gateways to horror: the watch house by robert westall

  What was the first thing that scared you? The answer to that question is no doubt buried deep in your subconscious and could be almost anything. What was the first thing you sought out because you wanted to be scared? That should be easier…

church, going*

But superstition, like belief, must die, And what remains when disbelief has gone? Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky, A shape less recognisable each week, A purpose more obscure. Philip Larkin, Church Going (1954) Given that Christianity seemed to be – in the sense of…

chocolate eggs & bunnies & blood: happy Easter!

Imagine a culture so centred on wealth, property and power that it becomes scared of sex and  frets endlessly about what it sees as the misuses of sex. A culture that identifies breeding so closely with with money, wealth and status, and women so closely…

forget my fate: the art of violence & martyrdom

  In a way, this article concerns religious art, though the person who wrote it has no religious beliefs whatsoever. But when people really, passionately, even if unconsciously, believe – in a religion, a philosophy, an idea – that belief imbues the works they create,…

cycle; woods and fields and little rivers

  With apologies to Paul Gorman, whose beautifully written accounts of bike rides partly influenced this article, although Paul actually knows about cycling and I don’t; this is essentially a surrogate fast walk. I thought I’d take to the roads early (just before 7.30 am)…

the cult of maimed perfection

*firstly, may change this title as it possibly sounds like I’m saying the opposite of what I’m saying* That western culture¹ has issues with womens’ bodies² is not a new observation. But it feels like the issues are getting stranger. Recently there have been, both…

ghost cities of cyberspace

  Tell me now, I beg you, where Flora is, that fair Roman; Archippa, and Thaïs rare, Who the fairer of the twain? Echo too, whose voice each plain, River, lake and valley bore; Lovely these as springtime lane, But where are they, the snows…

the law won – police academy and 80s pop culture

  The police in 2020 may feel beleaguered by the pressure to account for their actions and act within the boundaries of the laws they are supposed to be upholding, but despite the usual complaining from conservative nostalgists about declining standards of respect, the question…

inside the doll’s house

The dying man glows with sickness in his mildewy-looking bed, the light seeming to emanate from where he sits, crammed into the airless, box-like room. He signs his will while his friend looks on intently with concern and restrained grief. The artist who painted Thomas…