Berfrois

May 2020

Red London

Red London

Conventional accounts of London’s history concentrate on the ‘two cities’—twin centres of wealth and power, each with its monumental buildings...

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With a Care

With a Care

I came to realize in a series of waves the enormous impact this pandemic would have on the domestic workforce. The first was quite early on, before the travel ban, school closures, and state shutdowns.

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People Look Like Emails by David Beer

People Look Like Emails by David Beer

In pandemic times I’m picturing Jason Fearn sat amongst his chaotic equipment, formulating a sinister and foreboding soundtrack...

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Classic Dom

Classic Dom

Like many proverbs in English, the term comes from Shakespeare. A “petard” was a small bomb, used for blowing up the fortifications of castles.

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How the Art World Worked in a Non-market Context

How the Art World Worked in a Non-market Context

Klara Kemp-Welch’s latest book, Networking the Bloc: Experimental Art in Eastern Europe 1965-1981, challenges the idea of unconnected isolated art production

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Stay Arrogant?

Stay Arrogant?

Amid the weight and seriousness of life-changing and life-ending events, how can the national conversation be dominated for three days by the bad behaviour of Dominic Cummings during the lockdown?

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Staying Power

Staying Power

Foucault remains one of the most cited 20th-century thinkers and is, according to some lists, the single most cited figure across the humanities and social sciences.

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Stay Sileni

Stay Sileni

In Titian’s early 16th century painting, as Meis reads it, the somnolent Silenus, who echoes the alert god’s posture as he is carried behind him by his followers...

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Close Reading Bob Dylan by Ed Simon

Close Reading Bob Dylan by Ed Simon

Temperamentally conservative poetry critic David Lehman chose only one lyric by Bob Dylan to include in his 2006 The Oxford Book of American Poetry.

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Janice Lee: After Benny

Janice Lee: After Benny

When I was a child, I didn't see the connection between dreams and life the way I do now. I didn’t see the way that parallel realities influence each other...

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Cabo Verdeans

Cabo Verdeans

We shared a Creole language and the open, relaxed customs, known as morabeza, that are unique to Cabo Verde; only we knew how to compose and sing morna music...

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Rainbow Drive-Ins

Rainbow Drive-Ins

To visit Hana, a small, remote town on the island of Maui, most people wake at the crack of dawn, hop in convertible Mustangs, and drive the 45 miles from the regional airport...

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Susanna Crossman: Riding the Baking Edge #5

Susanna Crossman: Riding the Baking Edge #5

When I was a teenager, my friend Maude would bake Chelsea buns: swirls of sweet dough, studded with jet-back currants, dressed up in melted butter...

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Jane Rosenberg LaForge: Spring Without Witness

Jane Rosenberg LaForge: Spring Without Witness

This spring has arrived with a disturbing similarity, behind the storm and soundproof windows of my New York apartment. Jesus rises, Jews are delivered...

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Mass Mahatma

Mass Mahatma

Talat Ahmed’s political biography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s life is a welcome addition to the existing literature attempting to theorize his principles of nonviolence...

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We were both young…

We were both young…

Imagine two couples, each at home for dinner. The first couple spends the whole meal caressing each other’s hair, calling each other cheesy monikers

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Be the Only

Be the Only

It’s my birthday. I’m 68. I feel like pulling up a rocking chair and dispensing advice to the young ‘uns. Here are 68 pithy bits of unsolicited advice...

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Artificial Wives

Artificial Wives

Five summers ago, I was invited to visit an eccentric acquaintance on a picturesque island off the East Coast. The island was divided into two parts: the shingled, sea-beaten summer homes of the inherited wealthy...

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Euroverk

Euroverk

After the death of Florian Schneider-Esleben was announced on Wednesday, one of the most shared video clips on social media...

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That Wonderful Softcore Series

That Wonderful Softcore Series

Until our current quarantine began, the last time I had intentionally watched a TV show was when TV sets had knobs, and TV signals came down into them...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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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...

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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...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

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

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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...

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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.

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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....

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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....

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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...

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