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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Reading the Riots: first thoughts

Dec 06

As soon as I saw the first headline to come out of Reading the Riots, I began to fear for the project. In fact – that’s the problem right there. Journalistic ethics and academic ethics just aren’t comfortable bedfellows. A decent sociological report into a huge epidemic wouldn’t usually generate a headline. Yet...

Read More

Endnotes

Dec 04

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

Read More

Hooray, it’s War on Gangs time

Dec 02

First of all this piece by Peter Squires re 2011 riots, gangs and policy echoes many of the points I’ll be making in the updated version of One Blood – it’s well worth a read. Secondly, a few words on the War on Gangs. The War on Gangs takes place once a year, on average (unless there’s been a particularly horrific...

Read More