A Dim And Ancient House Of Shadow

When we sleep, wrote English psychiatrist Havelock Ellis over a hundred years ago, we enter a ‘dim and ancient house of shadow’. We wander through its rooms, climb staircases, linger on a landing. Towards morning we leave the house again. In the doorway we look over our shoulders briefly and with the morning light flooding in we can still catch a glimpse of the rooms where we spent the night. Then the door closes behind us and a few hours later even those fragmentary memories we had when we woke have been wiped away.

That is how it feels. You wake up and still have access to bits of the dream. But as you try to bring the dream more clearly to mind, you notice that even those few fragments are already starting to fade. Sometimes there is even less. On waking you are unable to shake off the impression that you have been dreaming; the mood of the dream is still there, but you no longer know what it was about. Sometimes you are unable to remember anything at all in the morning, not a dream, not a feeling, but later in the day you experience something that causes a fragment of the apparently forgotten dream to pop into your mind. No matter what we may see as we look back through the doorway, most of our dreams slip away and the obvious question is: why? Why is it so hard to hold on to dreams? Why do we have such a poor memory for them?

Excerpt from article in Salon Magazine on the nature of dreams.

Everyone's Watching

Your phone’s ability to pinpoint your exact location and use that info to deliver services—a meal, a ride, a tip, a coupon—is reason for excitement. But this world of always-on GPS raises questions about what happens to our data. How much privacy are we willing to surrender? What can these services learn about our activities? What keeps detailed maps of our lives from being sold to the highest bidder? These have been issues as long as we’ve had cellphones, but they are more pressing than ever.

Evelyn Nesbit

What makes a supermodel? A preternatural beauty, of course, but there is more – a certain charisma, an unerring fashion instinct, a steely resilience, sex appeal. And a mere model becomes a ‘super’ when she becomes not only stratospherically famous, but also when she somehow encapsulates her era. The supermodel provides a snapshot of a moment in time because she is always at the epicentre of the fashionable cultural life of her time – and at its vanguard. Every decade has their supers, from impish, mini-skirted, swinging-‘60s icons Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy to quirky Cara Delevingne today.

But the phenomenon goes back further than Twiggy, to the very start of the 20th Century, when the world’s first ever supermodel rose to fame. Evelyn Nesbit, a willowy, copper-haired beauty from Philadelphia, was the most sought-after artists’ and fashion model in America’s Gilded Age. Her life was turbulent and eventful, and her fame peaked when she became embroiled in a murder, and what was then dubbed ‘the trial of the century’.