We’re an eclectic bunch at team Razor.
Each month, we’ll share with the world a flavour of what’s caught our attention and influenced our thinking and conversations in the office.
I recently binged How to Fail by Elizabeth Day during a flight to Australia. The book is all about what it’s like to fail across a range of different areas as you navigate your way through life; covering topics such as family, relationships, careers and friendships. Most importantly, she talks to – and about – all the amazing people who’ve shared similar ‘failure’ experiences (Phoebe Waller Bridge and Dolly Alderton to name a couple) and how to take what they’ve learned to create new and exciting paths.
It’s been an inspiring month for me. I kicked it off with a talk by Ian Urbina, a NYT investigative journalist who spent five years researching his book, The Outlaw Ocean. It’s opened my eyes to a world I simply didn’t know existed. Horrifying and inspirational. I’ve also been caught up in the debate over whether two winners of The Booker Prize should have been allowed. (In my opinion, Bernadine Evaristo’s book Girl, Woman, Other, should have won entirely on its own.) I’ve got better at going to exhibitions and went to see Anthony Gormley at the RA and Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern. I binged Unbelievable on Netflix and The Rap Game UK on BBC Three. And I loved the films The Farewell, Judy and Hustlers. Top that, November!
It’s crime season over at The Postal Museum* and the star of the show is the latest interactive 1960s exhibition, The Great Train Robbery: Crime and The Post. Most of us know about this heist as one that gave the robbers glamour and fame. What history doesn’t focus on is the traumatic impact it had on those affected at the time; from the workers (victims) on board the train to the families of the victims and the criminals involved. Never-before-seen artefacts and documents tell their stories and how members of the Post Office Investigation Branch risked their lives to track (pardon the pun) down the perpetrators of the GTR and other crimes. As a fan of admin (and intrigue), I found myself fascinated by the intricate paperwork and methods used to unpick the events during a very limited tech time – especially by today’s standards.
I’ve binged the How to Fail with Elizabeth Day podcast which celebrates the things that haven’t gone right in life. She’s interviewed a series of people I really admire like Phoebe Waller-Bridge (hilarious) and Tara Westover (I loved her book) but also people I admittedly have little interest in or perhaps didn’t hugely respect before listening (like Camilla Thurlow from Love Island). Irrespective of my view of the interviewee, I love learning about their personal stories and feel inspired by their strength to not only share their failures but to actually use them to succeed.
I recently went to a talk at the British Library about Indian experiences during World War Two. It was incredible to learn more about my culture in relation to this era which is often overlooked and unheard of in history lessons and the media. This examination of Indian soldiers’ emotional experiences opened my eyes to how much they sacrificed during the war and made an impact. We saw military censorship reports archived at the British Library. The letters originally written in Hindi, Gurmukhi, Urdu, Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil were then dictated to scribes by Indian non-literate sepoys. These fascinating letters humanised soldiers. They wrote about feeling homesick, not earning enough money to send home, how they missed their wives and children, and how they took pleasure in the simple things like watching films with other soldiers. The colonial photographs allowed me to connect more with my roots and I feel inspired to dig even deeper to learn more about India’s history.
*If you’ve not yet visited The Postal Museum, it really is a fab place for young’uns and grown-ups. There’s loads to learn, plenty of fun activities and things to play around with. That’s before you even go across the road to ride the famous Mail Rail. (Gem)