Archive for 2008

All the articles posted on this website can be found here, organised in chronological sequence according to their date of writing or first publication.

Hardware store, Marfa, Texas,  22 January 2004

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Going Back to Dalston: Ruins and Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire »

December 18th, 2008 | Posted in: News and Previews (past)

On Living in an Old Country – again »

December 18th, 2008 | Posted in: News and Previews (past)

Against Clio: Vernon Lee on ‘The Muse of History’ »

September 24th, 2008 | Posted in: Articles General, Found Objects, Heritage & History

‘I know the Muse of History is a sycophantish partisan; a pretentious, often ignorant humbug. She dotes on Satan, cloaking in exemplary denunciations what psychiatry might call a sadistic taste for works of his which only dirty the memory and spread retaliative infection to the feelings…’ Vernon Lee, writing at the end of 1918.

Soundings from the Thames Estuary »

July 11th, 2008 | Posted in: News and Previews (past)

  ON 11 July 2008, I participated in a debate at Tate Modern, organised as part of the London Festival of Architecture, and connected to Soundings from the Estuary», a multi-media project by the photographer Frank Watson, Germander Speedwell (words) and Dave Lawrence (sounds). The  conversation emphasised the importance of defending the Thames estuary against the helicopter-eyed view that this […]

On Civil Defence and the staging of modern politics »

July 11th, 2008 | Posted in: Articles General, Politics, Potemkinism and Camouflage

“In 1964, three British women stepped into the role of ‘civil defence volunteers’ and entered a model shelter next to the Guildhall in York. They spent 24 hours in their miserable hollow, listening to simulated regional broadcasts beamed in from a van outside. They slept for a few hours in a specially sandbagged ‘core’ area intended to protect them against fallout, cooked a meal on a primus stove and swallowed aspirins for their headaches. After a single day they were plainly demoralised. As the Times wrote of the widely reported exercise, ‘even that basic feminine impulse to make frequent cups of tea deserted them. . .’”

Prompted by the idea of ‘rehearsal’ presented in Tracy C. Davis’ book, Stages of Emergency: Cold War Nuclear Civil Defense (Duke 2007), I suggest a wider account of how theatrical techniques have emerged from the playhouse to shape public life and the political sphere.

Are the Ming Tombs really in Wangford, Suffolk? A talk on Stanley Spencer’s visit to China. »

July 2nd, 2008 | Posted in: News and Previews (past)

‘Hallaig’ – a film about Sorley Maclean’s Raasay and a discussion with Sir Harrison Birtwistle at the Aldeburgh Festival »

June 27th, 2008 | Posted in: News and Previews (past)

‘A Museum of Embryos’: The Great Exhibition and London’s Chinese Junk »

June 24th, 2008 | Posted in: Articles General, Englishness and British national identity

‘What perspectives do the British bring to bear when they think of China? And how much of that distant land, once known as legendary Cathay, do they actually see, beyond their own prejudices…?’

Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge’s farewell to the Western Front »

June 20th, 2008 | Posted in: Found Objects, War & peace

Baldridge (1899-1977) was an American artist whose illustrations appeared in The Stars and Stripes, the official paper of the American Expeditionary Force, during the last year of the First World War. This drawing, which anticipates the rise of what is now called ‘Battlefield Tourism’, is reproduced from Baldridge’s fine autobiography, Time and Chance (1947) – a book that, after so many years of George Bush Junior, should be attributed to the ‘other’ America, from which we look forward to hearing more…

English Takeaway – reflections on the Anglo-Chinese encounter »

June 19th, 2008 | Posted in: News and Previews (past)