messages from the past for the future

  Sitting down to write this, a month after breaking my leg and having to grapple with hitherto-unconsidered questions like ‘how do I usually sit on a toilet’? and a week before a General Election where my preferred of the likely outcomes is an unsatisfactory…

A Conflict of Ghosts

  2019 is (to me at least) one of those times when the zeitgeist feels like an actual entity, less the ‘spirit of the age’ and more an actual ‘time ghost’, a baleful Lovecraftian presence whose unseen influence poisons the atmosphere of the era, insidiously…

11 June 1936: The International Surrealist Exhibition

Thursday, June 11th, 1936. Ominous context; the previous week, Mussolini had authorised his troops to kill prisoners taken in the war that followed Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia. Shortly thereafter, Haile Selassie, Emperor in exile, would appeal to the League of Nations against the Fascists, but…

A Cure for Culture: Die Brücke at Moritzburg

There is a (completely valid) argument that originality in the arts is overrated; and clearly it is better to have something derivative or traditional that is good, than something completely original that is bad. But at the same time, to take conventional or traditional tools…