Notes From the Margins…

My Week as a Media Pariah

  • January 11, 2016
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‘When I first started a blog in January 2011,   I did so as a rather hesitant experiment.  I soon came to enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to write in an informal and sometimes polemical style, generally in response to immediate events, and it became something of a compulsion. To date I have written...

The Daily Mail, Cage, and the Enemy Within

  • January 09, 2016
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Terrorism has always had a special ability to act as a catalyst for McCarthyist witchhunts, whether it was the ‘scoundrelly laws’ passed by the French governments of the 1890s in response to anarchist bombings and assassinations, or the emergency laws of the West German government during the Baader-Meinhof  during the 1970s.

Over the last fifteen...

Idiot Wind: Corbyn’s Fake Refuseniks

  • January 07, 2016
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If my inadvertent involvement in last year’s media onslaught against Stop the War taught me one thing: it was the incredible mendacity,  political dishonesty and sheer venality of Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents inside the Labour Party.  It is possible – within limits – to respect one’s political opponents when they uphold genuine principles that they...

Abderramane Sissako’s Timbuktu Blues

  • January 05, 2016
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I have nothing against cinema as recreational entertainment, or going to the movies for the sake of escapism.  Cinema has always served these purposes, and there is nothing inherently ignoble about them.   But such expectations also tend to produce an awful lot of mass-produced ephemeral dross and formulaic over-hyped blockbusters drenched in...

2016: All Aboard the Armageddon Express

  • January 02, 2016
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One thing you can say about the maniacs who are intent on dragging our world to destruction is they don’t waste any time.   They don’t listen to seasonal bromides from the Queen or anywhere else asking us to light candles in the darkness.  Not for them New Year messages about peace, hope...

Waterland

  • December 30, 2015
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As a child I once lived in Guyana in a house built on concrete pillars.    This was a useful and essential precaution in a tropical country where a heavy downpour could flood the ground floor in a single afternoon.  Many years later I visited Inle lake in what was then Burma,...

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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