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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

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Blog entries on '12 July 2007'

Thursday 12 July 2007

Wall on Berger

Alan Wall has written a superb review for me of John Berger's latest book Hold Everything Dear: Despatches on Survival and Resistance:

Berger’s contempt verges on incredulity, and it’s hard not to sympathise. We live in a world dominated by late capitalism in its corporate finance stage. The rich get richer, and they have no shame whatsoever about it: they believe themselves to be the chosen of the earth. What is so astonishing is that they believe themselves to be the chosen of the heavens too. The most witless and bellicose American President in living memory, a child of wealth, corruption and privilege, tops it all off with a garnish of piety. Even the Almighty would surely have preferred the fornications of JFK to the posturings of this born-again bombing instructor. He arrived on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and declared that the war in Iraq was now a ‘Mission Accomplished’. That was some years back. Nobody knows how many deaths ago, because no one bothered counting.

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Thursday 12 July 2007


I'm only two years late, but today I am mostly listening to -- and absolutely loving -- Flares by Port-Royal. I'm rubbish at describing music, but this is post-rock in the more painterly, intimate sense of, say, Helios, with the gorgeous, shimmery hazes of, e.g., Boards of Canada, rather then the bombast of Godspeed! or the jazz-tinges of Do Make Say Think. (Can you say post-shoegazing? I really want to!) The effect-laden guitars are quite lovely, but this has plenty of beats and cut-up textures to keep things interesting too. The arrangements blend over the course of tracks that move from swirls of sound to something much cleaner and drum-led. In parts I was reminded of Dif Juz. And it is a good length too -- almost 80 minutes. I've only just discovered this, which is bonkers, as I love most anything on the Resonant label. Anyway, the even better news is that Port-Royal's latest, Afraid to Dance, is out next Monday. Yay!

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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Omens, after Alexander Pushkin

I rode to meet you: dreams
like living beings swarmed around me
and the moon on my right side
followed me, burning.

I rode back: everything changed.
My soul in love was sad
and the moon on my left side
trailed me without hope.

To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.

-- Louise Gluck
Averno (Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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