Notes From the Margins…

Banned Books Week Appearance

  • September 18, 2016
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This Thursday I’m speaking at the British Library as part of Banned Books Week. Among other things I’ll be talking about the ‘banning’ of my own book Unknown Soldiers back in 2007, something I’ve never done before. I shall also be discussing a range of free speech-related issues with the children’s author Melvyn Burgess and...

Who let the dogs out? Brexit

  • September 12, 2016
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More than two months after the Brexit referendum, the surge in hate crime and racism unleashed by the referendum shows no sign of abating, and the politicians who did so much to help bring it about continue to deny any responsibility for it. Farage has done this on various occasions, and now MEP and arch-Brexiter...

Troll Nation

  • September 01, 2016
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Anyone who has published, tweeted or posted  anything on the Internet will be aware that the worldwide web can be a dank and hateful environment in which all kinds of wild and extremely poisonous creatures flourish.  Whether it’s the anonymity provided by an avatar, or simply the fact that the Internet provides a tool...

Burkini Madness

Burkini Madness

  • August 25, 2016
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Anyone who has travelled in France this summer will have found it difficult to ignore the state of emergency with which the French state has responded to Daesh’s savage provocations.    In Banyuls-sur-Mer, we found the main road by the beach guarded by armed soldiers, presumably mindful of a repeat of the attack on Tunisia...

Oscar Martinez: A History of Violence

  • July 28, 2016
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Many years ago, in 1993 I visited the bombed out ruins of the town of Aguacayo,   the former ‘capital’ of the FMLN-held liberated zone in Guazapa Province during much of   El Salvador’s 12-year civil war.   It was just only one year after the guerrillas had disarmed in   the town   as...

2016: The Summer of Blood

2016: The Summer of Blood

  • July 27, 2016
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Keep calm and carry on might seem like a rather banal piece of advice, faced with the seemingly endless and unstoppable conveyor belt of atrocities unfolding before us in Baghdad, Kabul,and Istanbul, in Florida, Nice and Germany.

Shoppers in a Baghdad shopping mall; gay and lesbian clubbers; children watching fireworks; disabled residents of a care home;...

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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