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Amy is a film built on two central paradoxes. The first paradox is that it could not have been made in any earlier age because the rich sources of visual documentary material on Amy’s early life and early jazz singing career before her precipitous ascent/descent to fame in mainline music would not have been available […]

I left the Labour Party in 1983, the only political party I have ever belonged to, worn down by the entryism of the Trotskyite left and propelled out finally by the Michael Foot manifesto, which was far too far to the left for me economically, although not in terms of social policies. Since then I […]

Open Letter to Angela Merkel: Greece shackled to a Corpse   Dear Frau Merkel   I am an ordinary British Citizen who voted in favour of British entry to what was still then the European Common Market in the British referendum of 1975. I did so because I believed that the European project was a […]


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  This morning, as the referendum voting was getting under way, a Greek friend wrote: It’s a completely irrational situation. I don’t trust anyone, either the Greek government or the Greek people or the Germans or the IMF or the EC or the ECB etc.: they’ve all failed. The first to accept this will be […]

The recent election result means that we will have an in-out referendum on EU membership by 2017. It seems likely that David Cameron will not be politically strong enough to win a deal from the rest of Europe that he will be able to sell to his newly invigorated right wing. As a result he […]

Today is a general election in the UK after five years of coalition between Conservative and Lib Dems offering neo-liberal austerity in the wake of the financial crisis. The Conservatives offer much of the same for the future – neo-liberal orthodoxy in which inequality grows and public expenditure shrinks, with – and this is perhaps […]

Anselm Kiefer

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To my shame, I entered the current major Royal Academy exhibition of the work of Anselm Kiefer ignorant and unprepared. The artist doesn’t leave you wondering for long: it is shock and awe from the first moment in the first gallery. Kiefer’s work is big in every sense – monumental scale, huge mythic themes, and […]

The Archers

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The Archers is a British radio soap which claims to be one of the longest running in the world. Billed originally as an “everyday story of country folk” the early storylines were a flimsy excuse for a sort of agricultural extension service of the air, passing advice onto farmers. Later this function slipped to the […]

On Wednesday 26 February 2014 I went to a well-established London centre affiliated to one of the better known yoga persuasions. I am 72 years of age with a right hip re-surfacing and neurological (spinal) problems which I indicated on my first visit to the centre with Kati my wife on 17 February. The class […]

There is apparently a growing practice of young women having their pubic hair removed. I am of course an aged innocent in these matters, sadly having lost direct experience of the fashions of the young female nude some time ago, at least in the numbers that would meet the requirements for a valid social survey. […]