His sterility was infinite. It was part of the ecstasy

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment


Here is a fascinating film made in 1957. The BBC reporter, Woodrow Wyatt, goes to Syria with the aim of proving that everyone there is a communist. But repeatedly they tell him that this is not true. Both students and millionaire businessmen insist they are not a Soviet satellite, that they like capitalism. They just fear America because of its plots – and they have turned to the Soviets as a message to America. They also see Israel as America’s agent.

Just before Woodrow Wyatt arrived the Syrians had uncovered yet another CIA plot to overthrow the government. Three CIA men had been expelled, and even Wyatt has to admit in the commentary that the evidence for the plot is strong.

In fact it was true. The Americans had been planning another military coup, code-named Operation Wappen. The CIA man in charge was called Howard “Rocky” Stone, and he terrified the Syrians because he always stared intensely at them. But Stone did this because he was almost completely deaf – and he was trying to read their lips.  read more

PHOTOGRAPH: Karl Lagerfeld

In this space, as in Swedenborg’s heaven (described in Balzac’s Seraphita), there is no absolute down, no right or left, forward or backward. Every musical configuration, every movement of tones has to be comprehended primarily as a mutual relation of sounds, of oscillatory vibrations, appearing at different places and times

December 14, 2012 § Leave a comment


Think Tanks surround politics today and are the very things that are supposed to generate new ideas. But if you go back and look at how they rose up – at who invented them and why – you discover they are not quite what they seem. That in reality they may have nothing to do with genuinely developing new ideas, but have become a branch of the PR industry whose aim is to do the very opposite – to endlessly prop up and reinforce today’s accepted political wisdom.

So successful have they been in this task that many Think Tanks have actually become serious obstacles to really thinking about new and inspiring visions of how to change society for the better.

It is also a fantastically rich story about English life that takes you into a world that’s a bit like Jonathan Coe’s wonderful novel ‘What a Carve Up’, but for real. It is a rollicking saga that involves all sorts of things not normally associated with think tanks – chickens, pirate radio, retired colonels, Jean Paul Sartre, Screaming Lord Sutch, and at its heart is a dramatic and brutal killing committed by one of the very men who helped bring about the resurgence of the free market in Britain.  read more


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