blog

An eclectic mix of writing, covering climbing equipment, technique, life & death (and all the stuff inbetween).


Human Stain image Dark-Half  | Mar 16, 21

Human Stain

I get an increasing number of messages from people who don’t feel comfortable communicating publicly, which I suppose proves The New York Times correct: that private and confidential conversations are a threat and need to be monitored somehow, otherwise, how will we know what anti-social, dissident and class enemies are talking about?Most of these messages are less about resistance, like there’s an alien invasion - ‘They Live’ style – and we’re an underground army, but more end of the world club; that if sense, logic, culture and society are driving over a cliff, we at least want...

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Cut & Paste image Dark-Half  | Mar 14, 21

Cut & Paste

Apart from being told once or twice a day that, “I don’t agree with everything you say, but…”, which gets tiresome after few years – because neither do I – the thing that never ceases to how others can be so casually racist, sexist and ageist.I really struggle to grasp the mental state of people who in defending what they view as high minded ideals, can ask your points to be dismissed due to you being “white”, a “man”, and “old”. I think once someone sinks so low their point needs to be struck off just as they would if...

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Charlie image Dark-Half  | Mar 12, 21

Charlie

My grandad, Charlie Kirkpatrick, was thrown out of his home aged 17. This was his reward for coming to the defence of his mother, who was being beaten by his father, my great grandad, who was a Hull docker. This brave act not only saw him being thrown out by his father but by his mother too, no doubt shocked to find two big dogs in a house just big enough for one. Such a tale might sound odd to some, but people are odd; they constantly fall short of expectations and stereotypes, people who love - and beat - each...

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Flak image Dark-Half  | Mar 11, 21

Flak

In 2019 I had some work on a TV program about climbing El Cap with some celebs, the usual shite, a footballer, someone from the Paralympics, a TV presenter, the ex-husband/wife of some C list celeb. One of the people involved was to be Caroline Flack, who I only knew because my daughter had forced me to watch Love Ireland. It was the usual story of writing out lots of ideas and how things would work, talking to people on the phone, trying to reduce expectations (no, you cannot helicopter David Williams in halfway up). There are several reasons why...

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Reshoring image Climbing  | Mar 11, 21

Reshoring

If you use the term ‘reshoring’, most people won’t know what you’re talking about, but it’s basically the opposite of offshoring, where manufacturing that has been outsourced to places like China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and India, begin to reappear closer to home. There are several reasons why this is not a populist move but a progressive one.It reduces the length of supply chains, and although it increases the cost, it also increases the value. It reduces the effects of a disposable economy (fast fashion and race to the bottom style junk manufacturing). It gives businesses more flexibility...

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A Note to New Fathers image Dark-Half  | Mar 11, 21

A Note to New Fathers

I’ve seen a lot of new babies cropping up on social media of late, no doubt designed to replace one set of boomers with another (only without the opportunity for boomers 2.0 to buy a house for the price of a soy latte and avocado on toast). Generally, when a baby is born, there is always a mother (note: I will be sticking to mother, father etc., and not, lactating person and non-lactating person), and hopefully - but less regularly - there is also a father. I’m a father – of sorts – and although I’ve always enjoyed telling American...

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Power image Dark-Half  | Mar 09, 21

Power

A few months ago, I finally – after years of trying – managed to delete my Twitter account, an account I’d had since before Twitter was really a thing (2008). What’s funny was after getting to 14,000 followers early on, it never really went anywhere, it was like having stock that never went up or down. You often hear people say they’d been ‘shadow banned’, when really, the sad truth was no one was interested, and in a glut of content, fewer and fewer people are interested in anything, so I just put it down to that. Over the years I...

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Outdoor Education is Failing image Climbing  | Mar 08, 21

Outdoor Education is Failing

Guest post by Dave Manby

As anyone who reads what I write will know, I’m a fan of the heretical, the counter-narrative, the heterodox. I suppose this comes about due to a bit of an immature rebellious streak, in that I don’t like being told what to do, to sit down, shut up, and just listen. I blame it on watching One Flew Over the Cuckoos nest while being young and impressionable. I’m also inquisitive, and in the jigsaw of life’s meaning, I invariably find that ‘the other side’ holds at least half the pieces, so why not ask to look? ...

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Cage or Malkovich? image Dark-Half  | Mar 07, 21

Cage or Malkovich?

Someone sent me a message the other day, looking for alternative life advice (I’m guessing it was meant for the other Andrew Kirkpatrick, Professor of humanities and languages). I was in a rush, so I just replied with the first thing that came to mind, which – now having a few days to mull over – was actually five-star advice.“Ask yourself this, do you want to be Nicolas Cage or John Malkovich?”

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Stillbirth image Dark-Half  | Mar 05, 21

Stillbirth

I, unfortunately, made the mistake of hearing the radio this morning, the story when I came in about a 50% rise in stillbirths, and how it had ‘perhaps’ been caused due to pregnant women getting Covid. Having had a baby in the time of Covid, I feel I’ve got a dog in this race. If you dig past the headlines, you’ll find a global increase from 2.38 per 1,000 to 9.31 per 1000, but as with so much I read and see, there is never any attempt to do any logical analysis, on the top tier search results, it’s just fear pornography....

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