Archives for December 2013


In praise of  clutching at straws or reasons to be cheerful in 2014 New Year is traditionally the time to take stock, and to look forward to the future. It is a time to search for new principles   of hope,  or renew old ones, and to strengthen our commitment to make the world, or at least that little bit of it we have some influence over, a better place. In a period of rapidly falling expectations, when young people  expect to be less well off in almost every respect (except longevity) than their parents, this  can be a daunting prospect.   Time then to put on the famous Ian  Dury track and listen to his reasons to be cheerful: Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly Good golly Miss Molly and boats Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet Jump back in the alley and nanny goats A bit of grin and bear it, [Read More…]


Santa with Claws , or Socialism is not just for Christmas  : some seasonal reflections on the im/moral economy The dominant image of Christmas, the one that mesmerises and haunts so many people, is of a family reunited  around the tree  joyfully exchanging  presents. One, perhaps unintended, result is that   those   for whom the family has become a locus of loss or lack,   find the knife  being  twisted in the wound ; we are  offered   a major walk-on part in the Christmas story as the object of  public compassion by the very narrative  that is compounding  our misery. Selling Christmas, whether as consumerfest  or   religious mega-event   depends on the  complicated web of associations   which  this image evokes.  It pulls powerfully upon  childhood memories of Christmas and a more or less sentimentalised version of   family life in which doting parents are rewarded by the respect and admiration of their offspring. [Read More…]

Our Kind of Town Lecture Series

The next lecture in the series will be  given by  Bob Gilbert on Greenery and Greed: the Loss of Natural London on Wednesday November 21st 18.00- 20.00 @  IAS Forum Room G17 South Wing at UniversityCollege London GowerStreet WC1E 6BT .The event is free but youmust book on Eventbrite:   For further information about this lecture and the series see the Livingmaps Network website (link).