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Corona, Corona

Corona, Corona

  • February 27, 2020
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Fans of Edgar Allan Poe and Hammer horror films will recall Poe’s tale The Masque of the Red Death, and the Roger Corman remake with Vincent Price as Prince Prospero.   For those who don’t, the story describes the attempts by Prospero and a bunch of panic-stricken and fairly decadent medieval nobles to escape a mysterious plague known as the Red Death, by taking refuge in an abbey.

Not one to allow the mass death of the peasants  to get in the way of a good debauch, Prospero stages a masked ball to amuse his guests...

Eugenics for Dummies

Eugenics for Dummies

  • February 19, 2020
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There’s been a lot of talk about eugenics in the UK this last week, thanks to Dominic Cummings’s ‘superforecaster’ Andrew Sabisky.   Sabisky’s rapid rise and fall is entirely due to the ‘controversial comments’, as the media likes to call them, that he made on various internet forums, including Cummings’s own blog.  These pronouncements include the...

Burn Baby Burn

Burn Baby Burn

  • July 28, 2019
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There are many reasons to despise and resist the rightwing ‘populist’ politics that are poisoning democracies across the world in the second decade of the 21st century.  The racism and white supremacism that so often underpins these movements; the dehumanisation of immigrants; the authoritarianism; the deep seam of dishonesty if not outright corruption that so...

The Tory Party Has Gone Missing

The Tory Party Has Gone Missing

  • June 21, 2019
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Some readers may have heard of the mass hallucinations that took place at the French village of Pont-Saint-Esprit in 1951.   As John Grant Fuller describes it in The Day of Saint Anthony’s Fire, on 15 August that year the entire village of 250 inhabitants woke up and began seeing visions.  One man sat down  to...

Hollow Man: Boris Johnson’s Delusions of Grandeur

Hollow Man: Boris Johnson’s Delusions of Grandeur

  • June 19, 2019
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“It can safely be said that the last three years have not been fruitful ones in the history of the United Kingdom. Politically speaking, the 2016 referendum has opened a political hellmouth straight out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which a seemingly endless procession of charlatans, mediocrities and outright monstrosities haunts the polis with messages that...

Hormuz: Iran in the Gunsights

Hormuz: Iran in the Gunsights

  • June 16, 2019
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If US and British intelligence services are to be believed, Iran has just attacked two tankers at the crucial Strait of Hormuz choke point.  So far the only evidence to support this allegation is a video that apparently shows Iranian naval commandos removing a limpet mine from the hull of the Kokuka Courageous tanker.

It’s not...

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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