In-depth analysis of a Europe in disintegration – In February 2018 I reviewed Europes Crises, edited by Manuel Castells et al. for the Morning Star. This collection of essays by specialists and academics from the the fields of economics, sociology and politics is a quite excellent starting point for understanding the histories, interdependencies and conflicts at play in the European project.
A timely and much needed warning – At the end of 2017 I was asked if I would review Liz Fekete’s new book, Europe’s Fault Lines. It is a surgical analysis of the relationship between the mainstreaming of far-right politics and the growth of extreme-right violence. It also raises the spectre of the fascist tendencies of certain sections of the establishment. This is the pre-edited review.
Back from the future – In 2017 I read Michael Albert’s RPS/2044. Like Parecon and Z, and much of Michael’s work, RPS/2044 is the perfect answer to the TINA doctrine. There are many alternatives to open the discussion with. For me RPS/2044 may well prove to be one of the important ones. This is my review of it for the Morning Star.
Soaring above the beautiful game – In 2016 I had the good fortune to review the quite brilliant Flying Over An Olive Grove by Clive and Ralph Nicholson and Mark Metcalf for the Morning Star. The life of Fred Spiksley is a heart warming reminder of the roots of football, and it’s place in working class communities. It as much a biography of a one of the early footballing giants, as it is a socialist peoples history.
Margaret Atwood’s art enchants – In 2016 I was asked by the Morning Star to review Margaret Atwood’s reworking of The Tempest, Hag-Seed. I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood before, but found it so well written and moving that it not only prompted me to read more of her work, but to also question my position on reinterpreting classics.
Federico Garcia Lorca’s Sketches of Spain – In 2016 the Morning Star asked me to review a new translation of Lorca’s Sketches of Spain. I had only read Lorca’s plays at that stage, so in order to better understand Lorca, his original work and the translation I felt that it was important to first read Ian Gibson’s quite excellent biography. Which I did, and which is why this is one of the reviews I am most proud of. Unfortunately the Morning Star have since taken it down from their site.
Memoirs of a US Marine Scout/Sniper – At the beginning of 2006 I reviewed Sam Mendes’ Jarhead for Peace News. The film was an adaptation of Anthony Swofford’s memoirs. Similar to Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket before it, Swofford’s memoirs helps the rest of us understand one man’s experience of being a US Marine at a time of war.
Age old arguments – At the end of 2005 I reviewed Luc Jacquet’s March of the Penguins for the Morning Star. It is a breathtaking documentary about one of the most awe inspiring events in the natural world. The brilliant cinematography and superb narrative is very much in the same space as the nature documentaries made by the BBC and David Attenborough.
Turning the Lens – In 2005 I reviewed Ben Dickenson’s book Hollywood’s New Radicalism for the Morning Star. Dickenson’s book, although difficult to get hold of now, is still an excellent opening insight into the wider concept of cultural imperialism, and the more specific role of Hollywood in promoting USA inc. to a global audience.
Rock Band Stands Up Against Inhuman Politics – In 2005 I reviewed System Of A Down’s album Hypnotize for the Morning Star. Introduced to SOAD a few years earlier I was already hooked when I got to write this review. Hypnotize is just as full of impact today as it was then.
Sleaze or art? – In 2005 I reviewed Michael Winterbottom’s controversial 9 Songs. At the time I was disarmed by the graphic nature of the sex in it. Now looking back, and in light of my research into commercial sexual exploitation my opinions have somewhat changed.
Breaking open the Shamburgers – In 2005, I was asked by Peace News to review the DVD release of Franny Armstrong’s documentary McLibel. I had been aware of the trial, but didn’t know the scale and complexity of what had actually happened. This is the review that appeared in Peace News.
Blood on our hands – In 2005, I was deeply moved by the film Hotel Rwanda. It was not just sadness I felt though. I was also overwhelmed with guilt for not having been more aware at the time of the scope of the suffering and the role of my ‘democractic representatives’ in it. This is my review of Terry George’s brilliant film.
Log On, Tune In – In 2004, while writing a review for the superb documentary The Corporation for the Morning Star, I was lucky enough to get to interview the film’s director Mark Achbar. Even to this day, it is one of the documentaries that I keep going back to.