London’s Epstein Sculptures: Part 1: Bloomsbury

The first of seven photo-essays by Dr Nick Maroudas on Jacob Epstein’s public sculptures around London Prologue I had read Epstein’s Let There Be Sculpture in South Africa, along with many other books, when I came to Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1956. I vaguely recalled some passages: a penetrating judgment on Rodin […]

The Marvelous Captain Fawcett

Robert O’Connor enters the madcap publishing empire of Wilford Hamilton Fawcett, home of Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang and Captain Marvel during a golden age of comics Captain Billy’s Wild Creation The musical The Music Man is chock-full of references to the American Midwest and the America of 1912, especially in the song ‘Trouble’, sung by […]

The Soma Records Story

Robert O’Connor revisits the Minneapolis label, home to 60s psych-trash novelty hits ‘Surfin’ Bird’ and ‘Liar, Liar’ “Everybody’s heard about the bird,” the song begins. Peter from Family Guy heard the song and it became his new favorite thing in the world. He annoys everyone by singing and dancing along with the song until Stewie […]

The IT Impact: Information Technology in the Developing World

Digital and mobile devices can bring huge improvements to the health and lives of the very poorest. Vanessa Zainzinger takes a look at the organisations attempting to bridge the technological divide Last month, the non-profit organisation Worldreader held a video contest. The first price was a trip, but instead of the five star hotel one […]

Positively 4th Street

Robert O’Connor reports from the Minneapolis Dinkytown and West Bank scene where Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan The University of Minnesota’s main campus is divided into two campuses – one in St. Paul, the other in Minneapolis. The one in Minneapolis is divided in two again, straddling the east and west sides of the Mississippi […]

Pop Goes Literature: The Decemberists

An authentic literary sensibility in pop music is rare but according to Ben Granger The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy has more than enough to share Pop music and literature are two separate miracles, the silent shout and the screamed secret, two wonders working to their own, different and divided rules. Each has seductive thrills of its […]

Coast Guards: Laurent Gbagbo and the French

US Senator James Inhofe equates French involvement in Côte d’Ivoire with a history of colonialism. Greg Houle argues why he’s wrong For somebody who constantly boasts about his knowledge and understanding of the African continent, US Senator James Inhofe (R – Oklahoma) sounds shockingly naïve when addressing the recent events in Ivory Coast which has […]

Peter Watkins, The Universal Clock and the Monoform

Writer and director Peter Watkins has dedicated his career to exploring the limits of docudrama filmmaking. After the BBC suppressed transmission of The War Game in 1965, most of Watkins work has been produced in Scandinavia and British interest in subsequent films has been curiously absent. Declan Tan investigates why Peter Watkins’ directorial work, since […]

The French Connection: Grosso Point Blank

Real-life drug-busting narc Sonny Grosso was the inspiration for The French Connection, advised Coppola on The Godfather and cruised gay bars with Pacino. Story by Tina Bexson A dozen or so shiny, black suits and their flashy women were enjoying the exotic floor show of Manhattan’s Copacabana nightclub, whilst the slick-haired man at the head […]

Media and Tech: Data Exhaust and Consumption Tracking

Vanessa Zainzinger follows the breadcrumbs to tomorrow’s tracking trends Chances are high that you have already used Google today. As you typed in what you were looking for, scanned through the results and clicked on the link you needed, you provided Google with plenty of valuable information. To an extent, you have influenced which links […]

Creative Industries: Bookbinding: Saviours of The Lost Art

Jeanette Hewitt learns about a different kind of book technology from Judith Wiesner In a time where digital technology appears to be taking over the world, I deemed it necessary to pay closer attention to a more hands on, artistic approach to our crafts, to find out if our paper bound books are a dying […]

Free Jazz: Fat Kid Wednesdays: Three Guys Having Fun

Drawing on an improvisational heritage that includes Ornette Coleman, Fat Kid Wednesdays have been playing together for almost 20 years. Robert O’Connor listens in Fat Kid Wednesdays: ‘Skylark’: For 12 years, until its management dramatically changed hands earlier this year, Fat Kid Wednesdays held a jazz night every Monday at the Clown Lounge, underneath the […]

Sweeping Narratives: Joan Didion

Kevin Fitzgerald gathers together the narrative fragments of Didion’s novels and finds that identity is a collaborative process In her essay ‘Facing Reality’, Marilynne Robinson likens our present model of the world to so much ‘floorsweep’ – the meagre skimmings from a hundred years’ worth of economics, history, technology merged into a seamless narrative. It […]

United You Stand: National Anthem in Indian Movie Theatres

Sourav Roy from Mumbai argues whether standing up to the national anthem in Indian movie theatres stands to reason The old man stood in attention. But instead of looking straight ahead, he kept stealing glances at the girl seated next to him. The stolen glances soon became stares and the stare turned into glare. Soon […]

Structure and subatomics: Don DeLillo, Underworld and the new historical novel

Jason Weaver revisits Don DeLillo’s premillennial opus of paranoia and baseball. The title of Don DeLillo’s 1997 novel Underworld alludes both to living under the canopy of the bomb and to a world beneath us, more specifically a hell. DeLillo has publicly stated that he wanted to write about the ‘secret’ history of the Cold […]

Philosophy in Rags: The Individual: Houellebecq and Gnosticism

Hugh Graham concludes his exploration of Houellebecq’s dessicated terrain with the Stoic imperative to “bear up and do without”. PART THREE: THE INDIVIDUAL Every revival of philosophy begins with the individual. Today the individual, lulled by pop wisdom and popular culture, has little awareness of what it means to be one’s self outside of cultural […]

Philosophy in Rags: The Present Augustan Age: Houellebecq and Gnosticism

In the second of three parts, Hugh Graham examines the theme of atomization in Houellebecq’s novels, finding bad conscience in good intentions and fatal contradictions in the biometrics of happiness. PART TWO: THE PRESENT AUGUSTAN AGE A desert landscape flattened by positivism, by the belief that everything begins and ends in mechanics, forces and particles, […]

Philosophy in Rags: Rigour for a Dying World: Houellebecq and Gnosticism

In the first of three parts, Hugh Graham looks through the prism of Houellebecq’s novels and finds a Gnostic theme for our times. Deserts creep and sea-levels rise. Populations expand and resources are depleted amid poverty, wealth, and intractable war. Under these lowering skies it seems astonishing that we live in a world void of […]

Cutting The Drugs: UK Drug and Rehab Services Under Threat From Government Cutbacks

What impact will recent UK government cutbacks have on drug and alcohol counselling? Carl Stanley asked the opinion of a variety of rehab professionals, including a magistrate, drugs counseller, and pharmacist, plus several musicians who have been through the process The UK’s drink/drug counseling and rehabilitation services are facing cuts in spending and rapid changes […]

Unholy Terrors – The horror writings of Arthur Machen

“…A sinister experiment in the Welsh hills. A daughter born of an unholy communion. A peasant boy terrified witless by a strange tableau in the glade of a wood. A prosperous Londoner discovered raving and destitute on the city streets…”