Notes From the Margins…
Fyre Festival: Burning Down the House

Fyre Festival: Burning Down the House

  • January 26, 2019
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I wasn’t aware of the 2017 Fyre Festival till I watched Netflix’s new documentary last night, and it was fairly jawdropping and astonishing viewing.   It would be disingenuous of me to deny that there’s something morbidly satisfying about watching thousands of rich narcissists arrive on a Caribbean island for a non-existent festival, only to find...

Brexit: The Stab-in-the-Back

Brexit: The Stab-in-the-Back

  • January 24, 2019
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It’s now becoming increasingly clear, even to its most ardent defenders, that Brexit is not going swimmingly.  Having inflicted the most comprehensive parliamentary defeat ever inflicted on a British prime minister, parliament is in a state of fevered chaos, with MPs frantically trying to prevent the country from sliding towards no deal, yet unable to...

Donald Trump’s Lyin’ Eyes

Donald Trump’s Lyin’ Eyes

  • January 22, 2019
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If there’s one thing that has defined Donald Trump’s presidency more than anything else, it’s his startling propensity for lying.

According to the Washington Post‘s Fact Checker database, Trump has made 7, 645 ‘false or misleading claims’ since taking office.  Last October alone, the WP found that he said ‘1,200 things that were false or misleading.’

It...

You Won, Get Over It

You Won, Get Over It

  • January 20, 2019
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There are some historical laws that can’t be avoided, and one of them is this: that if a country aspires towards something that is objectively impossible, sooner or later that impossibility, like gravity,  will impose itself in ways that are impossible to resist or ignore.

You might be able to get away with this for a...

Small Island: A Brief History of British Immigration ‘Concerns’

Small Island: A Brief History of British Immigration ‘Concerns’

  • January 18, 2019
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Politicians tend to defer almost as a matter of course to popular ‘concerns’ about immigration, as though they were a novel reaction to the unprecedented 21st century phenomenon of ‘mass immigration’.

But these ‘concerns’ are actually part of a longer historical tradition, in which racist and xenophobic prejudices have been attached to different groups of people, in...

The Savage Frontier: Page 99 Test

The Savage Frontier: Page 99 Test

  • January 17, 2019
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Marshal Zeringue’s Campaign for the American Reader blog has a fun exercise called ‘ the Page 99 test.’  Following Ford Madox Ford’s dictum ‘ Open the book at page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you,’ it invites writers to talk about page 99 in one of their...

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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