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In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

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Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali


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At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

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Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying


After the success of the 14-18 European Folk Festival
‘The Festival To End All Festivals!’
The Sponsors spent over twenty years preparing for a global version.

When they held the 39-45 Folk Fest,
A lot of people came,
But a lot of people went.

There was Adolf Church and the Boer Constrictors,
Hyacinth Hitler and the Pig Stickers,
And many other supporting and suppurating bands –
Notably the Bismarck Boasters, the Dam Busters,
The Red Hot Skin Grafters, the Body Transplants and the Soul Spivs.

The music was mainly percussive, and full of machismo.
The words in most of the songs, where comprehensible,
Seemed to refer to some rift
In the prevailing Judaeo-Christian sub-culture.

The PA was poor, and in Japan it completely broke down,
Causing brain damage in heads as yet unspawned.

Many people were forced to grok on the music in over-crowded compounds,
Long after they wanted to split.

The lead singers were fairly popular ...
Melody Maker commented: ‘Never have so many been zilched by so few.’
And some of their groupies saw to it that Hollywood immortalised them
In celluloid coffins.

Two or three of them had completely burnt themselves out, and died on stage.

The back-up singers and back-up groups got wasted,
And flaked out underneath piles of cement crosses near the main venues,
Presumably waiting until the music picked up.

Many unwitting members of the audience had their blood spiked with lead
And a host of other alien substances by over-zealous dealers.


There have been several attempts to get the show on the road again.
But, apart from the heaviest backers,
Most of the potential spectators seem to feel:
Once you’ve been to one of their New Wave Nuclear gigs – you’ve been to them all.

The organisers have seductively been building thousands of underground VIP lounges,
But in the sexist tradition of rock
They seem to have been set aside mainly for males:
Roadies, festival Security Officers, accountants, and bullies,
Which sounds as if they won’t be much fun ...
Though I dare say they may get to set up some gang-bangs after a bit,
Involving privileged backstage foxes like the Queen, and Thatcher and Indira Gandhi,
To keep everyone amused, and to try & keep something happening ... like the human race.

This fandango is currently being hyped under the somewhat derivative title of
The Third World War.

It is to be hoped that we will be given the opportunity of ignoring it.

Rumour has it that the tickets will cost a bomb.

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