Thursday, November 20, 2014

English Fields.

In Kill List the country is divided between the killers, trapped in awful marriages, up to their eyeballs in debt, desperate to hang on to their suburban new builds, their victims: the marginal, denizens of a grey, wintry edgeland of damp basement flats, lock ups, factories and industrial estates, and the cultic higher orders, whose arcane practices and rituals are as ancient as their hold on power.

Marriage is a battlefield, kids are collateral damage. Friendships may erupt into violence at any moment. Work is a series of bloody tasks carried out under the auspices of  vastly powerful forces with whom one wittingly or otherwise has signed a blood oath, the exact nature of which is deeply uncertain.  Everyone, even your own partner, regards death as a merciful release.Your complicity in your own destruction is the only thing that is guaranteed.

In this sense Kill List is the first great film of Austerity Britain.

The damaged veteran finding ways to readjust to and deploy his skills on Civvy street is a common recent theme in British film, but there’s nothing noble or sympathetic about Jay and Gal. Nor do they have that surplus of confidence, the familiarity with violence and the  rugged self determination that often makes the demobbed squaddie a hero figure. In fact they lack agency and soon become fearful of what they have got themselves into. In Nick Love’s Outlaw, the returned soldier raises a vigilante gang to combat The Establishment, but in Kill List they continue to be its pawns.

There have been all kinds of heated theorizations about how and if Kill List’s elliptical and allusive narrative ties up.  But Kill List is less interesting for what it means than what it does, enacting a violent rupture with and within its genre conventions, bringing the British Gangster movie under pressure from two directions, Loachian realism and Gothic horror. Only hammering these two seemingly irreconcilable forms together can adequately get at the texture of the moment: cold dread, incomprehension, the sense that things are out of your control, your life is not your own.

We are a long way here, from cheeky London-centric capers like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking barrels. This an England which, during the pomp of the post-historic and classless 90s and Noughties had been banished, never to return.

Food Bank Britain, ATOS Britain, UKIP Britain, with its endlessly declining pay, rising rents, spiralling debts. Home to the nine poorest areas of northern Europe as well as its single richest. A country riven by a series of fantastical, overlapping revelations, phone hacking, financial manipulation, VIP paedophiles, police corruption. A nexus of vested interests intent on occulting and exculpating it all.

To be plunged into such a world, such a crisis, to have a set of prior assumptions whisked away,  is disorienting, disturbing, nerve-jangling, the pieces can't yet be fitted fully together, something terrible is happening, has perhaps always been happening, History has returned in all its devastating, vertiginous enormity, not, or not yet at least as the continuation of a progressive project but as a nightmare.

The film was shot in Sheffield, the setting for one of Ben Wheatley’s favourite non-horror horror films, the harrowing nuclear attack docu-drama, Threads.

In an interview for a A Field in England Ben Wheatley suggests that it should be thought of as a prequel to Kill List. Loath as I am to disagree with the director’s assessment of his own work, I am going to suggest that the reverse is true. That  Kill List, a film about the present, can’t help but be about the  past.  A Field in England, though it’s set during the civil war is really a film about the future.

If there is an initially terrible, traumatic return of history in Kill List, history as the piling up of disasters, trauma on trauma, the evil plan of the establishment, the Illuminati, the dark ones unfolding. In A Field in England a countervailing set of societies, movements, and organizations is evoked, the history of the long struggle for liberation. There is some corner of an English field, that is forever foreign, committed to experiment, to rejection, to turning the world upside down,  pushing toward the new, and the film itself, with its baroque stylization and breathtaking formal boldness, maintains fidelity to this tradition as it invokes it.

Again the film deals with soldiers, conscripts, rather than professionals who exit the civil war, enter a different field and decide to strike out together to look for an alehouse. This though is  a ruse and they are dragooned instead into a treasure hunt. After a few brief moments as masterless men they are again set to work. “I am my own man, I am my own man” Jacob repeats angrily as he digs for treasure at gunpoint.

