Cirque du Story is a free monthly newsletter for creatives, philosophers and people who are bored at the office and wondering where it all went wrong. Each edition focuses on a particular theme (scroll to the bottom of the page for the current and past issues), looking at examples from the world of film, music, art, literature and other media to see the wildly different approaches that various creatives have taken with this particular subject. Whether it's death through the eyes of a bluegrass band or childhood as depicted by a horror director, each issue aims to explore what it means to be a human hot mess through the medium of story.
If you'd like to subscribe, please do fill out the form below. I promise I will never pass on your details, or show up at your house.
In the Current Issue
Bodies, eh? If there's one thing we'll be stuck with til the end of our days, it's our corporeal form. Unless of course, they find that sci-fi technology to keep heads alive in jars, but that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun to me. Elsewhere in body-themed stuff...
Is nothing sacred? I muse on why it is that even in pregnancy, women aren't safe from body-shaming
Oscar Wilde explores the existential connection between body and soul in The Picture of Dorian Gray
Julian Schnabel's film adaptation of Jean-Dominique Bauby's memoir, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, captures the mind's ability to transcend a broken body
We look at why it is that Renaissance sculptors think it's perfectly acceptable to depict women as men with boobs
And comedian Francesca Martinez talks about life as a 'wobbly' person (she has cerebral palsy)
Love is all around! Or is it? This month's Cirque looks at every kind of love imaginable- from the obsessive kind to the love between father and son (when it's at its most complicated, of course). And if you're not even sure if love is a thing, there's something here for you too.
The Road to Perdition: Father-son relationships; often complicated, occasionally murderous...
All About Love: bell hooks' essays on how true love can never flourish in a patriarchal, capitalist society will make you wonder why you ever watched a soppy film.
Pablo Neruda's sonnet XVII: If the above depressed you, read this poem from one of the great romantics instead.
The Arctic Monkey's, Cornerstone: "I smelled your scent on the seatbelt, and kept my shortcuts to myself..."
George Harrison, My Sweet Lord: Maybe he just got bored writing about Patti Boyd
This month, we delve into the murky and occasionally hilarious world of addiction. Are you an addict? Do you know someone who is? Sorry, I can't help. But I CAN give you a little glimpse into how storytellers, musicians and comedians have handled it. And if you want to read about my own experience of addiction, you can check out my story here, or read about my long-term recovery here.
The Shining: You may be too distracted by s***ting yourself to notice that the major 'demon' in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film is its central character's alcoholism.
The Life and Loves of a She Devil: You may wonder what a feminist text in which not a single conventional addict appears is doing in a feature on addiction. But Fay Weldon's hilariously biting book is a perfect example of what happens when an ordinary person turns from the proverbial light to the darkness, with delectably naughty results.
Waiting for the Man: The Velvet Underground knew a thing or two about waiting...and waiting...and waiting
Mike Gunn: In this hilarious stand-up routine, Mike Gunn talks about some of the more unexpected symptoms of getting clean from drugs.
As this is the time of year when many of us can't escape 'em, the current issue is focused on family. Richard Linklater's film Boyhood plays with the notion of just how many people really go into raising a child, Lionel Shriver's novel We Need to Talk About Kevin sees a family destroyed by a bad seed- or a bad mother, depending on your views. The Who reflect on an inter-generational divide and the utterly unique comedian Tony Law reflects on his family- of trolls.
This month, in honour of Halloween, we're looking at death in film, comedy and literature.
We're looking at how death means life in the 1971 comedy Harold and Maude, how Joan Didion tries to pretend it's not happening and how the Stanley Brothers are waiting for its sweet release. All topped off by a hilarious observational piece by Stewart Lee on the death of Princess Di.
There seemed no better way to celebrate the birth of Cirque than to produce an issue all about childhood. From the dark vulnerability of childhood in Pan's Labyrinth , to the downright feral nature of children in The Lord of the Flies , we'll also be hearing from the White Stripes.