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:...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

‘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."...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

‘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...

Read More

‘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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

‘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...

Read More

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...

Read More
Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

Read More
Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

Read More
Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

Read More
Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

Read More
Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

Read More
Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

Read More
Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

Read More
Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

Read More
Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

Read More
Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

Read More
Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

Read More
Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

Read More
Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

Read More
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...

Read More