Whitehead’s story could be the drab, reactionary tale of a cowardly intellectual who through learning to kill becomes more-than-human, somewhat like Dustin Hoffman’s character by the end of Straw Dogs. But in seeking to return to his master and fullfil his task in a repeat of the films opening point of view shot as he plunges through the hedgerow, he is instead returned to the field and finds Friend and Jacob reborn and silently waiting. The final shot is a tableau of the three men, memorialised, charged with an eerie significance.

The inability to escape from a particular location, with all the narrow, winding roads  leading you eventually back to doom, is a  trope of rural horror, a spacialization of circadian, rural rhythms, the modern progressive man, rider of times arrow fallen into the vortex, we might say, given that Peter Strickland’s superb Berberian Sound Studio deals with similar themes the Equestrian Vortex, of deep time. But here it is used to different, more optimistic ends.

From the flux and chaos of the battle, from their repeated deaths and rebirths, from their having travelled as far into and out of themselves as its possible to go the men have been transformed. Whitehead is now caught up in a particular social field, a particular set of relations. Toward the  end of the film Jacob tells him that all along the true treasure was here between them. They have become masterless, finally, not through some abstract notion of freedom, nor by slipping away through the hedgerow, but precisely by staying within the field, altering their relation to it,  their relation to each other. Here it is a field, but it could a square, a street, an estate, a nation, a world. This is a process, an alchemical process, which we might call comradeization, in which they no longer are “their own men”, but of and for each other.

In this way the film is not just of a piece with the neglected films of the  60’s and 70s regularly tagged as influences, from Witchfinder General to Culloden, from Winstanley to Blood on Satan’s Claw but also with more trenchant, overtly politicized  treatments of the theme,  Peter Hall’s Akenfield and Bill Douglas’ Comrades.

In returning to the past, to the Civil War and its role in accelerating enclosure A Field in England returns us to the problem of ownership, the commons and land rights, something previously considered to be an issue mainly for indigenous peoples in the developing world. The term re-peasantization is used now to talk about the movement of the young unemployed in Spain, or Greece out of urban centres.

When the city can offer us nothing but precarious employment as servants of the rich, it’s not rural but urban life that begins to look like the idiocy.  A Field in England reminds us that the countryside is no idyll, is as much an arena of power and conflict as anywhere. Who knows but that groups of radicals returning to the land, as they have periodically, will find themselves in solidarity with rural workers, against the ancient estates and the group approvingly identified by the Telegraph back in 2004 as the new squirearchy of our neo-feudal times.

But A Field in England is also cut from more millenarian cloth, imbued with other, longer range fantasies and fears. Finally, when all social relations breakdown, when the end comes, when the credit dries up and the oil runs out, when the waters rise or exotic diseases decimate the globe and Malthus has the last laugh, we will be obliged to return to the land and the great cycle will be complete.

In Threads, Ben Wheatley’s favourite non-horror horror film, after the bitter decade-long night of the nuclear Winter has passed, rudimentary communities spring up again to till the soil that, momentarily at least, has been returned to them.

It has taken a war to get them there.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

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Alex kindly invited me to read something at the launch for his poetry collection The Last Tape, so I accepted.

I'll be saying something about two Ben Wheatley/Amy Jump films " Kill List" and "A Field in England", which will contain major spoilers. Do come along!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

When K-Punk's Capitalist Realism came out X number of  years ago, I found it disappointing, deflating, as I think quite a few people did. Firstly, partly because I was already familiar with a lot of  Mark's observations  and formulations  from his blogging, secondly because, such was my faith in his  powers, I really thought he was going to come  up with an answer to the  question posed in the  sub-title "is there really no alternative?". Which he didn't.

It seems though that Mark essentially then set about trying to answer that question himself, along with collaborator and frequent interlocutor Jeremy Gilbert. What I think is particularly striking about this paper (fingers crossed it's as widely read as Capitalist Realism, to which, really, it is the response) is that aside from a few references to Dr Who and the shiteness of contemporary music culture it isn't at all what you might have expected Mark to come up with/out with several years ago i.e. it's  not very Gothic, nor does it seem to care much about theory. Can it be that Mark is just as interested in the work of Eric Olen Wright or Gar Alperovitz as he is Lacan or the  films of Kubrick?  It seems so.

