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“Where someone is claiming to be a billionaire, Brooks brothers won’t cut it” says Michael Caine’s elder statesman to John David Washington’s Protagonist of Tenet. This is one of the many, many lines in that movie that draws attention not just to wealth but how to properly spend that wealth. There are, according to Christopher Nolan’s characters (so one assumes Nolan is briefed on this subject as he wrote the script), right ways and wrong ways to spend your money. “Nine million for a holiday? Where did you go? Mars?” Says poor, blue-collar, CIA agent Protagonist (side note: I hate that he just called his protagonist ‘Protagonist’) whose salaries start at $60,000 per annum, though for a field agent it is undoubtedly much higher (USA minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, equating to $15,000 per annum before tax btw). …


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To say this year has been strange and unpleasant would be to down play the thousands of deaths and immeasurable damage to human life and well being it has had. Things are grim and given the near total economic collapse in a lot of countries, the fallout could be even worse. To observe the pandemic, its casualties and the response to it from a seat of privilege is a luxury and one I certainly recognise but a perspective that comes with its own bizarre trappings. …


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I’d argue the trend of minimalism took over the mainstream sometime in the late 90s thanks to Jonathan Ive and the arrival of the ‘Boiled Sweet’. For most of the 2000s minimalism was the overriding philosophy of graphic design in an era when graphic design took over the world. With the advent of the internet becoming a staple of every home, web design — and now what is known as ‘online content’ — needed its aesthetic and Ive and Apple’s designs met the needs. Along with more readily available graphic design software, the digital revolution was in full swing and had cool new look. …


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A lot is made of the role of an Executive Producer in the publicity of major TV shows and movies but the role and their responsibilities seem somewhat ill-defined in people’s minds. The role was recently put into the spotlight when one of Hollywood’s biggest executive producers was sent down for being a rapist and sexual predator and while the role of executive itself was not in question, the discussion around Harvey Weinstein’s power within the industry SHOULD have been better looked at. …


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To say things aren’t going particularly well for everyone at the moment would be something of understatement. Because of this there is an overriding desire for things to return to ‘normal’, or at least a certain kind of normal that existed prior to 2020. In both the UK and the USA this manifests in a demand for better leadership to control the worst effects of the pandemic (something both nations sorely lack) that is exemplified in the ludicrously blunt and arrogant new slogan for Labour that proudly declares a ‘New Leadership’ for the opposition. Similarly in the USA the Democratic Party are demanding voters back an identically senile, republican old white man to win the upcoming election arguing that he is at least — in some way — a more practical choice for President. We can see this desire reflected in the joke campaign signs that ask voters to elect ‘any functioning adult’. …


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It was my wife and I’s first wedding anniversary in June. I have seen her once since we got married. I have detailed the trials of my Wife and I’s relationship up to the point of our marriage here but as a summary, I am British and live in England whereas my Wife is American and lives in New Jersey. We met online in 2014 and it has been a slog just to spend time together over the last six years. This is largely due to getting into an international relationship at a time of naked hostility towards ‘foreigners’ by almost every nation in the world. Timing a marriage in the era of Brexit and Trump was difficult enough, having the first year of our marriage end up in the era of Covid-19 seems especially unfortunate. …


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I love Christopher Nolan movies and think he is a good film director. I feel like that isn’t too controversial a statement to make. Judging by the billions his movies make at the box office it would seem a lot of people agree with me. His impact on the industry has been huge too. His method of taking arthouse cinema sensibilities and applying their method to the modern blockbuster has proved revolutionary and has influenced multiple big budget franchises like James Bond, Mission Impossible, Marvel and so on. It’s an incredible achievement and even more so that his only film I don’t like is Insomnia. In general though, Nolan makes movies I love. …


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I am defined (by others) as a ‘Millennial’ and I would kindly ask everyone, including ‘Millennials’, to stop doing that please. And that goes for defining people as Boomers, Gen X or Zoomers too. Be it proud or pejorative, the declaration that someone’s generation defines their character is nonsense. The discussion around the generational divide has always been poisonous but today it’s a source of severe damage.

No one was raised in a vacuum. The context of our upbringing is significant to our character in that the various social changes, technology and relationship standards of a given age affect how we experience and interact with the world, but this can also be refined to the context of where we lived in a specific country and the class background we were brought up in. The point being that my opinions differ from the ‘Boomers’ that live in my hometown because of their individual upbringing as much as the social and political structures that accompanied them through their lives. Most people are intelligent enough to appreciate their surroundings and the effects they have on them, the Nature/Nurture debate continues for this very reason. This means there is undoubtedly a level of personal responsibility for your attitudes at all points in your life and in the current moment. …


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In recent years a common complaint has arisen from people who lived the majority of their life pre-millennium: the younger generation are a gaggle of useless, entitled babies with no concept of hard work or responsibility. I won’t go into why this sentiment is so vapid and hypocritical because that should be obvious by now, but one element of this generational divide that seems to have stuck is the accusation of narcissism. The fact that, as discussed in my previous article, apps like Instagram are fundamentally about an absorption with the self, the performance of identity and manufacturing appearance, means this has coalesced in the minds of ‘sensible’ people that we’re all raging narcissists. And, loathe as I am to admit it, the reason this criticism so stubbornly refuses to go away is because… well… it’s true. After a fashion. The very nature of social media is a form of critical and reconstructive self-reflexivity. Which is a longwinded way of saying social media is a broadcast form of self obsession. …


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Now is a good time to escape. Despite government insistence otherwise the virus is still with us and will be for some time yet so social distancing and remaining at home will be the norm for at least the next year or so. Because of that, we all want a little escape right now, something the internet has been only too happy to provide. Whether its recycling pictures of past holidays on social media, rewatching favourites on streaming services or just listening to whatever politician is on the podium today talk about the wonderful future we all have after the virus. Oh and Brexit. And the Climate Crisis. And so on. All of this is a much needed escape for the mind to a place that isn’t the same four walls, day in, day out. …

About

Leo Cookman

Peripatetic Writer and Musician. “Time’s Lie” out now from Zero Books.

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