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Volume 324

Jeez, a whole year since lockdown 1 – that’s gone quickly. Happy anniversary, I guess? To celebrate it, this week’s coolsh*t is bringing you a Martian metropolis, quarantine dreams, and the return of a (hopefully) Covid-safe festival.

Having a Blast.

We all probably feel like we have a fairly good idea of what a volcanic eruption looks like. But that idea probably comes from the Discovery Channel or about 3 different Nicholas Cage films; it’s not often you get to see one so up close and personal. Last week, the easily misspelt Fagradalsfjall Volcano near Reykjavik erupted for the first time in about 800 years. Fortunately, though, the eruption was relatively small, so nobody was washed away in a tsunami of molten lava. Instead, we got some incredible drone shots out of it. I say we, but it’s mainly photographer Bjorn Steinbekk who should take the credit, as he had the bright idea of flying his beloved drone straight through the eruption. And while there were no grapes in sight, Steinbekk certainly captured the wrath of Mother Nature. Although, what’s really spectacular is just how unspectacular all these local Reykjavik residents seem to find the whole thing. Apparently, if you’re from Iceland, a volcano erupting on your doorstep is just one of those funny little quirks of life. One bloke even used it as an opportunity to make a fry up.

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Festival Season.

I wasn’t sure whether to include this, as I can see how hundreds of pissed young people crammed inside a venue might not exactly be everyone’s idea of a good time under current circumstances. However, there is an undeniable positive spin to it too, so that’s the one we’re gonna roll with. “Back to Live” is a festival/experiment that was held in the Netherlands last week to see if live events can go ahead safely. And it looks like it went off. A rapper even gave a shoutout to AstraZeneca, which, given the state of their PR, might be one of their most glowing endorsements to date. Attendees were tested 48 hours prior to arrival and were given random spot tests on the door, which resulted in 26 positive-testing partygoers politely being asked to piss off. Each attendee will be tested again today and the results will be released over the next few days, so fingers crossed the experiment was a success rather than a nightmare super spreader fiesta. The definite positive though, in spite of fears that we might have all become incredibly dull and forgotten how to have a good time, based off of this, plus whatever the hell is going on in Florida at the moment, I think we’re gonna be alright on that front.

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A Whole New World.

I often wonder what the future will hold for the human race. What will the world look like in 2100? Will computers have taken over? Will we be cyborgs yet? Will Prince Philip still be alive? These are the thoughts keeping me up at night. But perhaps the question itself is flawed, and we should be thinking less about this world and more about what another world will look like. I’m talking Mars, people. Architecture studio ABIBOO have revealed their plans to create the first self-sustainable city on Mars, which will begin construction in 2054 and will be ready to be populated by 2100. The city, Nüwa (because obviously Martians use umlauts), will be located at Tempe Mensa on one of the Martian cliffs and will house 250,000 lucky residents, who will have access to hospitals, schools and universities, sports and cultural activities, shopping areas, and farming areas. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal. And all you have to do is pay $300,000 and sign up to devoting 80% of your work life to tasks assigned by the city. Elon Musk is gonna shit a brick when he finds out somebody’s messing with his new planet.

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As a general rule, if anyone ever starts a sentence with the words “I had the craziest dream last night…”, I usually take that as my cue to stop listening for a few minutes and retreat into the safe haven of my own thoughts. Or an even better example is when someone says, “You won’t believe the dream I had last night”. I bet I will, since nothing actually happened. Except obviously that’s not what I say; I nod politely and make affirmative noises while internally harbouring resentment towards this raconteur bore who hast forsaken me so. You’re probably now wondering, given my disposition, why on Earth have I included a video of 20 people talking about their dreams? Well, Covid dreams are somewhat exceptional, so they get a pass. Plus, for a large part of the past year, dreams have been basically our only opportunity to get out the house for a bit. But I thought perhaps we can use this wonderfully animated New Yorker documentary featuring 20 of the most bizarre and vivid quarantine dreams as an opportunity to draw a line under this torturous conversational gambit. So sit back, enjoy and, most importantly, don’t tell me about your dreams.

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With Spring feeling like it has well and truly sprung and with the promise of beer gardens just around the corner, this feels like a particularly pertinent story. After months of being Vitamin D deficient, I’ve been going out of my way to soak up every ray of sunshine that I possibly can now the temperature has reached the sweltering double figures. However, for me that basically just means scooting my chair half an inch to the left every 10 minutes between the hours of 1 and 4pm. Outside of that glorious period, the sun’s on the other side of the house and I’m shit out of luck. This was the predicament facing Italian builder Annunzio Lagomarsini, so he decided to build a house that followed the sun. The ‘Flying House’ is suspended on a scissor structure without a central pivot, and it can be elevated up to 12.5 meters high and can complete a full 360º rotation in just under an hour. Inspired by his grandfather, Lagomarsini built the house so he wouldn’t have to carry around a chair to follow the sun when he’s old and frail. No – instead, he’ll just have to descend a 12-metre death trap any time he needs to go to the shops for a pint of milk. It was a no brainer.

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realsh*t: One Year of Life in Lockdown.

1 year ago, Boris Johnson announced the UK’s first national lockdown. Some countries had already shut down, and others were about to follow. We wanted to find out first-hand how the Next Gen around the world were dealing with this new reality. And like that, realsh*t was born.

1 year, 24 episodes and countless hours of conversation later, we’re taking a look back at this past year, as told by the SELFHOOD Collective. From pandemics to protests to presidents, plus everything in between, this is the real story of life in lockdown through the eyes of the Next Gen.

Real People, Real Time… Realsh*t.

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