I find this heartening and politically instructive,  heartening on a human level because I like Mark (I have met him about three times, we have very different personal styles, we exchange a comment on Facebook about once every three years on average just in case you think we are part of some mutually supportive, backslapping, entryist Cabal) and will always be grateful to him for having created the kind of electrifying intellectual excitement that no-one now particularly wants to admit was absolutely vital to their own intellectual development and re/awakening ( not to mention his support being integral, via Zero / the Wire in adding impetus to a few careers) and also heartening and instructive because it demonstrates the necessity of thinking the moment, uncluttered by prior aesthetic and theoretical commitments.

Actually this format also seems to have liberated and helped to coalesce the argument in Jeremy Gilbert's Common Ground too. Liberated, I mean, from the need to painstakingly justify every point with reference to the entire tradition of human thought to which academics are professionally subjected. As usual Gilbert's snappy CiF piece is littered with commonsensical sneering below the line of the Oh really and What about and The author clearly doesn't even seem to know ilk, whereas, you can trust me, I have read his book, he honestly, really has thought of all that stuff and maybe, y'know, even a little bit more.*

Beyond Markets, Beyond Machines. Actually the second of those two beyonds doesn't really get unpacked here, but I hope it will!

PDF here.

* my favourite ever example of this was when Peter Hallward did a bit for CIF after the earthquake in Haiti and someone in the comments box suggested (after a quick read of wikipedia, I assume) that Hallward didn't even seem to know that Aristide had been president twice. I have a strict policy of never leaving comments on anything but even I was tempted to get in there and say, have you read Damming the Flood? Jesus Christ it's the most laboriously researched and minutely detailed 800 page doorstop imaginable.  Naturally I restrained myself, for as we know, that way madness lies. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Two absolutely brilliant mixes by Matt Woebot. Interesting especially in that they bear all the hallmarks of his own work, a gentle, genteel absurdism, a slightly melancholy, whimsical, askew Englishness, cheeky humour, an ear for subtle nonsense and understated beauty. All the more remarkable then that they are reggae mixes. There's a crazy back story to how the mixes came about but no doubt Matt will reveal all himself one day.

Actually this is probably, subliminally, where Matt's love of the Canterbury scene and Reggae meet. Big Pussy Sally no doubt a Jamaican cousin to Caravan's Waterloo Lily.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Self promotion is always horrible. It’s always seemed to me, anyway, antithetical to Leftist political positions. I suppose if you have Leftist or “radical” product to promote you can always tell yourself that you’re engaging in such things in order to get that important message out there, to shift discourse, that you are, perhaps even nobly, prepared to get your hands dirty by fighting on their territory, or there’s the appeal to pure pragmatism, hey I’ve got to eat!

The no-doubt foolhardy false opposition, would you rather be stacking shelves in Socialism or occupying the position of Acclaimed Leftist Writer in Capitalism keeps crossing my mind.  I’d be happier with the former. Partly because there are few things as tiring as being among people who sit around talking cleverly about culture all day.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More Mazzucato (and others)

Really interesting radio show here with Mazzucato,  Arun Majumdar  and Mark Littlewood the head of the CBI.
What’s especially interesting is both how periperal Littlewood seems to the conversation and  how panic has stripped down the discourse of  a certain type of bluff Business bullshitter. This is the rhetoric distilled and then just repeated ad nauseum, a panicked grasping at the  talismanic. You can’t see Littlewood but you can imagine him quite clearly, a species of Farage,  the blokey pomposity, the lack of preparation, the  entitled assumption that as he is only talking to a couple of academics, not people who have  run an  actual business, he will be able to  just wave it all away,  the deliberate use of sloppy almost childish terminology and phrasing in the repeated use of “stuff”.

