Tag Archives: curious

Beach Sloth Reviews The Curiosity Cabinet

Now that we have our new website, it feels fitting to post the review of our first ever issue onto it. Beach Sloth wrote some awesomely kind words. If you want to know what’s going on in the lit world (especially that of the ‘alt-lit’ community) then give his blog a read and follow at www.beachsloth.blogspot.co.uk


The Curiosity Cabinet is quintessentially English. I knew that immediately. Didn’t even have to do any ‘research’ I felt the English in my bones. Look at the cover. Read the title. A cabinet full of curiosities is such a traditionally quaint way of saying things. It beats the American way of introducing things, with the uglier language. ‘Oh yeah, in that cabinet are some shrunken heads and drugs’. If you call it a curiosity cabinet though, you’re fine. Nobody is going to bother you. They’ll think you’re a perfectly charming young lad who has a penchant for curiosity. And I do like this little publication. Everything is here, a lucky list of seven: art & photography, poetry, film, short stories, musical things, a diary, and articles.

                Elise Cochin begins the photography section. Her work appears to be ‘on the fly’. The way she puts it is ‘capturing a sincere moment’. I like that she uses both color and black/white. Her photos seem warm to me. Chris Sutcliff presents a piece of art dedicated to his long-lost red balloon. We lose red balloons as children. Those are the balloons of our innocence. ‘You aren’t your job’ really strikes me. I remember somebody telling me ‘Your job defines you’. I hope that isn’t the case. I want to be more interesting than a mere office worker. I want to create beauty in the world not simply exist as a paper shuffler. Andrew John Craven likes his steampunk. The pictures have a silly quality to them. My favorite is definitely the last one, which is really absurd. Wonder why he doesn’t remove his jetpack. Peatree Bojangles has the best name. She creates dark, weird pictures.
                Alexander Mark Kennard writes about forgetting time in airports. To me, airports don’t represent time. They represent an absence of time. Airports kill more time than any other location. Nor does it even matter with all the ‘time zone’ rubbish going on. I’m here. Yes, I went across the pond to find my own curiosity cabinet. Let me know what you think about it.  James Seymour writes about her. You might remember her from places like ‘your dreams’ and ‘other people’s dreams you happened to stumble upon late at night’. I like the simplicity of the piece.  Connor D’ Arcy gets lost in a fairy tale. Feel he would have been better off nibbling lightly on the poisoned apple.  Keziah Hodgson writes four affectionate poems. They are dedicated to someone; I’m not entirely certain who. But they are rather tender.  Dave Shaw (different from the Canadian poet Dave Shaw) clearly dislikes some night creatures. I’m talking about ‘party people’. In the daytime they dissolve, melted by the sun. At night they run amok.  Adam Johnson has a bleak vision with ‘A Day in Your Life’. At least you get to dance. That seems good.
                Emily Jane Curtin and Michael Burrin have a nice, quiet little movie. This is a really tender piece. I like some of the shots they have. Probably my favorite visual is the shot down the staircase. It looks so domestic. Think that is the sweetest angle in the movie short movie. Even ‘father’s’ voice has kind, pleading quality to his voice. I also like how rarely they rely on dialogue. Most of the film is driven by the visuals, by the sunlight streaming through lonely windows rather than any ‘over-explanation’ of the situation.
                Max Dunbar writes an incredibly bleak short story. It is beyond brutal. A few times I felt extraordinarily sad about the process of aging. Guess that’ll happen to me someday. I’ll be all old and gray living alone in a house with nothing but silence. Ian Adamson deals with the story of a non-joint bank account. The details feel a bit bleak, bus rides and long lines. Glad I live on the internet instead of real life. Real life is hard. Evie Lola has an entire story about wonderful, wholesome family fun. Feel it is pretty darn enjoyable. Refuse to actually give away the plotline. Expect a lot of violence. Amy Louise Crossley writes about the power of dance music. I love dance music though I never really got into the ‘club’ scene due to my extreme lack of energy.  Sian S. Rathore and‘E’ kill it. They defeat emotions. One of brings up the past. The past dies. Apparently E’s friends have ‘eager hands’. I hope E’s friends are using their hands for good, like constructing roads and bridges. Love the exchanges between them. They make me long for more articulate friends.
                Amanda Coban writes one of those ‘live music reviews’. I feel a bit nostalgic reading it. Perhaps I will begin writing about the concerts I attend once more. Now that it is the summer I can start doing that again. I love the name of the band, The Darvaza Hole. Anybody who engages in obscure geographical references is alright with me.
                Renee Boudoir is a burlesque newbie. She apparently travels rather far to live the burlesque lifestyle. The burlesque lifestyle includes cupcakes. I may join the burlesque lifestyle for this only reason. I promise to tease very, very slowly.
                Jonathan Paxton reminds me of my hours spent in front of a computer. I spend hours on each tweet yet others get over 50 re-tweets for stuff like ‘Ate some food’ and ‘Hey’.Let me be the Ringo Star of the alt lit scene. I’m okay with that. Phil Jackman digs, well, it’s a complicated issue.
                The Curiosity Cabinet is a sweet, optimistic collection. I like the dedication. Usually these sorts of things have only poetry. Diversity is good. Different forms of art help to show off the many different ways of expressing oneself. Sometimes I forget about the visual. I get lost in words. Here in this cabinet I’m lost in everything. That’s a good thing.

