Have I mentioned lately that I love George Clinton? The man who will be headlining at the Wilderness Festival this weekend (where I will be speaking on Sunday). I have worshipped him for decades. Funk music is a singular form of auditory magic. And he is a magician of the highest order.

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I mean, how many people can boast such a cluster of words as the opening paragraph of a Wikipedia entry about their work?

The P Funk Mothership, otherwise known as The Holy Mothership is the arcane space vehicle of Dr. Funkenstein aka George Clinton and his agents of Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication. An integral part of the P Funk mythology, the Mothership existed both conceptually as a fictional vehicle of funk deliverance, and as a physical prop central to P Funk concerts. Powered by unknown means, presumably The Funk and simple stagecraft, the Mothership appeared over the Planet Earth many times during the second half of the Twentieth century, and was even seen to physically land at a number of live music venues in the United States during the 1970s in order to disgorge its Funk to the people.

Superb.

Unfortunately, most people think his music was just about getting high and wearing silly clothes, and the Mothership purely a vehicle for flashing lights and smoke machines. It was not.

Clinton, on the expanding rights and social standing of black people in the 70s: “We had put black people in situations nobody ever thought they would be in, like the White House. I figured another place you wouldn’t think black people would be was in outer space.”

A giant glittering spaceship as an explosive, in-your-face metaphor for civil rights expansion. Sublime.

This BBC Doc, from about 23:00 gets right to the heart of the matter.

“They got their advance, the other band members were like, ‘hey, let’s go and buy cadillacs!’ and George was like, ‘naw – let’s take our money and invest it in the spaceship.”

Some musicians spend their money on giant cars, spinning hub caps and diamond teeth. Others convince their bandmates to spend the cash on a giant, touring spaceship to represent empowerment for the disenfranchised.

How. Cool. Can. You. Get.

Me, six months old.

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Some parents costume their children as sunflowers. Others stick lit cigarettes in their mouths and clamp headphones over their ears.

Today I publish my first feature in The Guardian‘s magazine: a cover story on the race for the new condom.

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I spent two weeks in LA meeting maverick inventors, pragmatic academics and open-minded couples road testing experimental new designs for science. Plus, I saw some pretty funky gadgets in the labs of the plonker boffins. I am so, so delighted that The Guardian chose to publish this particularly NSFW image.

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A “coital replicator” at the Apex Laboratories in San Diego, photographed by Steve Schofield.

Aces high.

Plus, they used a quote from Marvin Gaye – who I love – for the header. Couldn’t be more delighted.

I appeared on the Huffingpost’s Online News channel live from their studio in New York – you can see the clip of me yapping away here. I didn’t realise until I got there that it was TV, not radio – thank goodness I was wearing a suit…

I am utterly delighted to announce that I’ve been added to the F5 Festival line-up in New York City, April 17-18! The “creativity festival exploring the intersection of design, art and technology” has generously brought me on board their prestigious line-up, alongside Peabody and Emmy Award winners, NASA Directors, and spectacular Argentinian circus performers Fuerza Bruta. Thrilled.

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My first appearance on mainstream television, ladies and gentlemen. Or – shall I say – just the ladies. Canada’s The Social, a lively interactive chat show featuring some of the country’s sassiest broadcasters. Check out the segment here.

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In the nude pumps, according to my friends, I did “an excellent impression of Kate Middleton” (sigh), but I would like the jury to note, Kate never spoke on national telly about babies on acid.

On January 17th I lost my hero. This is my tribute in The Globe & Mail to Don Harron – a true feminist, in the very best sense of the word.

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I Remember: Don Harron

February 6, 2015

London — Everyone remembers the comedian, most remember the broadcaster, many remember the thespian and some remember the scholar. But I will always remember and treasure Don Harron, the champion of female equality.

Don – my grandfather – was fully and truly a feminist, in the most joyful sense of the word.

As his alter ego Valerie Rosedale, the upper-class pearl-necklaced wealthy cousin of Charlie Farquharson, put it: “Equality for women was a terrible step down.”

There were countless ways in which he celebrated the virtues of the female mind. He loved seeing women triumph in all things, from politics to the arts.

You do not need to have known Don personally to see this. His artistic creations render his convictions obvious. With his musical adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, a book penned by a woman about a girl, he brought to life the story of a penniless but brilliant young heroine.

That a song titled “Gee I’m Glad I’m No One Else But Me”, sung by a destitute girl could be crafted by a man in the 1950s – an era hardly renowned for progressive politics – is noteworthy. Moreover, Don was keen to represent Lucy Maud Montgomery’s text as faithfully as possible. He wished to do justice to the author’s intentions because he respected her as an exceptional thinker.

Another celebration of female talent, his musical The Wonder Of It All, gave Catherine McKinnon (his wife for 35 years, longtime creative partner and friend till the day of his death) an ideal platform for her incredible voice.

The subject of the musical was Emily Carr, a uniquely Canadian genius whom Don wanted to honour.

Don did everything he could as a man of influence (and as a husband, father and grandfather) to let girls know they could do anything a boy can, and probably do it better. I know I might never have become a writer had he not wagged his finger at me when I said I wanted to study biology.

“Just don’t you ever forget: You are a writer.” It was clear that whatever his children and grandchildren (male or female) wanted to do, he would support us wholeheartedly and he believed in us.

I have encountered many men who claim to consider women as equals. Some worshipfully, some academically, and many resentfully. But Don believed in gender equality with a sincere warmth that I will always remember.

– Zoe Cormier, London

If you Google image search for “trashy American hair”, more than half of the results are of black women (and their hair looks perfectly fine, as it happens). Considering they make up 10% of the US population, that’s beyond depressing – it’s nauseating.

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I discovered this because I need to get my hair professionally done and I wanted to give the stylist an idea of what I *don’t* want, which is chemical-laden helmet TV anchor hair, like a Republican politician’s wife.

Turns out that most of those pics lead to stories about American Apparel being under fire for not wanting “trashy” unstraightened hair on black models. Charming.

If you haven’t seen it, watch Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair. It’s a work of art – and the film he was born to make.

I’ve always found doing just one thing at a time difficult and boring. I always watched TV while doing homework in high school (neither activity was interesting enough on its own). I always listen to music when I write. I always listen to podcasts when I walk.

Latest combo: stand-up comedy for an hour a day while I practise ashtanga yoga. Yes, I know you’re supposed to focus on your breathing and count your inhalations and blah blah blah, but if people in gyms can watch television while running, I can listen to stuff that makes me laugh while doing uttihita chaturanga dandasana.

Anyways, Pete Johansson‘s show “I Am Very Funny” made me laugh so hard today that I fell over today while doing dancer’s pose.

Next up: Everything filthy and offensive by Doug Stanhope. Yep: I’m going to practice ancient meditative exercises that derive from Eastern Philosophic traditions whilst listening to a drunk libertarian prick rant about prostitution and drugs, because that’s how I roll.

My grandfather – playwright, actor, comedian, and larger-than-life personality – Don Harron (September 19, 1924 – January 17, 2015) passed away yesterday.

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From his biography (written by his daughter, my mother, the best writer I have ever had the good grace to meet): According to long-time friend and colleague Mavor Moore, “Harn [nickname for Don Harron] contains several opposites: scholar and clown, nationalist and internationalist, sophisticate and sentimentalist, puritan and hedonist, poet and punster, old fart and eternal youth. What saves him from utter derangement is a genius for transmuting the lot into laughter.” He was my rock, my inspiration, my incessant source of solace, and – in his quirky, indescribable way – my hero.

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