0. Mediacore as a phenomenon can only be written about in the form of a brand manifesto because mediacore only exists as a series of improbable precepts.

1. It is, because we are feeling grand: a challenge, a shallow artistic investigation; a claim to think.

2. It is born out of the realisation, gained slowly then suddenly, as all existential realisations are, that capitalism dictates that we have to do mediocre shit to stay alive.

3. [And no we are not above making ‘mediocre / mediacore’ puns. In fact, it is probably our most saleable skill.]

4. Right now, an…

#weeknotes 2020/53 [well 52.4 to be exact] (Optimism always waits)

It might only be just Thursday,
but I’m now ready to suspend
2020’s reign of dismay
before one more static weekend.
And while we might have to stifle
parties, a new year delightful
is possible if we squint hard;
ignore the cant from above –
we should all be more Oblomov
if we can. Try not to panic:
yes, we all wish for a clean slate
but optimism always waits.
Belief in it is galvanic.
2021, come of age,
it’s time for you to take the stage.

I looked over at a colleague’s screen this morning.

On it, in a state of being typeset, was a headline.

“There is no outcome without a team.”

And at that moment I had a blinding revelation.

Not quite a Damascene moment, but a flash of something.

A flash of desire.

A flash of desire for a revolution.

A revolution in the language of business.

In the language of businesses, brands, economics, politics, all of it.

Right now, we’re stuck in a place where, bluntly: people just don’t believe the majority of what institutions say.

There’s lots of reasons for this.

Sunset over London and the River Thames, including the London Eye, shot from the top floor of the Royal Festival Hall
Sunset over London and the River Thames, shot from the top floor of the Royal Festival Hall

2019 twitches no more.
The calendar’s thread has unspooled.
And before you show it the door,
condemn another decade to predoom
stop and count those small moments
where joy was the main component;
they may be fleeting, perhaps too few,
but they are there when you slow review.
Remember this when the grind is tough,
full of glitches, treacle days,
an all-enveloping lowering haze –
even nano-pleasures are fuel enough.
Micro-living well is the best art.
Here comes another year. Start.

(After Auden)

Strawberries and coffee /
The end of British democracy /
How’s your Sunday /
On this sunny morning?

I hear an intellectual yob /
With a wink and a nod /
Declare the Executive will now choose /
To only obey laws which it approves /

Take another bite of the croissant.
“Vote me — or chaos and more!” /
Haven’t we heard this one before? /
The centre lies bleeding , edges on top /
How many roasties do you want with lunch?

Before this week could you even spell ‘prorogue’? /
When did institutional vandalism become so…

Credit: Tottenham Hotspur

(all of which are better and less offensive than the R*******)

London Beefeaters — will keep the Ravens’ defense grounded, or a tower collapses or something.

London Top Hats — because snooty offense wins championships.

London Spivs — sounds like ‘shivs’, a promise of sneaky violence.

London AFC Utd Town — will appeal to the local hardcore inattentive soccer crowd.

London Fish & Chips — guarantees a different spin on the tailgate; perhaps opportunities for a sea-based experience?

London Redcoats — they’re coming! And they’re losing!

London Pigeons — have you seen a London pigeon? IT’S A GIANT RAT WITH WINGS.

London Superb Owls — In Britain, game recognizes puns.


The following is a poem found in the summary and table of life principles of Principles by Ray Dalio. I’ve been kicking this about for a while, not least because lots of people have recommended the book to me; but when I looked at the PDF summary I was struck by the positive opacity of the language, which hinted that there might be something poetic within it. If someone wants to send me the book to actually read and confirm this hunch…

Only additions are a few commas, semi-colons and full stops to aid flow.

i. Life principles


Kent’s Bank, Cumbria, UK, 9 December 2018

2019’s empty canvas is waiting,
so put a black frame around the old year.
Release yourself from the angst of hating;
2019’s empty canvas is waiting.
A reminder: optimism is worth creating –
we’ll use it to paint away despair and fear.
2019’s empty canvas is waiting,
so put a black frame around the old year.

A few months ago, the writer Tim Rich drew my attention to If Crisis or War Comes, a publication issued by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

Destined to become a classic of public information warnings, and clear writing generally, it provides essential information to the Swedish population as to what it should do to be prepared “if your everyday life was turned upside down.” The aim of the guide, its introduction states, is to help people become better prepared for everything, including serious accidents, extreme weather, IT attacks and military conflicts.

Tim mentioned that a note of terror could be…

Rishi Dastidar

Hunger, Fire, Harrumph.

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