Ezra Pound had his own reasons for spelling it that way in the nineteen thirties, but ‘culture’ became a fairly diseased term in the eighties and nineties too…
Cactus in Zanzibar, 22 July 2007
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James Vernon’s thoughts on the future of the humanities in British universities.
Why do intelligent people sometimes go gaga on radio? And what happened to Melvyn Bragg on the morning he picked up the wrong piece of paper?
How Alastair Campbell helped me get a quotation from Tony Blair. A version of this article was printed in the London Review of Books, 24 July 2003, p. 4.
This article was published as ‘Take this man off the telly’ on 2 July 2003. It put an immediate end to my never more than fading career as an occasional television presenter. I think it raises necessary questions about the exercise of corporate power in the BBC.
One night in November 1993, I went to the Oxford Union to hear Toby Young of the Modern Review oppose the motion that ‘High Culture’ was superior to ‘Popular Culture’. Bryan Appleyard, Norman Stone, Mariella Frostrup and Rob Newman were among the luminaries who spoke.
About New Left Review, and the forceful reformation of its editorial committee. An abbreviated version of this article was published as ‘Beastly Troubles of the Last Politburo’, Guardian, 17 July 1993. The fuller version appeared as ‘Aufruhr im letzten Politbűro’, Freibeuter, 58, 1993, pp. 149-156.
The Modern Review was not just a magazine devoted to the ‘posh pop’ view of culture. It was a publicity machine that served to launch a number of thrusting young commentators, including its editor, Toby Young, into mainstream newspapers. Despite its modest print run, and its very short life, this ephemeral apparatus is still feted by commentators such as Bryan Appleyard for having put ‘culture’ on the map. I didn’t see it that way, and still don’t.
Published in the Guardian, 9 July 1992, p. 25.