Exciting News!

We are pleased to announce two very exciting interviews that we will be featuring in the next issue of The Curiosity Cabinet. First off, we have an interview with award winning author, Matt Haig and we also have an interview with musician Shannen Bamford to coincide with the launch of her new E.P ‘Paper Planes.’  Can’t wait? You can wet your apetitie below:

Matt Haig

British Author and journalist, Matt Haig, has been described as “Delightfully weird” (Gerard Woodward, The Guardian) and so, will fit in perfectly within the pages of The Curiosity Cabinet. Author of ‘The Radleys’, ‘The Dead Fathers Club’ and most recently, ‘The Humans’, Matt has an ability to access the most delicate of human emotions with hilarity and warmth, as well as being a bit odd just to balance it out. He also makes lists, which in my opinion, means he’s a good egg.


Shannen Bamford

Shannen Bamford is singer-songwriter from Liverpool, UK. This month sees the release of her first ever E.P. Shannen’s soft, lullaby vocals can be compared to the comforting pitter patter of raindrops on your window pane when you’re drifting off to sleep. Shannen writes her own music and plays several instruments as well as running a popular open mic night in Liverpool based in Central Perk coffee shop. A display of pure talent and dedication to her passion, we can’t wait to get our interview with the beautiful Shannen.



the cat’s meow – on university.

cat meow

This article on the Telegraph website caught my eye: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/10070315/Ten-things-to-do-before-you-graduate.html.

I am finished with university now, after 5 muddled years and around fifty grand of debt, and I can’t say I’m going to miss it. The library yes, the free access to ebooks and journals for subjects on everything from agriculture to zoology, those rare moments of vigorous intellectual debate, maybe even the Costa coffee kiosks everywhere you turn.  I wouldn’t say that I’ve had the most typical university experience, but let’s see if I can check any of these “ten things” off my list.

1. “Go on tour.” I have no idea what this means. Next.

2. “Get a 0%  student overdraft.” It’s nigh-on impossible to avoid this, even whilst working 20 hours a week. But, free debt is good debt, yes? Check.

3. “Gain a skill for free that you would have to pay for otherwise.”  Hmm. I learnt how to write essays to answer questions that I never understood, if that counts? “Blagging” is definitely a valuable life skill. Check.

4. “Make full use of your student card.” Oh yes. Ohhh yes.  Dorothy Perkins is the most generous I found, with a 15% discount, and AMC cinema lets you in for just £4 with this magical card.  Also, the student railcard thanks to Natwest; I can honestly say that it’s saved me hundreds of pounds over the years and I will miss it greatly when it expires in December. Check.

5. “Go to an all-student performance.” It never even crossed my mind, though I did consider joining the am-dram society (and quickly changed my mind after the first meeting). Next.

6. “Give an unlikely relationship a shot.” By which I presume they mean ‘date a geek/jock’ and not ‘your history professor’. Neither of those happened, I’m thankful to say. Next.

7. “Go to as many fancy dress socials as possible.” What is this ‘social’ you speak of? I spent all of my time studying and reading every single book on the reading list. Ahem. But really, I do love to dress up and university is the only time you can really get away with it; not getting involved in this sort of stuff is something that I only slightly regret. Next.

8. “Go to all your lectures and do all your required reading for a week – just so you know what it’s like.”  Highly recommend this one; do it for more than one week though, it makes those awkward seminars an awful lot easier to cope with. And y’know, that’s kind of the reason you’re there.

9. “Make an effort to get to know someone who has completely different interests from you and/or is from a completely different walk of life.”  My closest course-mate is/was (she’s not dead, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever see her again) a girl from Kenya, who had moved over here at 16. She spoke about 7 different languages and was probably the happiest person I’ve ever met. It’s truly amazing the variety of nationalities you will meet at university, embrace it!

10. “Speak to a careers adviser.” I suppose you could, or you could always just Google “careers after graduation” and get exactly the same information. Not that I’m a cynic, but there’s a limit to the advice Student Services can give when even you don’t know where you want to go next.

So that is it; the ten things that everyone should do before graduating. Personally, I’d add in a few more things like “get some work experience” and “hand everything in on time”, but then I’ve always been a bit of a spoil sport.  University is great, and yes you get lots of lie-ins and yes you get free money and yes you’re not in the ‘real world’, but it’s not easy.  My first year, like most people, I partied, put on a ton of weight, and barely scraped through. Then I realised that wasn’t really how it should be done, and so I worked part-time, knuckled down, spent an awful lot of time in bed watching Lost, and am finishing with grades I can be proud of.  Others party 4 times a week, join 27 athletics clubs and still manage to pass everything. Make it your own, do your work, and you can’t go far wrong.