mudfest, allowing your peers to laugh at your insecurity and softness. Years later, this same expression of manly confidence led to the most harrowing personal experience anyone can suffer.

My rape was at the hands of a man who deceived me, emotionally unmoved by my muffled screams. I couldn’t respond to his act of defilement. I was powerless. Since that day, it’s been hard not to pick up on the many expressions of…

Mrs Brown’s Boys | Copyright: © BBC 2011

In Sophie Quirk’s 2018 excellent book on alternative comedy, she refers to our understanding of comedy as a “murky cocktail of historicising memory.” Our personal favourite comedies are always viewed through rose-tinted glasses. We picture ourselves as younger people watching The Young Ones on a 21-inch monolith in the corner. Thus our opinions on what we like are shaped by pre-existing tastes, even if we discovered a new jester to laugh at. We like to compare our comics — “Oh he’s more sarcastic than him, she’s not as funny as her.” This is the basic experience of consuming comedy.

So…

(Disclaimer: The article below will explicitly discuss rape, sexual discrimination and issues of sex education. It also displays images which may distress. Effort has been made to respect issues with sensitivity and care.)

Men can be feminists. They should be feminists. Though it’s not always easy for men to discuss the topic of patriarchy without sounding patronising. It’s easy for men to dictate and demand change, harder to be a committed feminist who respects the experiences of women and exists in parallel. …

We’re regularly told that we live in bubbles: on social media, in politics, living in built-up locations. It’s meant as an insult to suggest that we’re not as grounded as ‘regular people’. We don’t have a Pret a Manger in my town, therefore I’m not part of some supposed elite. Most of the debate around bubbles is constructed bullshit; a ruse proffered by reactionary commentators who decry progressive thought.

“You have Twitter? And you voted Remain? Why didn’t you just call yourself Elite McEliterson, you excrement.”

But this piece isn’t about politics, social standing or cultural ties. …

Daniel M. Reast

Writer. Regularly irritating. Moans about politics, Brexit, mental health, and culture. All views mine.

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