The Glottal Stop

iFlop?

Posted in Books, Humour, Opinion, Technology by admin on May 29, 2010

I feel I have accidentally been swept along by the wave of furore that has accompanied the release of the iPad and other e-readers.

I remember reading an article a couple of years (or so) ago about the coming of the e-readers, the new age in book reading that we were to find ourselves in. These highly portable, highly practical, and highly innovative devices – and highly expensive – would be a must have. Gone would be those cumbersome books that decay and become tattered. Here was a device that would allow us to keep all our books in the same place and read them whenever we found the urge, no matter where we were

A year on and I came across the Sony Reader and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Not that the device did not offer what was promised, it did just that; there was the portability, the practicality, the innovation, and the price tag. There was even a small spark of excitement when the screen lit up to reveal the ‘e-ink’ format. However, I couldn’t help but notice a void, something missing. Where was the emotion? Where was the emotion and sentiment that I feel when reading a good book?

I, like most others, find some strange pleasure in the smell of books, both old and new. Along with that there’s something satisfying about taking a side-long glace at a book and seeing how much you have read in a session. I enjoy the weight of a book; perhaps I can equate that to the knowledge I am to gain; call it a quantitative measurement of the time that the author dedicated to it, if you will. There’s also all the things you can tell about a person from their books. Jottings in the margins, dog-eared books, books that have remained in pristine condition for all their lives – they all say something about past owners. And this raises another point entirely, that is, who in their right mind would be willing to lend their Ipad to someone in the same manner that you would lend someone a good-book?

Let us not forget also the joy of bookshops themselves! With the rise of e-readers and online ebook stores we would surely see the everyday bookstore disappear from our high streets. I personally must spend hours on end in bookshops browsing through the miles and miles of titles on offer, admiring the eclectic mix of cover artwork available for my eyes to feast upon. Bookshops provide a refuge from the bustle of everyday life, a place to find inspiration and to kick-start the creative juices, or at the very least a way to pass the time during a sudden downpour of rain.

So no, the rise of the e-reader was a phenomenon that I thought would not catch on, or more honestly, a phenomenon I was hoping would not catch on. I didn’t want to see the real thing taken away from me and from all those many millions that share my love of books and bookshops.

But, something changed. And this change was the announcement and release of the iPad. Ashamedly, from what I have seen of it I can’t help but feel a little drawn to its aurora. It has everything that is to be promised in an e-reader (though there are of course the countless other functions and apps), the practicality, the portability, the innovation (something that apple has always excelled in) and, sweet heavens, the price-tag.
But it has achieved more, much more, than I had come to expect from an e-reader. Put simply, it has given the e- reader ‘emotion’. It is not the dull device that I found to be the Sony Reader – it has a wow factor to it. You can’t help but be drawn in, just as humans are drawn to anything that possess a certain ‘beauty’.
There are gasps of ‘ohh’ and ’ahh’ at the swish of the pages as you delicately turn them with your finger tips. There’s the satisfying swivel of the text when you rotate the device. The colours are vivid and bright, they dazzle (something that apple has highlighted with the inclusion of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ free with the device). And the feeling of an iPad in your hands, though not the same as a book, is just as pleasurable in other ways. It’s crisp and it’s light, but it also has a solid, sturdy feel about it. It has quite simply blown the tech-world away, just as most Apple creations do.

But there’s one thing that it won’t ever give you; the ability to brag. Yes, you may win a few fans by flashing your iPad at work or on the train, but what can be more fulfilling than having all the books you’ve ever read shelved and on display in your home. Think of the gains in esteem you’ll achieve as your parents-in-law eye that ‘War and Peace’ sitting on the shelf in your lounge (no matter if you’ve read it or not, chances are they haven’t). A beautifully bound collection of Dickens books are sure to provide an air of ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to your living room. And in the eyes of any guest, that complete works of Shakespeare will make you the master of the English Language that you deserve to be.
But truthfully, there’s nothing wrong or arrogant about looking at the shelves of books you have read and thinking ‘’I have tackled that. That is the weight of my knowledge”.

And it is because of this that I sincerely hope it is books, and not e-readers, that continue to remain the most superior and most sought-after medium for reading.

Long live the book!

The Best of Friends

Posted in Opinion, Politics by admin on May 27, 2010

Since its conception I cannot but help find something strange about the relationship on display between the Prime Minster and Deputy Prime Minister.
Since overcoming their differences – and forging their new love in the Number 10 rose garden – it seems that Cameron has allowed Clegg to take on an unexpected role, i.e. a prominent one.
Cameron’s conciliatory acts towards Clegg were always to be expected, but a sort of wet, over-zealous, corny comradery has developed on the part of the two men, and frankly it is has started to become unbearable.

The press conference within the rose garden of number ten could only have been completed by a holding of hands, and Clegg’s jaunt down Downing Street to be greeted by Cameron at the door of number ten (apparently budget cuts have run so deep that the PM must open the door himself) as though to welcome him to his tea party was unnecessary and actually quite nauseating. It’s as though Clegg specified this as a condition to the coalition, “and I want a nice picture outside number 10”. More of this odd behaviour was to be seen as the two love birds left Downing Street together and made their way to parliament on foot for the Queen’s speech.

It’s not the coalition itself I have trouble with, in fact I think the two parties bring a number of excellent policies and initiatives to the table (which of course is one of the great things about coalition-governments). But I cannot for the life of me understand why the two party leaders feel they must feign this ‘best of friends’ routine. Do they expect us to believe it? Do they really expect us to believe that two parties with such ideological differences can obtain such cohesion; well we need only look to the back benches of each party to see that they cannot, and one feels that no amount of repeating the words ‘Change’ and ‘New’ over and over again, until they become worn out cliches, will disguise this fact. And was it not only a few weeks ago that they were throwing insults at each other? The particular favourite being Cameron’s calling Nick Clegg the ‘best joke’ he knew.

One expects that where you have a system of politics built on adversary (particularly on the run-up to elections) there is always going to be red-faces of embarrassment after any election that results in the need for a coalition, perhaps even a little grovelling. In the back rooms of ten downing street, amongst the inner circles, does Mr Clegg really hold as much prominence as this public facade would depict? And if so, that leaves us wondering; who is really running the show?

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Caption Competition #1

Posted in Caption Competition, Humour by admin on May 25, 2010

Every week we’ll be asking for you captions for an image related to either culture, politics or global affairs (which just about covers everything). Please give your captions in the comment box below. The winner will be announced the following week on the next caption competition.

Seeing as it’s the birth-day of our picture caption competition, we’re going to start you off with two.

Competition entry details…

Question: What do I win?
Answer: Nothing.

The first picture is from our friends across the pond.

 

Picture number 2

Thanks

The Glottal Stop

Posted in General by admin on May 25, 2010

Welcome to ‘The Glottal Stop’ – the ramblings, musations, contemplations of a student of Philosophy and Political Science.

Drawing influence from, among others, Private eye, HIGNFY, Brass Eye, and (heaven forbid, not often) the late night dry wit of Jeremy Paxman, we hope to open yet another outlet upon the momentous flood of satire and punditry that already drenches British Politics and Culture (though, that’s not to say we won’t pop over to Europe now and then…particularly to France; they’re always game for a laugh).

As you can see, everything’s just coming together right now; though, if you have any ideas for the blog or would like to contribute, then drop us a message in the comment box.

À bientôt

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by admin on May 25, 2010

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