State-sponsored depravity

Dec 20

Sick and twisted   Sitting on a shelf above my desk is a large, tattered, black book, entitled Landmarks of Modern British Drama: The Sixties (1985). I bought it years ago, back when I was a schoolboy drama student. It contains the scripts of seven plays: Roots, by Arnold Wesker. Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance, by John Arden. The...

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Christopher Logue 1951-69: the making of a master

Dec 06

In the Winter of 2004 I spent two frosty mornings in Christopher Logue’s study. I was an English teacher at one of his old schools, and had been asked to write a monograph about his life and work. I was nervous. I’d been told he was a difficult, rude man. I thought we’d talk about War Music first – the work many feel is his...

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Dec 04

I realise, now, that David Foster Wallace will be the most important writer of my generation.

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Channel 4 shows the good and bad of authority

Oct 29

Four years ago, when I was nowt but a scribbler on street gangs, I cited the work of Stanley Milgram in my research. I pointed out that one of the reasons that gangs held kids in such thrall was simply because of the power an authority figure and mob mentality can wield, in whatever form they come. Get kicked out of school, live on a bad...

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David Foster Wallace: This is Water

Oct 28

Fucking brilliant. This speech is up on YouTube. Part 1: Part 2:

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Richter at the Tate

Oct 10

For some reason it seems Gerhard Richter never receives the acclaim he deserves. Too gimmicky, too clever, too show-offy. What’s this if not an exercise in technique? The control of tone and accuracy of line required to capture photo-realistic hair and clothing is obscene, of course. But once technique predominates to such a degree,...

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