Notes From the Margins…
Let them eat Tim Tams

Let them eat Tim Tams

  • June 19, 2020
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FULL TEXT OF BORIS JOHNSON’S BIRTHDAY ADDRESS

 

Good afternoon folks.  I know this pandemic thingie has been an unprecedented challenge for all of us, but I think we can all agree that my government has handled it remarkably well.  The figures speak for themselves.  Only 42,288 dead – 64,000 excess deaths if you believe the Office...

Black Sun Rising: Publication

Black Sun Rising: Publication

  • June 03, 2020
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“One of the great pleasures of writing historical fiction is the opportunity it provides to step back in time and engage imaginatively with a period that appears to be completely different from your own. This appeal has never been motivated, for me at least, by escapism. Because the past may indeed be another country, but...

Epstein’s Monsters

Epstein’s Monsters

  • May 30, 2020
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In Shelley’s poem Ozymandias, a traveller comes across a broken statue in the desert consisting of  ‘ two vast and trunkless legs of stone’ protruding from a plinth, and ‘a shattered visage’ lying half-buried in the sand ‘ whose frown/And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command/Tell that its sculptor well those passions read/Which yet...

Meltdown in Johnson Street

Meltdown in Johnson Street

  • May 25, 2020
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There are moments in history when governments or leaders that seemed to be impregnable are suddenly revealed to be weaker and more despised than they believed themselves to be, or than many of those they ruled assumed them to be.  You might cite the 1789 Tennis Court Oath.  Or the Boston Tea Party.  Or the...

Stuck Inside a Lockdown With the Paranoid Blues Again

Stuck Inside a Lockdown With the Paranoid Blues Again

  • May 15, 2020
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Conspiracy is an overused and often misused word.   At its most basic dictionary level, it refers to a group of people who conspire together.  Nothing controversial about that.  History is filled with examples of actual conspiracies, from the assassination of Julius Caesar, to Contragate or the 9/11 hijackers.

Historical conspiracies are one thing; it’s  quite another...

Why I’m No Longer Clapping

Why I’m No Longer Clapping

  • May 05, 2020
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It seems a long time ago now, since the UK belatedly lurched into ‘lockdown’ on 23 March, and marked the occasion with a national call to ‘clap for our NHS heroes.’  At the time, this campaign caught the mood of a fearful population that was conscious of its vulnerability, because the government had finally told...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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