This latter feature is reminiscent of the recent attempted controversy over  Piketty’s Capital in which his detractors repeatedly used the  word “sums” to describe the highly complex  collating and  crunching required to elaborate his thesis ( he’s got his  sums wrong). This patronising of other people’s ideas  and  arguments is the default setting in which non neo-liberal worldviews or the efforts  of Governments and  theorists attempting to extend the argument is  automatically characterized as childlike, silly, the  adults not only talking  down to the wilful kids in the naughty corner, but also addressing the dim mass of sheeple, who really don’t and  never will “get it” in all its complexity.  It's a strategy that has proven highly effective  in subordinating dissenting thought  throughout the neo-liberal project,  but here, especially, this discourse seems impotent, drained of affective force, a windy, blustering cycling around that struggles to reclaim its incantatory elan, cut off from any kind of  wellspring of belief, the sound in fact of a discursive  practice being drained of hegemonic power.  Mazucatto is undeniably a smooth operator,  who having made significant inroads into mainstream discourse is starting to gently turn up the pressure, here questioning the use of the term bureaucrat.

Her fellow heterodox economist Ha Joon Chang also seems to be growing bolder. Chang is always worth listening to, but in this lecture, more explicitly than usual, perhaps also a growing sign of the  centre of gravity shifting leftward,  he offers  up a condensed  critique of both neo liberalism  and what he calls the humanist school of developmental theory. The  arguments of  both Mazucatto and  Chang are part of a wider questioning of  neoclassical economics and the elision of production as a site of enquiry, the cognitive  dissonance  that this elision provokes and the discursive dream work that attempts to stitch the  gap closed.


Also rather remarkable to see the immensely canny Richard Wolff on the broadly intolerable Bill Maher’s show. Back when Wolff  started out (well started out in the sens etahthe had just retired and  decided to see how far he  could push his theorising into the public realm) he was cagey  about using the M word (Marxism) or the C word ( Communism, he still prefers the term Economic Democracy) so it is interesting to see him here openly “admitting” to being a Marxist.  And talking of elisions,  as Wollf often points out, he  studied  Economics at  Harvard, Princeton and  Yale without  once being required to read Marx.
No doubt these guys are too liberal or post modern for some, no doubt they are too mainstream or carrerist, but in terms of overall shifts in sentiment, in terms of what’s thinkable, in relations to a widening set of possibilities in which experimentation and change might take hold at a broader grassroots' level they are reasonable barometers of emergent possibilities. Ten years  ago, this stuff was beyond marginal, almost unthinkable, you would have been at best ignored, largely laughed out of town, even five years ago it was eccentric but intriguing as people groped to understand the crisis, now it looks like it’s gathering serious momentum.

Friday, July 18, 2014

This is an excellent interview. I need to think a bit more about both Alex and Rhian's thinking of late but I do have the (rather exciting) sense of something new cohering.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rhian getting it right, as usual.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Daniel with an excellent new post.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Breaking Bad


There's a loose connection between three films I have enjoyed recently, Peter Mullan's deeply perplexing NEDS, Clio Barnard's superb The Arbor, and Steve McQueen's extremely chilly Shame. Essentially they are, all three, films about the overwhelming grip of social and familial forces on individual lives.

In some sense this idea is no news to anyone, in another way though all three go against the grain of most contemporary film making in a way that is quite jolting: the central characters don't really have any choice about what they are doing, or understand why they are doing it. Shame and NEDS may have endings ambiguous enough to be read as vaguely feelgood, a final thaw and breakthrough of repressed emotion in Shame, a moment of atonement and a shift into a different set of social relations in NEDS but in The Arbor, a meta-documentary recast with professional actors, the Rita, Sue and Bob Too playwright Andrea Arnold's' life is overwhelmingly determined by her background, just as the lives of her daughters are. Here there's nothing left at the film's end except the question “what can be done about this”?

The cycle of deprivation, the cycle of abuse aren't terms you hear that much any more. Certainly when I was a kid and then when I was studying Sociology, even at O Level, they were commonly understood, broadly accepted. People came from difficult homes, and whether or not that was any excuse wasn't hugely debated, to claim that it wasn't set you on the side of the moralists and the reactionaries.

Back in the 70s, notions of  "cycles", their cast iron grip on lives and the stories of those who had miraculously escaped were common. Folk heroes of a sort  were made out of seemingly unreformable criminals whose humane treatment or exposure to culture had allowed them to set their lives on a different course, report back on and proselytize for the necessary forms of concerted social intervention required to break the cycle. Jimmy Boyle, one of the most notorious, has his story superbly dramatized in A Sense of Freedom, John McVicar less so in the passable McVicar.

