Islam To The Slaughter

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The “C word” could be: carnage. More than 127 dead, at the time writing, hundreds seriously injured. Terror. Death. All of this I have been expecting. And I expect more of it. I was trying to pen a piece for this blog this week about the conundrum of what our approach to Russia should be […]

November 15, 2015

Un état d’urgence

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Speculation is the curse of the rolling news channel, something mainstream TV bulletins separated by hours of programming are generally spared. When a major story breaks, details are often sketchy and guesswork takes over in the absence of facts. Remember 9/11, when it was initially assumed (by British broadcasters, at least) that a straightforward fire […]

November 14, 2015

Well, you know – We All Want to Change the World

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A couple of days ago, I heard an interesting programme on the radio about Robespierre, the man who grabbed the French Revolution by the throat and remade it in his own despotic image, presiding over a bloodbath unprecedented in post-medieval European society until the rise of the Nazis. Robespierre eventually met the same fate as […]

November 12, 2015

Hats Off to Roy

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Much like his contemporary and fellow wandering minstrel, Richard Thompson, Roy Harper has never really troubled the charts. He’s been a constant, critically-acclaimed cult figure on the fringes for half-a-century, enjoying periodic brushes with the zeitgeist, particularly the early 1970s, when he was name-checked by Led Zeppelin, sang lead vocal on Pink Floyd’s ‘Have a […]

November 10, 2015

The Only Way is Wessex

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I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago about my anticipation of the screen adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s novel “The Last Kingdom”. It is set against the historically accurate backdrop of the struggle for the survival of Wessex under the as yet to be “Great” Alfred in the face seemingly unstoppable of Viking invasion, […]

November 8, 2015

V for Vapid

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I like Alan Moore. I knew his work long before I first saw him on TV, channelling the spirit of 1970 with his Geezer Butler-meets-Tony Iommi look and radiating the wisdom of an eastern mystic, despite the heavy Northamptonshire drawl. It’s perhaps something of a saving grace that he remains a cult figure or else his […]

November 7, 2015

No Sex, Please – We’re American

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The psychological meltdown that afflicted American society from the assassination of President Kennedy through to the inauguration of President Reagan was the slow and painful death of the 50s ideal of America as the God-fearing, go-getting model of material modernity. Emerging from the Second World War as the new western superpower, the US was not […]

November 5, 2015

Blood Money

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April Fool’s Day 1973 fell on a Sunday. Anyone under-21 will probably have been tuned into ‘Solid Gold 60’ on Radio One (the name the Sunday chart show had back then) as Tom Brown announced Donny Osmond had deposed Slade at No.1; anyone over-21 might have been focused on monetary matters, even though all the […]

November 4, 2015


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Well it got 5 stars in the Times last week, but a distinctly sniffy review in the Sunday Times, with complaints about it being a bit formulaic and even “sexist”, with the under use of Monica Bellucci as a bit of eye candy bedded by Bond and on screen for just 7 minutes. I booked my tickets last week […]

November 1, 2015

A Trick or A Treat?

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Say the name Gerry Anderson and ‘Thunderbirds’ will probably be the next thing that comes into your head. A TV sensation twice over – first time round in the 60s and then again in the 90s – ‘Thunderbirds’ was, and remains, a remarkable creative and technical achievement as well as a series boasting a bunch of characters […]

October 31, 2015