Under the radar, close to the ground…

At the end of this year, I will be leaving my long-standing permanent academic post, and I will be setting out for more uncertain territory. This has been a decision that has been a long time coming, but in the light of all the changes that have taken place this year, — all of the difficulty, uncertainty, upheaval and sheer, raw grief and sadness — it seems timely to move on to something new. In January, I will be taking …

The Satyr’s Skin, or, Why I Flayed Marsyas

I’m not sure precisely when I came across the story of Marsyas, the satyr who was flayed by the god Apollo. It was perhaps when I was an art student, immersing myself in the iconography of the Renaissance. Or perhaps it was before then (because there’s still this curious notion that Greek myths are charming tales fit for children). But from the first, it was a story that filled me with horror. The tale, for those who are unfamiliar with …

Optimally Empty

是以陶鈞文思,貴在虛靜,疏瀹五藏,澡雪精神。 ‘Thus, to use the potter’s wheel of literary thought — treasure empty stillness, cleanse the five viscera and wash clean the vital spirits.’ — Liu Xie, Wenxin Diaolong A few days ago, slightly overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork I have to get through here, I took refuge in my new favourite coffee house, San Kafei 叁咖啡 or 3Coffee, which is just outside of the campus. There are many things to commend San Kafei as a coffee shop. There …