Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Writers and Writing Category

RIP Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  • April 18, 2014
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Like millions of people who read his wonderful books, I was sorry to hear that Gabriel García Marquez had ‘ stretched his leg and gone to the other neighborhood’, as the Spanish expression pithily puts it.     I knew that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s, but I didn’t realize he was in poor physical health as well.

I haven’t read Marquez for some time now, and I didn’t really keep up with his later output, but there was a time when his books made a huge impression on me.     There are some...

My Father’s House: Official Re-Launch!

  • April 09, 2014
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After more than a decade out of print, my 1998 memoir My Father’s House: In Search of a Lost Past officially comes into existence today as a self-published e-book.     It’s available at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and other outlets at £3.99 ($6.99).     My Father’s House is my most personal book,...

Breaking Bad and the end of the American Dream

  • December 05, 2013
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I’ve finally got to the last episode of Breaking Bad, and I feel not so much bereft as relieved that it’s over.   Not because it wasn’t good.   On the contrary, it’s actually a stunning achievement.     The performances are astonishing throughout.     The writing is sharp and skilful, with an...

Fortress Europe presentation at Aberystwyth University

  • April 22, 2013
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I’m speaking tomorrow afternoon at Aberystwyth University about my book Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continent, as a guest of the Security Research Group.   It starts at 4 pm in the Main Hall at the International Politics building.

If you’re free, drop in for some discussion and debate on the subject of borders...

The Wisdom of Martin Amis

  • February 08, 2013
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There are a lot of writers who I have admired and drawn inspiration from in the course of my life, but Martin Amis is not one of them.     Even in the 80s, when he first began to break it big, I was repelled by his   showy, look-at-me prose, which always seemed...

Sour Times

  • September 14, 2012
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Years ago, in the midst of World War I, the great Austrian satirist Karl Kraus wrote – or rather compiled – a massive play entitled The Last Days of Humanity, which remains one of the most ferocious anti-war polemics ever written.

In it the pacifist Kraus brought all his formidable satirical skills to bear as he...

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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