Crossing the Pandemoticon

It began with a hand

clenched experimentally to ear

not so much a fist

as a makeshift mouthpiece

designed to broadcast  miracles

speaking in tongues:



nego,nego,unulti possum!

craaghi covid ipsit cunnilingo ?

es krampit   todo   kwa heri ‘


a polyglot  mother tongue

Nordic vowels, Slavic consonants

Swahili syntax, Latin verse

with just a touch of Lewis Carroll

to stitch into proper nonsense


all in the hope  some passers by

might stop and listen,

become alarmed,

and call a  passing drone

to guide  me to a  ’place of safety’

where the only voices heard

were broadcast   in my head.… Read the rest


 What follows is from a forthcoming publication  with the above title by eyeglass books  which  contains extracts from my lockdown diary. 


Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him: and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Canterbury, found it advisable–“‘`Found what?’ said the Duck.` Found it,’ the Mouse replied rather crossly: `of course you know what “it” means’` I know what “it” means well enough, when I find a thing,’ said the Duck: `it’s generally a frog or a worm.… Read the rest

The Pandemonic Dialogues

1. We don’t want to be  heroes, even for one day

We are not heroes. We do not want to be fallen  martyrs. All this war imagery  makes us very uncomfortable. It distract people from the reality. We are ordinary people who have chosen to  become  health workers and carers. We are professionals and highly trained. All we want is to be given the tools we need to do our job properly, to look after people in a safe environments.… Read the rest

There Must Be Some Way Out of Here

THERE MUST BE SOME WAY OUT OF HEREPolitical Mindfulness and Left responses to a multiple crisis
Edited by Phil Cohen
With contributions from Ruth Lister,Angela McRobbie, Dick Pountain, Michael Rustin, and Valerie Walkerdone

Taken together  the pieces assembled here  represent a thoughtful attempt to begin to  find a way out of the current impasse in which the Left finds itself, caught as it is   between the rock of  supporting authoritarian state control  with its top down one- size- fits- all solutions ( as represented by the Covid 19 lock down)   and the hard place of  blind faith in the People to come up with progressive solutions within civil society without the resources that only the state can provide for scaling them up. 

Read the rest

Mapping the Pandemic

There Must Be Some Way Out of Here



Published on line by Compass  Wednesday June 24 2020

This essay  looks at a  range of public, personal and governmental responses to the pandemic for what it tells us about the kind of society and culture we live in. Drawing on insights from anthropology and psychoanalysis a model of risk perception is outlined   and applied to understanding the forms of social solidarity which have been  invoked by the government’s confused and often contradictory  public health messaging.… Read the rest