Post the 1980s, post the decline in Sociology and certain types of sociological thinking there has been a broad erosion of the generous “common sense” that one's own life is largely determined by continuums of external forces that need to be patiently analyzed and addressed, usurped by Business studies and the obsessive, endless reiteration of life as series of freely determined consumption choices (and the concomitant thrill of self-righteousness and sense of superiority over those who have “chosen” badly.) 

That's right, I blame neoliberalism.

In interviews Mullan likes to point out that knife crime in Scotland is no aspect of modern decline, loss of values and so forth, but has been going on for hundreds of years, is part of the long, terrifyingly impersonal reach of the pre-modern, and in the film, the central character John's swerve toward violence, precipitated by his expulsion from and rejection by the genteel middle class he seems to identify with and assumes he is due to join, is set against the backdrop of an abusive,alcoholic father, a wayward brother, sets of assumptions about “his sort” from the established authorities, and the broader culture of territorialism, machismo and gang warfare. 


Shame's rather different take, in class terms at least, focuses on the functional, even broadly culturally sanctioned sexual obsessiveness of a man who refuses to look at his own history of abuse despite his more emotionally voluble and vulnerable sisters attempts to get him to face up to what has happened to them. “We are not bad people,” she tells him in one of her numerous answer phone messages “we just come from a bad place”.

In The Arbor the appalling, tragic trajectory of Andrea Dunbar's daughter's life is leavened both by her insight and the extraordinary, unconditional loyalty of some members of her extended family, something predicated on the idea that really, it's all quite understandable: that this is what happens when you are neglected, unwanted by either of your parents, have an alcoholic mother heading for an early grave, are racially abused, sexually assaulted, live in poverty around other desperate people using drugs and booze to fill the days. If anything her aunt and uncle are ashamed that they haven't helped out enough.  

The Arbor, then, is the antithesis of something like Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank, which seeks to lull us with the fantasy that the special ones, in this case an entreprenuer-of-the-self, feisty dancer will always find a way out and up, floating like an irrepressible, heart-shaped helium balloon above the estate. No one gets out in The Arbor, partly because of the sense that even if they did, what about everyone else, but almost wholly because, as the successful writer "from the slums" (Daily Mail) Dunbar's troubled life, or  the fictional high flier in Shame and promising young swot in NEDS suggest, it's not so much where you're at, as where you're from.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I like Mariana Mazzucato and her broad project as laid out in the book The Entrepreneurial State and her admittedly rather underfunded Rethinking the State videos. It’s a shame in fact that she hasn’t had the kind of money thrown at her that was available to Milton Friedman and cohort around Free to Choose.
Mazzucato’s work is in essence a riposte to the tiresome right wing shibboleth that only Capitalism could give us the I-phone for all the reasons laid out succinctly below.
In this way Mazzucato is providing one of the “new weapons” the Left seems to be in need of, a heavily researched and comprehensive exposure of what Mirowski calls “the double truth” of neoliberalism, that its utilisation of and dependency on the state must be publicly disavowed, that “market discipline” has nothing to do with business as practiced and everything to do with forging new forms of acquiescent subjectivity. Mazzucato equally points to theories of secular decline and “the declining rate of innovation” by suggesting the problem is that the public research purse is being increasingly squeezed by a set of private sector players who are not repaying, through taxes, sufficient funds for the R and D work that only Government can undertake. In essence our mighty Corporations and Heroic, Visionary CEOs are just freeriding and bullshitting us all.
Not only that but Mazzucato is pugnacious and understands the necessity of building (to again use Mirowski’s term) a “thought collective”, a heterodox and multidisciplinary grouping of those broadly interested in shifting discourse left-ward. What’s also great about Mazzucatto (as the below demonstrates amply) is that she is fighting on enemy territory; calling out neoliberals on what she believes is their misreading or only partial and highly selective reading of Schumpeter. It’s fighting talk, it’s collective in orientation, it’s also accessible, and not even refuted on the right. The Economist grudgingly acknowledged the essential correctness of her thesis.
There is, then, in Mazzucato’s work a kind of immediately comprehensible non or anti neoliberal common sense. These guys have never been interested in “rolling back the state”. They in fact depend on it, they just resent paying taxes and seeing a high proportion of profits go to wages, hence the attacks on Unions and the Welfare state. You may want to argue that the state itself is the problem, the executive arm of the bourgeoisie, the coldest of all cold monsters, but Mazzucato in re-reading Polanyi with Schumpeter opens up space for a certain form of Utopian speculation, exposing both neoliberalism’s Double Truth and the possibility of arresting or tempering Polanyis “double movement”, the state (re)conceived as a collective, radical endeavour, the ground of technological progress itself and business as a useful but essentially secondary and circumscribed enterprise. Stability without stagnation, a world shaped and directed by and toward rational goals.
The specific Utopianism at play here is of a revived social democratic project, or at least its continuation, taking the neoliberal restoration as itself an interregnum, and it asks us to consider, with the advances in technology, especially information technology over the last thirty years, whether it is persuasive to argue any more that no form of planning can ever know more, or produce better outcomes than the “cosmos” of the market. Of course to those for whom the defeat of the organized Left, the removal of stabilizers like wage rises and welfare states is simply the irrationality of Capitalism accelerating the production of its own gravediggers and the necessary preamble to Full Communism, this kind of Fabian, accommodationist approach will be anathema. So the question remains, are we in the depths of defeat and need to claw back all the lost ground, or on the cusp of victory, if only it will all get a little worse?

