Berfrois

September 2011

Ruth Kinna on Guy Aldred

Ruth Kinna on Guy Aldred

Guy Aldred, c.1912 by Ruth Kinna Guy Aldred is an obscure but important figure in the history of socialist thought. He sometimes crops up in histories of British socialism, syndicalist and labour organisation, but rarely in discussions of socialist theory. His uncompromising commitment to activism perhaps explains this neglect:...

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Sincerely Dirty

Sincerely Dirty

Angelina Jolie: Poppy Field (Lusty Spring), David LaChapelle, 2001 From The New York Review of Books: The wit, the utopian vision, and the pornographic utility of House of Holes all arise from the same fact of its fictional universe: no one is ever really shocked. Obscene declarations of desire...

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Nick Rombes: A x A

Nick Rombes: A x A

Dawn Treader Book Shop by Nick Rombes I had been working on a long short story, “The Messiah Detective Agency,” when I came across Dana Levin’s book of poems In the Surgical Theatre. This was sometime late in 1999 or early 2000. I was on my way to meet...

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‘Repurposing’

‘Repurposing’

It's Not Plagiarism. In the Digital Age, It's 'Repurposing | by Kenneth Goldsmith

The Chronicle Review

In 1969 the conceptual artist Douglas Huebler wrote, "The world is full of objects, more or less interesting; I do not wish to add any more."...

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No WMD

No WMD

From Granta: Consider that during World War II there were fewer than one hundred civilian casualties on US soil. No fire-bombing of Dresden, no London Blitz, no Hiroshima. Throughout the most deadly century in human history, US civilians remained remarkably safe from foreign aggression. The trauma of 9/11 for...

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Jeffrey L. Kidder: Lifestyle Messengers

Jeffrey L. Kidder: Lifestyle Messengers

Bike messenger in New York City by Jeffrey L. Kidder Bike messengers work in the traffic-snarled business districts of major cities. Much of what they deliver is time-sensitive: A legal document signed at 11:45 uptown needing to be filed at a downtown courthouse by noon or an advertising proof...

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Caspar Pearson: Urban Siege

Caspar Pearson: Urban Siege

The Miracle of the Relic of the True Cross on the Rialto Bridge, Vittore Carpaccio, 1465 by Caspar Pearson This summer has seen English cities engulfed by the worst rioting since the early 1980s. Such was their ferocity that the riots quite eclipsed the troubles of News International, Anders...

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‘When you think about palindromes, you probably just think they’re fun’

‘When you think about palindromes, you probably just think they’re fun’

Oppede, Luberon, France. Photograph by M Disdero  From The Believer: In March 2010, Barry Duncan, master palindromist, was locked in an epic struggle with the alphabet. He was totally absorbed in the completion of a commissioned piece. “It’s draining me of every bit of energy I have,” he explained...

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‘Istanbul was like a gingerbread house’

‘Istanbul was like a gingerbread house’

Topaki Palace kitchens From Lapham’s Quarterly: Twenty years ago, I walked across Eastern Europe to Istanbul. The food, on the whole, was plain, but from Bulgaria we walked through a gathering rush of portents—strong coffee and orthodox domes, bright prints and the eastern rhythm of gypsy music—until we reached...

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Aaron Skabelund: Hachikō

Aaron Skabelund: Hachikō

The “Loyal Dog” Hachikō in 1934 by Aaron Herald Skabelund On the morning of 21 May 1925, a dog known as Hachikō walked with his master to a Tokyo railway station just as they had done each weekday morning for over a year since he had been adopted as...

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After the sewing machine, the fan, the toaster, and the teakettle, the vibrator was the next domestic appliance to be electrified…

After the sewing machine, the fan, the toaster, and the teakettle, the vibrator was the next domestic appliance to be electrified…

Hugh Dancy as Mortimer Granville and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Charlotte Dalrymple in Hysteria, Informant Media, 2011 From The New Yorker: If the popular perception remains that Victorians were hopelessly mired in repression and prudery, Lutz seeks to capture the shuddering underbelly of Victorian society—what Steven Marcus’s classic 1974 study, “The...

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Hierarchies of Belonging by Anne McNevin

Hierarchies of Belonging by Anne McNevin

Untitled 1 (At Botany Bay), Boat-People.org, 2006. Image courtesy of the artists.  by Anne McNevin The image above, which fronts the cover of Contesting Citizenship, is an intervention into the politics of what it means to belong in a country like Australia today.  The artist collective responsible for the image have...

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This Little Potala

This Little Potala

China’s Tibetan Theme Park | by Richard Bernstein

The New York Review of Books

In the international press, China’s tensions with Tibet are often traced to the Chinese invasion of 1950 and Tibet’s failed uprising of 1959. But for the Chinese themselves,...

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‘Manure is the flashpoint of exurban consciousness’

‘Manure is the flashpoint of exurban consciousness’

Thoreau’s Cove, Concord, Massachusetts From Design Observer: Currently, the town is embroiled in a minor controversy, played out on the municipal listserv, about a local pond that has been purchased by the town and preserved under a conservation easement. Where there used to be a clothing-optional beach and a...

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donetimeofthewidowitgotaghost

donetimeofthewidowitgotaghost

From Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, illustration by Samuel Clemens From American Scientist: Perception entails not just sensing the world but also making sense of it. When you listen to orchestral music, you hear oboes, violins, timpani and so on, each playing distinct notes. But the sound...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: LGBT Struggles in Albania

This morning I woke up to a rather surprising headline: "first gay marriage in Tirana." The article referred to the marriage ceremony recently held...

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Feroz Rather in Srinagar

Though the war was still going on, it was not a terribly sad time in my life; at least, I had the consolation of...

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Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

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Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

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Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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