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Rory Scothorne: Class before Nation, 14 December 2017

... reputation came from its adoption of ‘folk politics’, a term coined by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams in their book Inventing the Future. Privileging the ‘small-scale, the authentic, the traditional and the natural’, it is, they write, a ‘political common sense that has become out of joint with the actual mechanisms of power’. Many in ...

One Click at a Time

Owen Hatherley, 30 June 2016

PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future 
by Paul Mason.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £8.99, June 2016, 978 0 14 197529 0
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Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work 
by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams.
Verso, 256 pp., £12.99, October 2015, 978 1 78478 096 8
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... Both​ Paul Mason’s PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future and Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’s Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work advocate things that seemed to have disappeared from thinking on the left sometime in the late 1960s: technological optimism, futurism, the making of programmes and the issuing of demands as opposed to bearing witness through protest ...

Whakapapa

D.A.N. Jones, 21 November 1985

The Prague Orgy 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 89 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 224 02815 4
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Loyalties 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 378 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2843 7
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Cousin Rosamund 
by Rebecca West.
Macmillan, 295 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 333 39797 5
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The Battle of Pollocks Crossing 
by J.L. Carr.
Viking, 176 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 670 80559 9
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The Bone People 
by Keri Hulme.
Hodder, 450 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 37024 6
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... Security is the problem that exercises both Philip Roth and Raymond Williams. The sort of ‘security’ I mean is the sort that spreads a feeling of insecurity – a fear of surveillance, bugging, secret cameras, interrogation, the false smile of Mr Nice and the sincere snarl of Mr Nasty. Security men are sometimes clumsy and might cause us inconvenience through their category mistakes ...

Good New Idea

John Lanchester: Universal Basic Income, 18 July 2019

... idea has been the focus of attention for a great range of thinkers, including Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams in Inventing the Future, David Graeber in Bullshit Jobs, Paul Mason in Post-Capitalism, Rutger Breman in Utopia for Realists, and Peter Barnes in With Liberty and Dividends for All. UBI is definitely having a moment.Guy Standing is a ...

Bustin’ up the Chiffarobe

Alex Abramovich: Paul Beatty, 7 January 2016

The Sellout 
by Paul Beatty.
Farrar, Straus, 288 pp., £17, March 2015, 978 0 374 26050 7
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... The pure products​ of America go crazy, William Carlos Williams wrote, but he was only half right: America’s crazy, and so sometimes its pure products go sane. Consider the eponymous narrator of Paul Beatty’s novel The Sellout. When we first meet him, in the Supreme Court’s ‘cavernous chambers’, the sellout’s hands are cuffed behind his back ...

Lost Boys

Andrew O’Hagan, 8 June 1995

... gave the bike to the police, who found that it was Daniel’s. Daniel was the fourth of Maxine Williams’s five boys. In April 1994 Maxine had left the family home she shared with her husband David Handley in Newark Knok, and taken the kids to live at the house of her boyfriend Alex Joseph, at Lobelia Close in ...

Post-Humanism

Alex Zwerdling, 15 October 1987

The Failure of Theory: Essays on Criticism and Contemporary Theory 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Harvester, 225 pp., £28.50, April 1987, 0 7108 1129 2
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... and memorably responding to, wave after wave of neo-Marxist theory. As major influences, Sartre, Williams, Lukacs, Goldmann, Anderson, Althusser, Macherey, Benjamin, Derrida and the feminist movement have followed one another in quick succession.’ Literary theory, in this view, has become a self-contained preserve for intellectuals who talk to each other ...

The Common Touch

Paul Foot, 10 November 1994

Hanson: A Biography 
by Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe.
Fourth Estate, 336 pp., £20, September 1994, 1 85702 189 4
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... the Pennines to Manchester on packhorses – pulsed through the veins of her great-grandsons,’ Alex Brummer and Roger Cowe write without a trace of irony. One of these was Robert Hanson, the great James’s father, through whose veins the entrepreneurial spirit pulsed so fiercely that he stored other people’s furniture in a warehouse next to a ...

Who will stop them?

Owen Hatherley: The Neo-Elite, 23 October 2014

The Establishment and How They Get Away with It 
by Owen Jones.
Allen Lane, 335 pp., £16.99, September 2014, 978 1 84614 719 7
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... between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’. Jones misses the power of what the blogger Alex Williams has defined as ‘negative solidarity’ inside a demoralised, struggling and stratified proletariat. A blunt example: in the 1990s, when my father was working shifts as a sheet-metal worker, he loved to watch Harry Enfield, particularly the ...

Sprawson makes a splash

John Bayley, 23 July 1992

Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero 
by Charles Sprawson.
Cape, 307 pp., £15.99, June 1992, 0 224 02730 1
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... immortalised in the Olympic film sequence of Leni Riefenstahl. I am delighted to find that Esther Williams, the swimming star of Forties and Fifties films, always scornfully refused to wear a bikini: those huge elaborate film displays with grottos, waterfalls and diving platforms featured costumes far more seductive than anything seen today. In 1914, A ...

Do It and Die

Richard Horton, 20 April 1995

Soundings 
by Abraham Verghese.
Phoenix, 347 pp., £18.99, May 1994, 1 897580 26 6
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... cent, for the record). Tourism trades happily on this humiliating past. Henning, the birthplace of Alex Haley; the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, where Martin Luther King was assassinated on 3 April 1968; Dayton, where John Scopes was convicted in 1925 for teaching evolution to his biology class. Tennessee still stumbles under the burden of being a Civil War ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis, 1 July 1999

The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... your twenties, facing Sampras or Philippoussis or Ivanisevic, or even Navratilova, Hingis or Venus Williams: can’t be done, no way at all even of being on the same court, much less hitting their balls back. Two decades ago, wooden rackets were replaced by high-tech instruments engineered to the utmost in hitting efficiency, and daily restrung, for ever more ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... former Europhiles David Owen and Nigel Lawson; Neil Kinnock, a prominent Labour anti in 1975; or Alex Salmond, then a youthful SNP anti-Marketeer – found themselves on the other side of the debate from their former selves. The exception was Jim Sillars. The outspoken Labour anti of 1975 re-emerged in 2016 as a dissident Scottish Nationalist Brexiter. Not ...

War within wars

Paul Addison, 5 November 1992

War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... still pursue their traditional goal of seeking out the skeletons in the cupboard. Rhodri Williams shows how British prejudice against their French allies led to the folly of the Battle of Loos in September 1915. David French, on the other hand, explains how the responsibility for another great disaster, the third Battle of Ypres, was subsequently ...

His Bonnet Akimbo

Patrick Wright: Hamish Henderson, 3 November 2011

Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. I: The Making of the Poet (1919-53) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 416 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84697 132 7
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Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. II: Poetry Becomes People (1954-2002) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 395 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 1 84697 063 4
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... rigour to his Celtic romanticism’. He was part of a left-wing circle that included Raymond Williams, D.J. Enright and Maurice Craig, a Northern Irishman who remembered Henderson as ‘very loud-voiced, very insistently Scottish, and constantly singing’. During the two years he spent in Cambridge before the Second World War bore him off to North ...

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