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The Novel

As things are, I won't regret it when the teenage label's torn off the arse pockets of my drip-dry sky-blue jeans (11).

Our working-class narrator, "Blitz Baby" to his mum, in the final summer of his teenage years, hangs out at jazz clubs, rides his Vespa, and makes money by taking photos. These include legitimate attempts to establish himself as a serious photographer, and illicit shots for the porn trade. He wrestles with family relationships: his thuggish half-brother, his promiscuous mother, and his broken father, with whom he most hopes to develop and reaffirm his family bond. It's 1958, and British youth have money and a country not under attack. Of course, west London neighbourhoods like his remain blighted by the war. Kids run amok, Teddy Boys stalk the streets, and tensions grow between the white underclass and the growing immigrant population. He loves his neighbourhood, but he often escapes to Soho and…

It was apparently exactly six months ago that I gave an update on my status in the world of the gig economy. A lot of things have changed since then. For one thing, almost all my work now comes from a website that I signed up for, that when I first heard about it, seemed like a scam. Let me describe it, and think about what your first reaction is.

First of all, I get paid by the minute. Ever had a job where you get paid by the minute? More specifically, I get paid 17…

The Minié ball, invented by Claude-Étienne Minié in 1847, was designed to be loaded easily. The fact that it made guns much more deadly was an accidental bonus.

Muskets and barrel-loaded rifles were slow to load; traditionally, one used a ramrod and a mallet to seat the charge and the bullet firmly in place. The tight fit improved aim and muzzle velocity, both of which could be questionable in those days. In 1800 the development of the Baker rifle

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