Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

I live next to a train station in the southside of Glasgow. It’s close enough that I can wave to our cat from the platform as she watches me head to work from the back window.

I love to hear the trains late at night, heading into town as I get ready for bed. The last one passes just before midnight and always sets me off on a mental flight of fancy: who’s travelling into Glasgow this late on a Tuesday night? Where are they going? What will they get up to?

When I heard the last train rolling past the flat last night, my thoughts turned to the Arches.


Underworld returned to Glasgow this week (Thursday 12th March) to play their breakthrough 1994 album Dubnobasswithmyheadman in full. The prospect would be unpromising in the hands of almost any other band – a nostalgia gig, in a classical music venue –  but the night was a triumph.

This is my journey through Underworld, the band who taught me to dance, introduced me to indie royalty and dangled a rope ladder from the greatest generation down to mine.


Want to feel old? The first Elastica album was released twenty years ago this month. Twenty years!

It’s a bit of a shock to realise that two full decades have passed since I first heard them, but I remain as convinced today as I was at the time that Elastica were the best band of the 90s. Here’s why. (more…)

Adam Curtis is my second-favourite filmmaker. Ahead of the arrival of his new iPlayer film, Bitter Lake, I want to explain why his work matters to me. Read on for my musings on pleasure, complexity, and why his films aren’t fascist.

One cheer for GamerGate

Posted: October 24, 2014 in culture
Tags: , , ,

Paul Sayre famously observed that “student politics is so vicious because the stakes are so low”.

The line sprung to my mind when I first became aware of the phenomenon known as #GamerGate. All of that anger and hatred over some video games reviews?

And yet, while the movement was careering further and further out of control, a faint glimmer of interest started to become dimly visible amidst the general gloom.

In this post I want to disentangle that interesting thread from what is otherwise a horribly knotty mess. In so doing I will offer a single cheer for GamerGate, alongside several well-deserved boos.