Thursday, January 09, 2014

You just knew the D word was coming, didn't you?

"Yuk, she can't believe she used that word. That's another term, another cliché she wants to scorch away. Dignity. Who is ever dignified but the defeated, the weak, the abused, the murdered, raped and marginalized when they are silently bearing their suffering, pleading their little case in quiet certainty that it is hopeless.

Fuck dignity, she wants power. She wants revenge. Strength."

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

I wonder how Louise Mensch thinks the cocaine she bravely regrets doing got to her table or gets up the noses of everyone she knows?

Certainly no men with guns involved at any point. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Is this strictly an intro? Vine Street is more one of Sam's Cellular songs from a year or so ago innit? Covered of course on the truly horrible Song Cycle by Van Dyke Park's, which is itself an entire album made up of intros, more or less.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top intro, top choon, End of the day, does what it says on the label.

even shorter, even sweeter,

Short but sweet. Actually like this track more and more as years go by.

A blindingly obvious contribution to the Intro thing. But still a winner.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Now that every possible forgotten/neglected gem and genre has been brought to light and compiled/re-released/made available via youtube, raised from the darkness of obscurity, has the canon of great records been fundamentally altered? I mean there may have been some re-appraisal at the margin, but has it turned up anything of the magnitude of Rumours, for example, an album that sold millions of copies?

So we are more-or-less back where we started vis-a-vis the broad critical consensus ( best 100 X albums/tracks ever) but on more secure foundations?

Thursday, December 05, 2013

I have just discovered that Kung Fu Panda 2 contains the line "the only way out is up".

Clearly The  Blue Orchids have been more influential than we could possibly have  imagined.
David Cameron thinks British kids should learn Mandarin.

Wonder how much he's been using on his recent business junkets. Come on David, take the lead, I mean, it's only a foreign language, how difficult can it be?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I found that Owen Jones' lecture rather inspiring actually, and it makes me want to write more about British film and representations of class, specifically trying to build up a reasonable mini-canon of decent working class cinema over the past 20 odd years. I attempted this a bit in Classless, but that whole endeavour was a bit rushed.

Still, good stuff!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Good to see Owen Jones using Mariana Mazzucato's work in the Independent. Further to which....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monday, November 04, 2013

This seems a worthwhile project, so I made a contribution.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Myanmar has a property bubble already.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Some mad skillz there, plus cheekbones to die for.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

This is a fantastic piece of film making.                                                                                                                                                         

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Excellent stuff! Dan has started a new group blog on TV to which I hope to be contributing at some point.

Contributors welcomed, Dan's address is under the "about" flap.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Absolutely tremendous.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Basically right, according to the F.T.

