Who says a funk band can’t play rock? /and who says a rock band can’t play funk? Funkadelic, 1978 First, let me qualify that title. I take Funkadelic here to mean specifically what might be termed ‘Funkadelic Mk 1’; that is, the band put together in the late 60s by that wizard of funk George … Continue reading WHO SAYS A FUNK A BAND CAN’T PLAY ROCK? Funkadelic and Black Rock.
As many of you will know, in the fifth and final season of The Wire the viewer is taken inside the busy newsroom of The Baltimore Sun. Unfortunately, the view is not a particularly inspiring one. The central figure of this fictionalised journal of record is one “Gus” Haynes, a thinly veiled portrait of the … Continue reading REVIEW: “Flat Earth News” by Nick Davis.
North Korea is the most dysfunctional state on earth. As this bizarre country began life as a Soviet client, it is often referred to as ‘the last Stalinist state’. Yet while it is true that Stalin helped Kim Il Sung establish and maintain a ruthless totalitarian regime on the Soviet model, it is also true … Continue reading Unnecessary Strangers: A Review of “The Aquariums of Pyongyang” by Kang Chol-Hwan.
“Thanks to the many people on the left who’ve kept the spirit of resistance alight, including those who will violently disagree with chunks of this book.” So writes Mark Steel in the acknowledgements at the end of his little memoir; words I thought fitted this reader exactly. I’ve long had a soft-spot for Mark Steel. … Continue reading REVIEW: “What’s Going On?” By Mark Steel.
Shortly after the fall of the Shah in 1979 the French philosopher Michel Foucault visited Ayatollah Kohmeini’s new theocratic regime and was delighted with what he saw. On his return from Tehran, Foucault was asked about the violence there, and the fact that the so-called “Islamic Revolution” was viciously persecuting its political opponents. “They don’t … Continue reading The ‘Problem’ of Evil.
A thought provoking and troubling read that is all the more powerful for being so reasonably argued. Here Grayling sets about a moral examination of the Allied bombing campaign during WW2 with his usual calm and clarity. The Allied campaign, and, by implication, the Allied powers, don’t emerge looking particularly healthy under such penetrating illumination. … Continue reading REVIEW: “Among the Dead Cities” by A. C. Grayling.
It is the sheer scale of the disaster that is its most salient and terrifying characteristic. On Tuesday 12 January, a 7.0 magnitude scale earthquake struck near the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, destroying – in a matter of minutes – the entire infrastructure of an already struggling third-world country, as well as taking with it somewhere … Continue reading THEY JUST CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES: On the Utter Bloody Rudeness of Religion. (Jan 2010)