Archive for the ‘posts by other people’ Category

In counter-point to my Adam Curtis piece, here’s the great Mark Dawes expressing his doubts about Mr Curtis’s work with characteristic élan. (See also: the comments under my Curtis piece).


Journalism’s job should always be to explain things to you. But in our age it should do that with real emotional power. But it doesn’t.Adam Curtis

In January 2015 Adam Curtis released another documentary to add to a few decades or more of highly-stylised journalistic films, situated squarely within the BBC’s cultural programming sector. Curtis is widely admired, in fact, he enjoys the status of a cult rock star to much of his devoted audience. I’m not convinced by his work, even though I find his subject matter worthwhile and his political and social position persuasive.

My good friend Ian Gillan and I recently augmented some of our pub visits with lengthy and detailed discussion of Curtis and his films. Ian synthesised some of these commentaries into a brilliant and respectful homage to Curtis – read it here (it’s magnificent). Ian’s excellent essay explores the features of…

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M4 Nocturne

Posted: December 12, 2014 in posts by other people

Pinter meets David Peace meets my dear friend Mark on sparkling form here…


Mark Dawes


M4 Motorway Sign

3.05pm, Hammersmith

So I said to him, we’re paying fifty-three million quid a day to keep us in Europe, and our borders are wide open. Ha! Is that what you want? That shut him up.

Ha ha, when you put it like that Nigel…

I mean, it’s insane. No-one in their right mind…

Do you want me to cut through here and back round again? Get round this traffic?

No, just keep going. If the bloody lights ever change we might get somewhere. Maybe we should have left a bit earlier…

If we get a clear run you’ll be there in plenty of time. Getting dark already…

3.25pm, near West Drayton

What are you doing? Get a bus through…

Somebody coming up quick on my right…

Bloody imbecile. He’s driving like Sterling Moss. It’s a Polish number plate. Bloody typical.

He’s out of our way now…

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This, from my fab mate Mark, is the last word on UKIP. Marvellous stuff


They Don’t Like It Up ‘Em

If you live in certain parts of England, the recent political revolution has been only partly concerned with Scottish independence and the SNP. While September’s independence referendum absorbed those of us north of the border for months, only troubling the London elites for a few days over some rogue poll results, the central radical figure in English politics was Nigel Farage, not Alex Salmond. Conversely, the rise of UKIP has barely registered in Scotland; with one MEP gathering less than 10% of a meagre turnout, MEP David Coburn’s “success” is not on the same scale as UKIP’s national first place overall in the European Parliament elections in spring 2014. That surprise was troubling news for the so-called big three parties. EU elections allow voters to display dissatisfaction with the governing party, but although “protest parties” traditionally find it difficult to repeat the trick in general…

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This is absolutely wondrous stuff from my fab mate Jess. Read it!

Equoid Squequoid

I’ve been trying to write this Scottish indyref thing for weeks and weeks and weeks now. It’s been started and stopped so many times. Emotion overwhelms me – sadness, frustration, anger. My eyelashes tremble with tears and blind me to what’s on the screen. I bang my head against the keyboard, rendering it inoperable and so have to go and get it fixed for the umpteenth time that week – “Aye, I dropped my copy of Scotland’s Future on it. Again, aye” I stalk away, yelling “FUCKCUNTCUCKCUNTFUCKFUCKFUCK”. One time, I just drew a picture of a sad-looking one-eyed bear, probably cos that’s what Gordon Brown reminds me of. He’s like a bear that’s just been hit by a dart from a tranquiliser dart while hunting for a nice bit of salmon. It’s a shame, I feel bad for him.


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This is a typically eloquent and marvellous piece by my dear friend Mark. Read and enjoy!


One of the pleasures of the independence referendum in Scotland has been the conviviality with which total strangers have bonded over a political idea. Before and after the vote, I have met people in meetings, rallies, campaign events, pubs and cafes, or just walking down the street, who have engaged with me for no reason other than they want to share what we obviously have in common – a desire to reform Scotland’s democracy. This has led to a very unusual form of social exchange – smiling about politics.

Now that the 2014 referendum is over there is no sign that smiling about politics is declining. Those shared smiles have been produced by emotions which are seldom experienced in Scotland in such brimming quantities. There was, and still is, a sense of participation, activism, and energy which is not promoted by partisan policy objectives, but by a common interest…

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