London

Sex in the Park

Rummaging around in an old hard drive one lockdown, I found this review (for Details ) of the Sex Pistols’ Finsbury Park reunion gig – a quarter of a century ago. Ah! The summer of ’96! When they were so young! And when gigs – and life – still existed…. In those rancid gift shoppes, where American tourists stock up on their London Bus paperweights and Houses of Parliament ashtrays, there are three types of (fading) postcards available: guardsman in their quaint busby hats outside… Read More »Sex in the Park

Bomb-Damaged London & Its Bomb-Damaged Kids

Saw Hue & Cry t’other night on the tellybox for the first time since I was a nipper. This recently digitally restored kid-oriented Ealing Comedy presents as its climax a London-wide mobilisation of boys (and a few tom-boys) for a ‘big adventure’ – beating up baddies that the police had failed to nab, or even notice. I always loved that kind of film – in which kids show-up the groan-ups, and also give them a good hiding. Officially the first Ealing comedy, it was directed… Read More »Bomb-Damaged London & Its Bomb-Damaged Kids

Harry Daley: A Beat Poet

I’ve just finished reading This Small Cloud, a wonderful posthumously published memoir by Harry Daley, a London copper in the early part of the 20th Century. Daley had a weakness, as you do, for young boxers and gangsters. And an intolerance for Mosley’s Blackshirts, whom many of his colleagues sympathised with. The Bloomsbury novelist E.M. Forster meanwhile had a weakness for Daley – they had a somewhat one-sided friendship. Forster very definitely wasn’t Daley’s ‘type’. I suspect the rather timid Forster wasn’t really anyone’s type.… Read More »Harry Daley: A Beat Poet

The Union is Over Already – But ‘Britain’ is Still Keeping England Down

by Mark Simpson (Guardian Unlimited, April 8, 2007) It’s over. ‘Britain’ and ‘Britishness’ are politically moribund terms. The proof? Scottish-flavoured New Labour’s recent laughable attempts to resurrect “Britishness” as an “inclusive” post-Imperial identity. Not so much because they flopped as the fact that Britannia was now such an empty vessel that she could be so casually appropriated by New Labour in the first place. Whatever the outcome of next month’s elections to the Scottish Parliament – and at the moment the Scots Nationalists are ahead… Read More »The Union is Over Already – But ‘Britain’ is Still Keeping England Down

The frattish American Wet Dream conquering the World

By Mark Simpson (Arena Homme Plus, Spring 2007) The American Dream has turned into a nightmare. Count the shudders and the sweats in reel time: Bush. Iraq. Guantanamo Bay. Global Warming. Iran. Tom Cruise. Pop a Nytol or three with a glass of warm milk and put on ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and regress to a happier, more Technicolor dreamtime. Once the lean, shining beacon of freedom and aspiration, as innocent and happy-go-lucky as Dorothy’s freckles, now lumbering, flak-jacketed, trigger-happy, and yet terrifyingly impotent, America… Read More »The frattish American Wet Dream conquering the World