THE BOOK OF TEA
The Philosophy of Tea is not mere aestheticism … for it expresses conjointly with ethics and religion our whole point of view about man and nature. It is hygiene, for it enforces cleanliness; it is economics, for it shows comfort in simplicity rather than in the complex and costly; it is moral geometry, inasmuch as it defines our sense of proportion to the universe.
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life.
T2: Trainspotting 2
“Choose life’. ‘Choose life’ was a well meaning slogan from a 1980’s anti-drug campaign and we used to add things to it, so I might say for example, choose… designer lingerie, in the vain hope of kicking some life back into a dead relationship. Choose handbags, choose high-heeled shoes, cashmere and silk, to make yourself feel what passes for happy. Choose an iPhone made in China by a woman who jumped out of a window and stick it in the pocket of your jacket fresh from a South-Asian Firetrap. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and a thousand others ways to spew your bile across people you’ve never met. Choose updating your profile, tell the world what you had for breakfast and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, desperate to believe that you don’t look as bad as they do. Choose live-blogging, from your first wank ’til your last breath; human interaction reduced to nothing more than data. Choose ten things you never knew about celebrities who’ve had surgery. Choose screaming about abortion. Choose rape jokes, slut-shaming, revenge porn and an endless tide of depressing misogyny. Choose 9/11 never happened, and if it did, it was the Jews. Choose a zero-hour contract and a two-hour journey to work. And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and maybe tell yourself that it’s better that they never happened. And then sit back and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s fucking kitchen. Choose unfulfilled promise and wishing you’d done it all differently. Choose never learning from your own mistakes. Choose watching history repeat itself. Choose the slow reconciliation towards what you can get, rather than what you always hoped for. Settle for less and keep a brave face on it. Choose disappointment and choose losing the ones you love, then as they fall from view, a piece of you dies with them until you can see that one day in the future, piece by piece, they will all be gone and there’ll be nothing left of you to call alive or dead. Choose your future, Veronika. Choose life.”
INDIRA GANDHI on how no job is too small
23 November 1974
Some people think that only by taking up very high jobs, you are doing something important or you are doing national service. But we all know that the most complex machinery will be ineffective if one small screw is not working as it should and that screw is just as important as any big part. It is the same in national life. There is no job that is too small; there is no person who is too small. Everybody has something to do.
In our superstition, we have thought that some work is dirty work. For instance, sweeping has been regarded as dirty. Only some people can do it; others should not do it. Now we find that manure is the most valuable thing that the world has today and many of the world’s economies are shaking because there is not enough fertiliser – and not just the chemical fertiliser but the ordinary manure, night-soil and all that sort of thing, things which were considered dirty.
Now it shows how beautifully balanced the world was with everything fitted in with something else. Everything, whether dirty or small, had a purpose.
ROALD DAHL on happy thoughts
GEORGE CALIN on sleep
“People say, ‘I’m going to sleep now,’ as if it were nothing. But it’s really a bizarre activity. ‘For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I’m going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command over everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life.’
If you didn’t know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell all your friends about the movie you’d seen.
They had these people, you know? And they would walk around all day and be OK? And then, once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconscious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except deep in their minds they would have adventures and experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lay there, completely vulnerable to their enemies, their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another; or, if one of the ‘mind adventures’ got too real, they would sit up and scream and be glad they weren’t unconscious anymore. Then they would drink a lot of coffee.’
So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you’re in a science fiction movie. And whisper, ‘The creature is regenerating itself.”
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH on World Water Day
Blue Planet II
“We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet and never before have we had the power to do something about that.
Surely we have a responsibility to care for our Blue Planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us.”
stories in ten words or less (all it takes)
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
It’s behind you! Hurry before it
– Rockne S. O’Bannon
Tick tock tick tock tick tick.
– Neal Stephenson
God said, ‘Cancel Program GENESIS.’ The universe ceased to exist.
– Arthur C. Clarke
“They are lost, but also not lost but somewhere in the world. Most of them are small, though two are larger, one a coat and one a dog. Of the small things, one is a certain ring, one a certain button. They are lost from me and where I am, but they are also not gone. They are somewhere else, and they are there to someone else, it may be. But if not there to someone else, the ring is, still, not lost to itself, but there, only not where I am, and the button, too, there, still, only not where I am.”
SYLVIA RIVERA’S JUNE 2001 TALK AT THE LESBIAN AND GAY COMMUNITY SERVICES CENTRE, NEW YORK CITY
“But until my community is allowed the respect to march in the front, I will go march with my community because that’s where I’m needed and that’s where I belong. And yes, I’ll wear my big sash that says “Stonewall. ” And people are gonna ask. And I’m gonna tell why; because this is where the Heritage of Pride [the group that organises the march] wants to keep us. You see, I don’t pull no punches, I’m not afraid to call out no names. You screw with the transgender community and the organisation StreetTransgender Action Revolutionaries[STAR] will be on your doorstep. Just like we trashed the HRC [Human Rights Campaign] for not endorsing the Amanda Milan actions, and then when they threw us a piece of trash, we refused to accept it. How dare you question the validity of a transgender group asking for your support, when this transgender woman was murdered? No. The trans community has allowed, we have allowed the gay and lesbian community to speak for us. Times are changing. Our armies are rising and we are getting stronger. And when we come a knocking (that includes from here to Albany to Washington) they’re going to know that you don’t f— with the transgender community.
Mainstreaming, normality, being normal. I understand how much everybody likes to fit into that mainstream gay and lesbian community. You know, it used to be a wonderful thing to be avant-garde, to be different from the world. I see us reverting into a so-called liberated closet because we, not we, yous of this mainstream community, wish to be married, wish for this status. That’s all fine. But you are forgetting your grassroots, you are forgetting your own individual identity. I mean, you can never be like them. Yes we can adopt children, all well and good, that’s fine. I would love to have children. I would love to marry my lover over there [Julia Murray], but for political reasons, I will not do it becauseI don’t feel that I have to fit in that closet of normal, straight society which the gay mainstream is going towards.”