A Kingdom of Posh Boys

How big is the world? It’s a question with an answer in constant flux. The world was once divided into four-walled rooms, extending only as far as a fence or front door. It is also what’s told in technicolour from behind a glass screen, images and shapes that might not make sense but seem to…

Studying A PHILOSOPHY OF WALKING

On the whole, we don’t think much of walking anymore. It is a necessary act to transition from A to B, and even then a largely unwelcome one. Why walk when one can drive? Walking is the simplest and most base form of transport, but it has gradually been eradicated from public life. For those…

The Personal is Political in DOWNSIZING

I burned through Tom Watson’s Downsizing in the first two days of 2020 and found it indelibly refreshing. Partly this was because it’s rare to read a book by a politician which isn’t entirely about politics (or so we think); but largely, because the mere existence of Downsizing is so unexpected. Watson illustrates this in…

Having FUTURE SEX

I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect when I bought Future Sex in The Last Bookshop in Bristol (all books being £3, hence the price sticker). ‘A New Kind of Free Love’ suggested it would be a celebration of sex-positive feminism, perhaps intertwined with speculation of how technology will further alter how we define sex…

Were They Really SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE?

I have never been one of those on the left who despises New Labour. Though I am firmly of the left and believe New Labour ultimately failed to embark on the necessary structural reforms of society and our political system (and, of course, Iraq), I do not think it valuable to consider it some Tory-lite…

Journeying Through THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

“All men are created equal, unless we decide you are not a man.” Reading and reviewing The Underground Railroad has been a long time coming. I first bought the book when I was a student at Queen Mary in London, circa late 2017, but it wasn’t until late 2019 that I finally got around to…

Is This HOW DEMOCRACY ENDS?

Much ink has been spilt since 2016 on the question of whether democracy is coming to an end. The rise of right-wing strongmen to positions of elected office in Brazil, Turkey, the Philippines, the United States and the United Kingdom, amongst others, men who routinely express a greater desire for self-preservation than for the preservation…

Haven’t You Heard of HAVEN’T YOU HEARD?

One of the most common complaints about politics, regardless of country, is that it’s boring. Grey men and women in grey suits and dresses, speaking in a language which feels wholly unfamiliar to the language that we speak and entirely indecipherable. Are they even human? The levels of ambition and sociopathy required for any kind…

Winning was Easy, Young Man, Governing’s Harder

There were three overriding feelings coursing through my body at 22:00 last night. Firstly, the sadness that Labour was suffering its fourth election defeat and en route to being out of government for at least fourteen years. Secondly, the cold recognition that all of my public and private predictions of how the result would go…

Streaming Wars are Creator Wars

Phoebe Waller-Bridge has had a good week. Not only did she win a bunch of Emmy Awards for Fleabag, her universally acclaimed sitcom/drama, but she is the latest in a long line of creators to sign a humongously expensive first-look deal with a streaming service – $20m per year to exclusively develop content for Amazon…