This was the start of it all for me. I'd bought and loved magazines before – my teenage years can pretty much be summed up by three words: White, Dwarf and Select – but I'd never loved them asmagazines. I loved what was in them, not what they actually were. Then one day, traipsing home from work, I found myself at London Victoria with too much time to kill. I did the obvious thing: loiter in WHSmith. And there it was. The Face, volume 3, number 21. October 1998. Christina Ricci glowering at me from the cover.

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I've picked up Michael Harris' new book, The End of Absence, and I can't put it down. Essentially, it's about how those of us born before 1985 will be the last to remember what life was like before the internet became everything. He laments the loss of absence, of the nothingness now occupied by constant connection, of a time before empty moments were filled with duties to social networks, inboxes and ubiquitous trivia. I've recently given my online life a bit of a spring clean, to wrestle back some control. Dust-gathering accounts were scrapped, mailing lists unsubscribed from, redundant social connections severed. Untethering from all of this digital baggage was remarkably satisfying. But I want to go one step further, just to see if I can. I will embrace the absence I used to know. I will go without internet for one week. Starting tomorrow. 

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Isn't the English language a wonderfully broken and ridiculous thing? For example, it turns out that "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a grammatically sound sentence. How utterly splendid. A little explanation from io9

"It has been the talk of grammarians since 1972. According to William Rapaport, its creator and a professor at the University of Buffalo, it means, 'So, buffalo who live in Buffalo (e.g., at the Buffalo Zoo, which does, indeed, have buffalo), and who are buffaloed (in a way unique to Buffalo) by other buffalo from Buffalo, themselves buffalo (in the way unique to Buffalo) still other buffalo from Buffalo.' The sentence relies on a few tricks. The first is that 'buffalo' is a verb as well as a noun and the name of a place. To buffalo someone is to confuse or fluster a person. There's also a missing 'that.' Under normal circumstances, we can sometimes drop a 'that' from a sentence, as long as the nouns still make the meaning clear. All-buffalo sentences muddle it up a bit."

I'm now going to dedicate the rest of my life to finding a conversation in which this sentence would naturally come up. Living near Buffalo Zoo would probably help. A perfectly fine excuse to move to New York. 

Mad Max: punk's Sistine Chapel

Poster by  Matt Needle

Poster by Matt Needle

My ears and eyes are still ringing from watching Mad Max: Fury Road. What an incredible film. It's not perfect – it could've done with a little more quiet to emphasise the loud – but an audacious and unique experience nonetheless. It's good too see a proper stunts film, and not just a bunch of CGI cars flipping about. The Incredible Suit's review is pretty spot on:

Kudos to those films' creator George Miller for returning to his brainchild in the winter of his seventh decade and transforming it from cult curio to psychotic explosion of rocket-fuelled insanity with Mad Max: Fury Road. Max still isn't all that Mad, but his new film is so deliriously bananas that its very title deserves a place in thesauruses everywhere as the go-to synonym for crackers. It's a carnival of carnage (also lorrynage, bikenage, buggynage and tanknage) so eye-poppingly demented that it's hard to believe it's the work of a human being, rather than some furious, acid-tripping demon with a grudge against moving vehicles.

For a bit of post-film reading/thinking (don't try either of these while watching the film), check out Ballardian's excellent and thorough post on the links between Mad Max and JG Ballard. Turns out he was a big fan of Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior), describing it as "punk's Sistine Chapel". This is what he told Rolling Stone back in 1987:

I loved The Road Warrior – I thought it was a masterpiece. For ninety or so minutes I really knew what it was like to be an eight-cylinder engine under the hood of whatever car that was; the visceral impact of that film was extraordinary. And seen simply from a science-fiction point of view, it created a unique landscape with tremendous visual authority.

I think it's fair to assume JGB would have rather liked Fury Road. If you haven't seen it yet, do. And make sure you see it on the biggest, loudest, two-dimensionest screen you can find.