Today is the 8th birthday of this blog. My blogging style and content has changed substantially in those 8 years (as you can tell from my first ever post) although, I’d like to think you can see the critical human geographer scratching at the surface in those words. Below is a word cloud of all my posts, which for me at least, shows that urban life, creativity and of course film have always been at the forefront of my work. Anyway, thought that a quick bit of nostalgia would be a nice deviation from today’s more pressing political issue. As you were…
Thomas – the perfect neoliberal subject
Thomas the Tank Engine, the popular children’s book and TV series, has been with us for 70 years, and still captures the imagination of children around the world. As a father of two rapidly growing-up children, trains seem to have some sort of mystic fascination with the preschool demographic. So it is no surprise that Thomas the Tank Engine is one of the world’s most recognised toy brands.
Thomas lives on the Island of Sodor, a mythical, small countryside island in the Irish Sea, just off the coast from Barrow-in-Furness. The trains are colourful, largely happy and busy, while the people go about normal lives in school, on the farm or on the railways. The trouble is, though, this surface-level utopian English-countryside-mid-twentieth-century idyll belies a far more sinister neoliberal allegory that pervades the daily minutiae of Thomas and his friends. The more of Thomas…
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Were it not for the freezing winds, driving rain and half a foot of mud underfoot, walking around the Jungle camp in Calais could be mistaken for Dharavi or Kibera. The makeshift shelters of wood and tarpaulin, the improvised roads, open sewers and stench of human waste; there are many ugly ways in which the Jungle compares to the slums of the Global South. But also, there are thriving businesses, social services, educational programs and human creativity on full show; there are many positive ways the Jungle compares. And like the slums of Mumbai, Nairobi or other megacities of Global South, the Jungle is a product of the inequalities radiating from the nearby metropolis. But in this case, that metropolis is London. Continue reading
Join us for an event which seeks to explore what it means to be human, or simply alive, in a world in which the digitally processed virtual is increasingly experienced in the actualities of everyday life.
Curated and hosted by digital geographies PhD students Mike Duggan and Pip Thornton, and featuring Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller EX MACHINA (2015), the event aims to question binary definitions of virtual/real, nature/culture and human/non-human, engaging with critical debates around artificial intelligence (AI), law & ethics, gender, techno-capitalism and virtual geographies, while challenging the representations of these subjects in the film and other media.
The event will include short talks and a panel discussion involving Dr. John Danaher, lecturer in Law at the National University of Ireland, Galway and author of the blog Philosophical Disquisitions, Lee MacKinnon, lecturer in the Theory and History of Photography at Arts University Bournemouth, whose book chapter…
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Join us on Tuesday 19th of January for a screening and exploration of Dan Gilroy’s fascinating film ‘Nightcrawler’ presented by Passengerfilms in collaboration with ‘Precarious Geographies’ and Genesis Cinema.
Set in the hyper-precarious world of contemporary LA, Nightcrawler is a disturbing critique of the neoliberal urban condition. Its protagonist, Lou Bloom, is a young man frustrated by an impenetrable labour market in which even unpaid internships are inaccessible. Bloom embarks on a mission to make his own fortunes by forging a career in crime journalism. Lou’s willingness to cross boundaries others won’t in order to get the goriest footage means his career rapidly gains momentum. His merciless pursuit of uncomprehendingly brutal footage is met by both horror and admiration by TV stations. But this is not just a film about a sinister individual; Lou’s prioritisation of ambition and commercial success at the expense of compassion and humanity…
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Last night I had the privilege of watching Die Hard on the big screen at the Filmopolis Christmas Party. A great night, with an even greater film. Die Hard is one of those films that you can watch repeatedly, and rarely strays from perfection. Despite containing now tired Hollywood clichés, it has aged remarkably well, and is now considered the quintessential Christmas film (on which I noticed last night the falling paper at the end of the film beautifully analogous to snowfall; hence the ‘Let it Snow’ song at the end). In watching the film, particularly the “TV Dinner” bit, I was reminded of a 2010 blog post by Geoff Manaugh (on the brilliant bldgblog) about the relational architecture of the film. The post itself spoke to many of themes I explored when I was working on the geographies of parkour, and is still a wonderful take on the how the film Die Hard espouses the malleability of how we use architecture. But 5 years on from that post, and having now seen the film countless times since, there are many other ways in which the film can be utilised to explore architectural and material geographies (yes, there will be spoliers). Continue reading
Those who know me well, know that I like to eat quite a lot. At university, a verb was coined in my honour; to ‘Oli’ something was to eat a substaintial amount of food very very quickly. The foods I eat are also overtly meaty. I thoroughly enjoy a good steak, burger, buckt of fried chicken, bacon sandwich, rack of ribs, meat feast pizza, MSG-ridden Chinese buffet, you get the idea. There is often a running joke that I would not even last 24 hours without consuming some semblance of meat.and even being married to a vegetarian for the best part of a decade has not persuaded me to change my ways…)
Yes, it’s a bad habit I know, but one that is part of my lifestyle, routine and even my identity. I enjoy eating meat, and to give it up would be frankly really annoying and irksome.
However, difficult times call for impossible things. We’ve all seen the horrific scenes in the media of the state of affairs in the Calais Jungle. As winter draws in, the conditions are only going to get worse. The site is already toxic, with human and animal waste, refuse and chemical detritus clogging the land. Deadly diseases are inevitable. Whatever your politics, nobody deserves to live like that, so we need to act.
There are myriad people, institutions, charities, faith groups and companies helping people in the Jungle on a daily basis. They organise food & clothes deliveries, build shelter, offer health services and may other basic human needs. But they need financial support.
So, starting the 5th November, I am attempting to raise £500 (in the first instance, beyond who knows…) by not eating anymore meat until Christmas Day (in 50 days time). So for every £10 received, I will not eat meat for another day. The link to the funding page is here: https://www.gofundme.com/olimould
So you can prolong my annoyance, but at the same time, prolong someone else’s hope.
I will donate the money to Guildford People to People who are doing fabulous work in organising deliveries and food collections. So please consider helping them out yourselves too.
Yes it may seem trivial, mundane, easy and even a bit pithy, but I’m doing something that I consider to be challenging, so please support me as best you can!