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Politics

Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Eloquence of Rioters

Nation Language was spoken by the people who were brought to the Caribbean, not the official English, but the language of slaves and labourers.

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Television

Me, Myself & BBCi: Who's Watching Whom

The extensive use of mirrors in the Big Brother house behind which many of the cameras are hidden means that when the contestants hear the voice of authority, it is their own reflexion that they see back.

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Re-make/Re-Model and the Becoming of Bryan Ferry

Roxy Music positioned themselves as postmodern: boundary blurring, self-reflexive, both serious in an art rock vein and playful in a glam rock vein.

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1977: The Year Decency Died - Part II

If punk’s message was ‘destroy’, then inevitably wrapped up in its own scream of existence was its dying breath. No sooner was 1977 declared the year of punk than the death of punk was in the cards.

Music

1977: The Year Decency Died - Part I

"I loathe and detest everything they stand for and look like. They are obnoxious, obscene and disgusting."

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Songs, Swoosh-ified

The quintessential element of the digital audio revolution is the creation of the ‘random’ button, that default 'shuffle function', which renders us no longer creators of mix-tapes, but consumers of playlists.

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Move Over, iPhone, the French iBike is the New Black

There's no doubting Paris’ credentials as one of the world’s capitals of culture and style. The French touch brings a sense of panache to our daily lives – when the City of Light sneezes, the world catches a Gallic shrug.

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Hanging On in Quiet Desperation is the English Way

Syd Barrett's physical presence/ mental absence would have undermined Pink Floyd’s American tour, but Barrett was a product of his time, and fittingly, the audience in San Francisco was receptive to the vision of a man decomposing on stage.

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Fading to Grey: Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky has peered into the abyss of the future with the eye of a true skeptic. And being the intellectual he is I am sure that he has revelled in the abyss staring back at him in an equally skeptical manner.

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YSL? Why not?

For Yves Saint-Laurent, clothes are a way of life and not a way of dressing; you may be wearing the most anodyne of dresses, but if you walk with one hand in your pocket then you create a mind-set.

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Life on Mars: Just in The Nick of Time

If there is life on Mars, then the little green men are really the men in blue, and they look just like us.

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Blank Canvas & Dead Space

In this dark, underground place exists a "catacosmos"; where the bones of poor, dead children haunt like angels, and the living, who so badly want to be remembered, mistake their own echo for lasting amplification.

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God Smokes Cuban Cigars

Thanks to the upcoming ban on smoking in public places, smirting may take France by storm. That’s all Parisians need: another excuse to stand in the street in loving embrace.

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Cooking Up a Fuss

The arrival of the celebrity TV chef is parallel to the rise of the techno DJ: both feed upon our hedonistic fin-de-siècle desires. The rave scene gave us mass love-ins driven by repetitive beats and illicit substances. The chefs do it by teaching us how to knock up cordon bleu dishes in only 20 minutes between the moment we get home from work and the moment we head out again to get blotto.

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Summer in the Cities

It is time to face a fundamental vacation truth: no matter how post-touristic we like to think we are, no matter how much money we throw at travelling halfway around the world in order to escape our mundane routine lives, there are only two types of holiday-goer and both are of the Real Touristik variety.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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From the Beautiful Game to le beau jeu

On French footballers playing in England, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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The Cult of Mediocrity: Jane Birkin, Serge Gainsbourg and the Medio-cultural

The UK and US are often accused of promulgating the cult of celebrity because of their post-industrialist, neo-liberal take on the world that sees culture as a commodity. France, however, is guilty of pandering to the cult of mediocrity.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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The Learning Curve

Costambeys-Kempczynski imagines a French version of The Apprentice. The day after the first episode is aired, French employees would stand around the coffee machine, point at each other, and shout 'Vous êtes muté!'; that is, 'You're Transferred!'.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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Going Cuckoo

Homeland Security resides with the Ministry of Agriculture. From mad cows to birds with the lurgy: there's no getting away from biological warfare. Channel Crossings takes a political detour to see why British and French ministers never bite the hand that feeds them.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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How to Earn Your Anti-social Badge of Honour

Awright all you bus-riding yobs! Fix up! Look sharp!

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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The Good Old Days Tomorrow Brings

'Tis difficult for a modern man of means and ability to be the intellectually, culturally, environmentally, absolutely inclusively-thinking global specimen of the species the world demands of him. New Puritans and Neo-Cromwellians battle for his soul.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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I Drink Therefore I Am

One can't be left alone to indulge one's poison, these days, without some bothersome governmental agency, or the busy-body press, sticking its nose in one's businesses.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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We Say 'No'; You Say 'Non'. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.

England vs. France. A bit of good humour on both sides, heard just above the snarls.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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When the Bulbs Flicker in the City of Lights

There was a time when a simple trip cross the English Channel would place your social status in the ascendancy, much like serving in the colonies in the 19th century. But nowadays in Paris, try finding an affordable broom cupboard of one's own.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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Bored Housewives: A Lifestyle Choice?

Costambeys-Kempczynski puzzles over the roles, and the meaning of the roles, of modern, married, hetero women: their voracious sexual appetites; their productivity level while pregnant; and their entertainment factor.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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Forgive Me Father, For I Have Bought

Shopping within three European countries on a 'universal' credit card can prove to be most taxing to one's historical, not to mention monetary, tolerance. Damn the Irish, the French, and not least, the British!

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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Fair-Weather Friends

The 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale has been overshadowed by neo-colonial interests; the focus no longer being on Africa but on the carving up of the Middle East -- and at times of its inhabitants -- and the wealth it can offer the West.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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Let Paris Decide

As the school year begins in Paris, there are many new changes facing students and teachers: hijabs, kippas, turbans, and large crucifixes -- along with knives, guns and other weapons -- will have to be left at the school gate.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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Subvertising: The Re-emergence of Political Graffiti on the Parisian Underground

It's a modern-day, consciousnesses-raising revolution! Government funded, non-profit organisations stage anti-advertising raids, trashing idols of consumerism in the Parisian métropolitan transport system.

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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Rode to Joy: A Path to Cultural Immigration?

Founded to enhance political, economic and social cooperation, will the European Union prompt movement of the masses? Of those who move, who in the crowd is an immigrant, who an expat? Which promises economic rejuvenation; which threatens on-the-dole failure? Which brings civilizing infusion; which brings cultural pollution?

Raphaël Costambeys-Kempczynski
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