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Tuesday, June 10 2014

Pronounced Dead: The Art of Cultural Assassination

Two critical catfights are claiming to have buried art-forms which have shaped our civilisation for decades and centuries apiece. Are they entitled to do that?


Monday, March 24 2014

Dissident Imagination: The Relentless Persecution of Terry Gilliam

The release of The Zero Theorem provides yet another opportunity to appreciate Terry Gilliam's untrammelled genius. Yet some would prefer his towering talents were cut down to size.


Monday, February 3 2014

Selling Japan: How Much Is a Nation’s Culture Worth?

Via the billion-dollar Cool Japan Fund Inc, Japan is aiming to become one of the world's dominant culture forces. But can a national culture be commodified so easily?


Tuesday, November 26 2013

‘How Do You Think It Feels?’: The Lasting Effects of Prolonged Lou Reed Exposure

Some argue that Lou Reed, the man who never ran out of ways to say "fuck you", might not be the best influence for a child. I say he was the best role model a ten-year-old could have.


Tuesday, November 5 2013

Big Books vs Small Minds: The Intellectual & Literal Heft of ‘Night Film’ & ‘A Naked Singularity’

Marisha Pessl and Sergio de la Pava have both found success with novels that are defiant in their length and ambition. Yet critical and editorial prejudice against their 'Bigness' -- in scope and heft -- won't budge.


Tuesday, September 10 2013

Internet Saved the Radio Star: The Rise of Podcast Drama

Welcome to Night Vale, the news show from a town that doesn't exist, has quickly and unexpectedly become America's favourite podcast. As the next stage in audio fiction's evolution takes shape, it also confirms the curious, enduring appeal of stories on the radio.


Thursday, July 25 2013

Undeclared Republics: Scotland’s Artistic Independence

As the campaign for national liberation progresses and evolves, new visions of a reborn Scotland have proven as much artistic as they are political. What role do Scottish artists play in their nation's destiny?


Sunday, June 2 2013

Tomorrow Belongs to Her: The Art That Rose Against Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher is dead, yet her influence is stronger than ever. What lessons can be drawn from the cultural response to Thatcherism, and can they be applied again?


Sunday, March 31 2013

Kafka on Kickstarter: Crowdsourcing, Capitalism and Art

From the Kickstarter-fuelled resurrection of Veronica Mars to Amanda Palmer's 'art of asking', the influence of crowdsourcing is impossible to ignore. Can it provide a new perspective on the relationship between art and money?


Thursday, March 7 2013

Everyone Lost: Protest Art and the Iraq War

While people were killing and dying, what did it matter whether there were decent songs being sung, insightful films being produced, appropriate art being inspired? When did poetry ever stop a war?


Thursday, February 7 2013

Old Ideas and New Generations: What Leonard Cohen Means to Us

Leonard Cohen endures and conquers. But does he mean something different to Millenial audiences than he did to their parents? Can the legend of Cohen escape its own clichés?


Thursday, January 10 2013

In America, Imagination is a Third Party: The Presidency in Fiction

Fiction lets us to explore our weirdest speculations and darkest fears about the person who sits in the White House. Is reality, under America's current president, worse than fiction?


Sunday, October 28 2012

The Last Witch Hunt: The Legacy of the West Memphis Three

Teenage outcasts often feel like the world is against them; in 1994, three adolescents in West Memphis, Arkansas, experienced proof that it actually was. Now, despite being freed after 18 years of wrongful imprisonment, the battle of the West Memphis Three is not concluded.


Monday, September 24 2012

We’re All Don Quixote Now: The Betrayal of Tomorrow’s Artists

There are those who hate art, hate youth, and hate the poor. As the Occupy movement marks its one year anniversary, its protests have highlighted how a global recession is being used by to beat the creative dreams out of a betrayed generation.


Thursday, July 26 2012

Tears in Rain: ‘Blade Runner’ and Philip K. Dick’s Legacy in Film

Thirty years after the release of Blade Runner, with a remake of Total Recall on the horizon, the work of Philip K. Dick continues to find its way into our cinemas and minds. How did the visions of a paranoid loner become the most relevant science fiction of our time?


Monday, July 2 2012

Strange Tongues: Vivian Stanshall and ‘Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead’

With the re-release of his long-lost, much-mythologised début solo album, Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead, the legacy of the multi-talented Vivian Stanshall deserves fresh appraisal from the young, the curious and the weird...


Thursday, May 24 2012

Sherlock Holmes, Dirk Gently and the Case of the Eccentric Detective

With two TV shows returning Arthur Conan Doyle's creation to our screens, Sherlock Holmes has never seemed more influential. But for the good of detective fiction, it might be time to look elsewhere for our unorthodox investigators...


Thursday, April 12 2012

Yes, It’s Genocide: Armenian Artists and the Obligations of History

For many artists of Armenian descent, engaging with the legacy of the 1915 genocide is more than dutiful; it's of crucial importance to how we understand and confront the modern world and its troubles.


Thursday, March 1 2012

Exceptional Claims: Principle, Personality and Christopher Hitchens

The late Christopher Hitchens helped define the character and popular perception of Atheism for this generation. But for the self-styled contrarian, where did principle end and personality begin?


Wednesday, January 18 2012

Doing The Worst Things Well: What We Can Learn from Anthony Burgess

The 50th anniversary of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, along with the recent discovery of a vast archive of the author's unpublished work, should shine fresh light on one of the 20th century's most prolific, daring and underrated writers.


Thursday, December 1 2011

‘Caligula’s Ghost: Why Cinema Needs Epic Failure More than Mediocre Success

Obscene, grandiose and artistically worthless -- such is the monstrous reputation of the 1979 art-porn blockbuster Caligula. Is this most shocking of Roman epics worthy of reappraisal?


Thursday, October 27 2011

Art Endures, Capitalism Degenerates: The Evolving Career of Amanda Palmer

The arts have always suffered and survived in times of economic depression. Amanda Palmer has forged a career that has not only weathered the recession, but rejects the received wisdom of the music industry. Is she an exception to the rule, or an example other artists should follow?


Wednesday, September 14 2011

The Comics Writer and the Fall of the Superpowers

We often think of comic books as the height of escapism, but recent events point to an industry in a death spiral, due in no small part to how badly it mistreats the writers on which it depends.


Friday, July 22 2011

No One Is Untouchable: Not Federico Garcia Lorca, Not Ai Weiwei

Governments tend to take on their worst form, to devolve to their most horrific manifestation, when they kill artists. Artists look out into the horrors of the world, and inevitably, the horrors sometimes reach back.


Friday, May 27 2011

They Won’t Stay Dead: The Changing Guises of Horror Film and Censorship

The controversy surrounding A Serbian Film is symptomatic of an ominous development in the horror genre's combative relationship with the censors.


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