Roast, Toast, and Soapbox

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There are a lot of biscuits out there: some chocolatey, some plain, some nutty. Some of them are even nice, but not shortbread.

Similar to a brick in both shape and taste, one can only assume the reason they keep getting made is to provide particularly lazy tourists with something to bring back their relatives after a holiday in Scotland, as if to cement their family’s disappointment in them.

When discussing this piece with shortbread apologists, they explained to me that I had it wrong, and that the biscuit is good dunking material. A food being packaged and sold on its own should be able to stand on its own two feet (its dry, beige feet), and besides, it’s too dense to be permeated by tea or coffee, meaning not even those powerhouses of the British palate can make this small, disgusting section of our culture enjoyable.

Joe Molander


Fantastic Failures

We live in constant fear of failure.

It’s possible that social media is a factor: not only is every little mistake recorded and readily accessed, making each of them easier to pore over, even years after they were made (hence the rise of ‘cancel culture’), there is also a constant pressure to ‘spin’ life. Social convention seems to dictate we present our day-to-day existences in the best way possible: we can’t just be doing fine, we have to be doing amazingly, living through a constant state of enjoyment and socialising. As social animals, we’ve always wanted to be part of a pack, but social media pushes us all in a bit tighter, uncomfortably so.

So when we try something different and it doesn’t work out – when we stray from the herd and it doesn’t immediately win the herd back – we feel awful, which is why we rarely try anything. Here’s to those who do, and who fail miserably, but do it again, and again, and again, out of drive, ambition or sheer bloody-minded passion.

Joe Molander


Christ-mass advertising

It’s November and Christmas is already around the corner. It is inescapable with its never-ending presence from posters, music and of course, advertising. Christmas is radiated into the public dialogue, as everyone discusses what they want and their plans for the season. It is now maddening considering how consumerism equates to the original meaning of Christmas.

Products are now consumed in exchange for festive joy, love and warmth.

Commercials have replaced the traditional meaning with the hyper-real. It subtly convinces the mass audience to buy many products in order to make the season magical. Products are now consumed in exchange for festive joy, love and warmth. This is where advertising becomes ironic. Christmas is supposed to be the time to unite everyone together. It is the opportunity for us to appreciate what we already have.

I think it’s the perfect time for us to stop and think back to the original message of Christmas. We can only truly understand the season by discarding all materialistic objects associated with it.

Carl Smith Valdez

Last modified: 14th November 2019

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