Notes From the Margins…

Us and Them: Reflections on the Paris Terror-Siege

  • January 10, 2015
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Like a B movie thriller that you’ve seen too many times before, the Paris terror-spectacle has reached its predictable conclusion.     All the familiar elements of jihadist noir were present: atrocity and murder followed by manhunts, hold ups, and quasi-military sweeps; neighborhood lockdowns, hostages, sieges, gun fights and explosions, culminating in a glorious act...

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo

  • January 08, 2015
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Yesterday, as the whole world knows, three self-styled holy warriors carried out a military-style assault on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which they murdered ten journalists and two policemen, before leaving shouting ‘God is great’ and ‘ We have avenged our Prophet.’

These sickening events are a revolting and barbaric crime worthy...

Addicted to War

  • January 06, 2015
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War is a serious business, or it would be if we took it seriously.

If war was treated with the seriousness it deserves then wars would not be begun lightly on false pretenses.   They would have clear and realistic strategic objectives and timescales.   They would be based on a very clear understanding of the...

Kevin MacDonald’s Black Sea

Kevin MacDonald’s Black Sea

  • January 04, 2015
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Submarine films are always tense experiences, whether they consist of the black & white war films that I watched as a kid, Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or the   claustrophobic U-boat epic Das Boot.   Tension, anxiety and claustrophobia are intrinsic to the cinematic world of submarines, whose components are broadly similar...

Sleaze Britannia

  • January 02, 2015
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We British often like to peer into the bedrooms of dictators.   When dictatorships fall we have almost come to expect a torrent of sleaze to come pouring out of their bedrooms, the wilder and more depraved the better.     We like to imagine fallen tyrants as if they were characters in a de...

2014: Gaza’s Year of Mayhem

2014: Gaza’s Year of Mayhem

  • January 01, 2015
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There are some years when Gramsci’s adage about pessimism of the mind and optimism of the will seems more appropriate than others, and 2014 was a year filled with some pretty awful events, whether it was kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria or a summer in which more migrants drowned in the Mediterranean than ever.

In Ukraine the...

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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