Last Posts : on the after affects of the archive

This is the text of a talk given to a conference in Belgrade on  ‘Dialoguing between the Posts 2.0’ in June 2019. I am grateful to Spela Zorko and Sanja Petovska for inviting me and for being such convivial hosts.

Introduction

I  am delighted to have been invited to this conference and to have participated in so many interesting discussions, if only because it has taken me out of my  current discomfort zone which is the madness of Brexit and the fact that our next Prime Minister is likely to be an unreconstructed member of  the political  establishment who still thinks Britain is a providential island surrounded on all sides by a sea of foreign disinformation about its future dealings with the world. … Read the rest

IN SEARCH OF THE ANTIPODEAN

This piece was written for Livingmaps Review and appeared in section of the journal entitled News From Point Nemo.  This is a geographical term denoting the most isolated and inaccessible points in the globe. As the journal’s editor at large, I have used this occasion to explore cartographic and other issues which arise from my travels, in this case to Australia and Japan.… Read the rest

WAITING GAMES PEOPLE PLAY

SOME UNSEASONAL THOUGHTS ON  TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY

This year I am giving a  Brexit Advent Calendar to those of my friends who voted to Leave because they thought it would de-stabilise the political class, liberate us from the bureaucratic toils of Brussels and open up the road to socialism in our  small island state. The online calendar depicts the Houses of Parliament as a gothic ruin, and each day as you prise open one its  shuttered windows  you are told to expect one of the Brexiteers  suitably dressed for the occasion.… Read the rest

Pictures from a not quite gone city: A field  trippers rambling guide to San Francisco

Near Views  from Afar

Schoolboys of my generation learnt one thing  that stuck in our minds about San Francisco : earthquakes. The frequent earthquakes which devastated large parts of the city  had something to do with the San Andreas fault and meant  inhabitants  went about in daily dread of the world collapsing about their ears. Later, watching the eponymous  Hollywood  movie featuring  the great 1906  quake  plus Clark Gable, Jeanette MacDonald  and Spencer Tracy, confirmed this impression of a city living dangerously, on borrowed time, yet with a magical capacity to renew itself : at the end of the film the ruins  dissolve into a modern rebuilt urban landscape.… Read the rest

FOR THOSE ORPHANED LATE IN LIFE – AN UNSEASONABLE XMAS BLOG

In the age of Instagram and Facebook, when people are constantly  ‘updating their status’,  and keeping family and friends ‘in the loop’ about the smallest detail of their everyday lives, a Xmas  blog  looking back and reflecting on the year’s events, both personal and political, must seem  either redundant or an act of self indulgence, along with too many mince pies.… Read the rest

February Blog There goes the neighbourhood

FEBRUARY BLOG :THERE GOES THE NEIGHBOURHOOD – AN URBAN TRIPTYCH

 

1)  Chic by Growl

 

I recently moved into a new neighbourhood in Islington. My flat is  in  a large Peabody Estate, off the Essex Road, quite close to the area which Ruth Glass  made the object of her famous study on ‘gentrification’. I am living in one of the earliest ‘ model dwellings’  built in the 1860’s for the ‘industrious working classes’ by  the great Canadian philanthropist and which  became  an inspiration for the  development of social housing in Britain.… Read the rest

An Unseasonal Triptych

Trump L’Oeil

Like most people on what we used to call the Left,  I guess I have been struggling to come to terms with the result of the US Presidential election, not to mention the  UK vote to leave the EU and the gains by the Far Right in Eastern Europe. It is fatally easy to join up the dots and see the emergence of  authoritarian populism and national isolationism as an irresistible force sweeping across the Western world, demolishing what remains of the advances made by Social Democracy and the Labour  movement  following the defeat of Fascism in 1945.… Read the rest

SEPTEMBER BLOG :SUBTLE DIALECTICS,CRUDE THOUGHTS

I  was recently  asked to speak at an  event  in support of Jeremy Corbyn`s bid to retain his leadership of the Labour Party.  The request came from the son of one of my oldest friends, a young man who  has recently discovered politics, along with a great deal of self confidence  after an unusually difficult  and prolonged  period of sturm und drang.  I would normally have  agreed but when  faced with the prospect of being a cheerleader for Jezza I  suddenly balked.… Read the rest

August Blog; From London to Rio,the band plays on

Some reflections on  the Olympic  dream machine

‘As a microcosm of what we hope to achieve,  look at the Olympics and their Legacy….We have set ourselves the goal of ‘convergence’.  The idea is that kids growing up in East London should have the same life chances as anywhere else. There is no reason why the kids of East London should not benefit from, say, rugby, as much as the kids from Richmond.… Read the rest

Mad Dogs and Englishmen : The EU referendum and its Other Scene

1.Mad Dogs  

Like most of you, I have been following the public debate about the EU referendum  with   horrified fascination  and growing anxiety. Listening to the claims and counter-claims of the Remainders and Brexiteers reminded me of that  famous opening verse of Yeats’ poem ‘The Second Coming’ written in the immediate aftermath of the First World War:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.… Read the rest