Songs are great. I love songs. I sing them in the shower sometimes. They can be poignant or cheery or angry, and they can have catchy and satisfying melodies. There's nothing wrong with songs.
I don't see my artist friends as any more neurotic or addiction-prone than the others. The roommates I have had who were into triathlons or environmentalism were just as crazy as the poets, just as prone to tears over gardening or air conditioners, just as ready to kite a cheque or binge on cookie dough.
Have you noticed the people most likely to be up in arms about governments apparently spying on us tend to be the most non-private people you know? The people launching petitions and wailing about Big Brother and data collection are most likely to be the most constant self-presenters.
Men over 60 often think that if they wear athletic shoes - soft-soled referee shoes or hiking shoes or actual running shoes - then they will look more youthful. The contrary is true.
I went to Queen's - a fine university with the proudly stupidest frosh week in the country. This was, when I was there, supposed to be somehow evidence of a higher social class.
All coffee shops now have WiFi. Why bring a book when you could be wittily attacking some idiot columnist on Twitter, or responding to your date requests, or posting a picture of your foot? All of that is more gripping and immediate and social than books.
Conformism is essential to the group coherence and 'spirit.' The whole impetus behind tribalism of this kind is conservative: Belonging to the tribe is defined by opposition to other tribes. Our tribe, and its traditional ways, is superior to other tribes because it is ours.
I'm in favour of hipster androgyny: Any trend that permits men to rebel against strict gender rules of appearance is going to make the world a more expressive and sensitive place for all of us.
Indeed, the whole point of the man bun, I have surmised, is to assert a high proficiency at yoga. There are no yoga-achievement badges, no coloured belts like judo, so the male yoga expert needs some other kind of visible symbol.
My son craves picture books about Transformers and Ninja Turtles and the Hulk; they show one fantastic creature smashing or zapping another into smithereens on page after page. They are dull and ugly and show no interesting stories or models of conflict resolution or character building.
Even in early adulthood, men can't be told what to wear; they can only be subtly moved by example, encouragement, and a generally sophisticated atmosphere.
I dislike turtlenecks at the best of times, as they are always unflattering to the imperfect male physique, but when worn in combination with a v-neck sweater, they say 'Grandpa' louder than any other item of clothing.
Here is a fundamental conflict in educated society: We are not supposed to value beauty so highly, and yet who can defend against its sheer power to move, its rhetorical force?
The only thing that makes a book YA is that it is about teenagers, and it is written in a very conventional, non-artsy, non-pretentious way. YA is not the place for the oblique or the cryptic. If it is in any way experimental in form, it is not YA.
One of the qualities essential to writing exciting stories, whether for page or screen, is an ability to abandon one's morality. We simply cannot be good writers and good people. One must be able to access one's darkest self, one's venality and pettiness and murderousness.
Possibly the strangest book ever made, the 'Codex Seraphinianus' is an encyclopedia of an imaginary world, with illegible calligraphy - it is written in an alphabet no one can understand - and surreal drawings of odd beasts and machines.
A suit is just a suit: a practical garment, not a ceremonial robe; it can be worn out to dinner with friends or for a visit to an art gallery. Its beauty and craftsmanship are utterly wasted if you think of it as something magical and symbolic.
I was given a thick paperback copy of the 'Guinness Book of Records' when I was 11 years old, and I read it gluttonously, cover to cover, paying special lip-smacking attention to all the incredibly gruesome chapters about the violence of human history.
Personally, I see little distinction between an artistic mentality and criminality. You couldn't possibly create a compelling story without some wickedness or some fascination with the disgusting. Being good is a hindrance to a writer.
Most critics of gender division are women, and they're worried about girls and the roles presented for them by gendered entertainments. They are quite right to be. Telling girls that the cars and the guns are beyond their domain of expertise, and that they should content themselves with clothes and friendships, is limiting.