Be interesting to see what the way-more ideologically driven The Economist has to say....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Initially that blog was just going to be me thinking about British film of the 60s and 70s but it  woud be  miles more  interesting if  it had a wider historical scope than that, so every era is an option, really.
Right, The Tory Imagination has turned into a collective blog innit,  so  feel free to pile in. Email me or one of the others if you want adding.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Essential reading for countering those "could socialism give us the I-Pad" observations, by basically outlining A that it did and B raising the question, can risk-averse, short termist capitalism actually give us it, really?

The report it's an expansion on is here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tory Imagination up and running with some rehashed posts on Connery from here and the decades' blogs. More original content coming soon.
Ha! How did I miss this post?


Resolution Way.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Just in case you were desperate to know my opinion of  Icona Pop's " I love it", i think it's great. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Resolution Way
New Tricky album is an absolute blinder. Have started posting videos etc over at the Tumblr I don't fully understand how to use yet. There will be a lot of Drum and Bass. But probably not the canonical good stuff. Interesting that both Goldie and now Tricky have sampled Ghosts by Japan, possibly my least favourite record of all time, but clearly a massive influence  on many things ( Mark K-P's follow up to Cap Realism is called Ghosts of my Life, innit?)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Smuggest ever Tory face?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

At some point Owen Jones is just going to punch someone on TV, innee?

Really exasperated by this "could  Socialism give us the Internet meme?" ( Cos after all the USSR was a scientific backwater wasn't it? How we laughed at their pathetic attempts to build weaponry and put people in space!)

Arm yourself dear Blogreader with this quote from Castells' The Internet Galaxy.

"In sum, all the key technological developments that led to the Internet were built around government institutions, major universities and research centres. The Internet did not originate in the business world. It was too daring a technology, too expensive a project, and too risky an initiative to be assumed by profit-oriented institutions."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Resolution way

Resolution way, in case you are wondering, is a street in Deptford that they are trying to gentrify.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Right, this blog seems to crash my and other people's browsers so I am officially retiring it and have set up a new cluster of  blogs accessible via Resolution way/Eminent Domain. I intend to be stupefyingly productive over the next  18 months, I seem, after a long hiatus, to have  got my  ambition back, let's hope a degree of  discipline has also returned!

I am going to be concentrating on fiction which might be  of limited interest to some of  you however this is a novel (or  two actually hence the split title) which seems to be  extremely concerned with popular music and the  1970s so I also have  two other blogs and related projects, one The Tory imagination, in which  will be exploring the films of the Seventies (and onward) and for which I will also be partly filleting earlier posts from this and  the Decades' blogs and Slouching toward Babylon which will look at Utopianism and apocalypticism in British films of the same era for an eventually fully cohered and  integrated book/blog.

There's also a Tumbler that I don't fully know how to use which I am going to use as a separate place to embed Youtube  links (thereby hopefully avoiding browser crashing problems) related to Resolution way/Eminent Domain a kind of soundtrack to the-work-in-progress if you like.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stupidly, I am working on two projects at the moment, a novel, which is  actually two interlinked novels anyway (so in a way three) and a look at British films of the Seventies on into the Eighties, so I am in the process of setting up two blogs where I can dump bits  of my works-in-progress, not so much for your  edification as a way of  forcing myself to take the whole thing seriously.

The first novelistic blog blogpost is here.

Still haven't decided on a title for the film one yet, but I will doubtless cross-post at the Decade's blogs anyway.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Excellent first post from Dan over at Faces, one from me(ish) at Up Close.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Ah that's interesting

A couple of years ago (4?5?6?) at a dubstep/wonky night at the Rhythm Factory in London's fashionable wherever (actually directly after seeing Maria and the Mirrors' like second ever gig, what a hipster bastard about town I used to be, eh?) Rustie did a kind of engaging set of goofy unquantised tomfoolery and eclectic drum and bass shenanigans that was kind of oh yeah, interesting y'know and a few of us had a dance around then the second it was finished the between sets DJ put on "I Luv You" and the previous forty minutes was instantly obliterated.

Monday, May 06, 2013


If I were him I'd write a novel.