Review: After the eating and drinking, the sporty?

GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS hi res front 11.3.inddA selection of 2017 sporting reads by Mark Perryman for the post-festive recovery period

There’s nothing like Christmas to put on an inch or two where we don’t want to. Sitting in front of the TV for hours, days even, on end doesn’t help much either. For many, a New Years resolution to add more physical activity to the weekly routine of eat, sleep, work, repeat is the self-imposed antidote. So what better time to recommend a sporting title to the 2017 must-read list? Continue reading

Review: The revolution will be visualised

Garageland framed for programmeSanjiv Sachdev reviews an exhibition of the art of political prints

In Waiting for the Great Leap Forward Billy Bragg famously sings that “The revolution is just a T-shirt away”. The phrase now, of course, adorns a Bragg-approved Philosophy Football T-shirt, and captures the subject matter of Hugh Tisdale and Dan Murrell’s exhibition of prints; an interest in music, progressive politics and pop culture in its broadest sense. A small slice of a huge, wide-ranging catalogue is present here, starting in 2000 and ending in 2016, of 20 prints produced in silkscreen, digital and hand-stenciled media. Continue reading

Where have all the flowers gone?

Hurriers-Album-CoverMark Perryman of Philosophy Football reviews the new wave of rebel music

It has become almost a mantra, there’s no protest music any more, discuss. In the mainstream maybe, though Beyoncé for one by following up her embrace of feminism with the message that the Black Panthers matter seems to confound even that. The trouble for musos of a certain age is that the rebel rock of yesteryear, from Guthrie to the Clash, existed in a popular culture almost entirely different to the one any musical rebellion of today has to navigate its way round. So how to make the connections to the past whilst remaining meaningful , not to mention musical, in 2016? Continue reading

Is there a Scottish road to Socialism?

Scottish Road to SocialismIs there a Scottish road to Socialism?’ This is the question posed in the third edition of this SLR Press book. The format is the same – a range of contributors from across the left wing spectrum in Scotland attempt to answer this question.

The last edition was in 2013, pre-dating the independence referendum and the General Election. These have been turbulent years in Scottish and UK politics, so a new edition is certainly justified. There are 18 contributors, excluding the Editor, Gregor Gall, who has his own unique analysis. They can be grouped into some broad camps with similar approaches.

We have the far left camp, including those grouped into the latest attempt at partial left unity, RISE, including Cat Boyd, Neil Davidson and Colin Fox. Together, or not, with Tommy Sheridan of Solidarity and Philip Stott of Socialist Party Scotland. Their analysis predictably sees a space caused by Labour’s demise for the far left in Scotland that the Greens cant fill because they have little appeal in working class communities. The fact that their vote rarely secured more than 0.4% doesn’t appear to have dented their optimism. Independence remains the priority, particularly for Tommy, and almost everything else is secondary. Continue reading

Numb and number: where the Big Short falls short


Christian Bale as perspicacious hedge-fund manager Michael Barry in The Big Short

As this goes to press, global capital markets appear to be stabilizing after another period of intense, and scary stock market volatility. This set the context for the arrival in Britain of Adam McKay’s The Big Short – a film about the American sub-prime mortgage meltdown, based on the book by Michael Lewis.

It could be argued that the movie is late, and even outdated. But it is not in fact. It ends with the systemic failure of the system in 2007-9 – a crisis that has not gone away. On the contrary, it has rolled around from the US sub-prime housing market and Wall St. and on to the Eurozone, where Greece, Cyprus and Portugal were at the eye of the storm. Today financial volatility is centered on ‘emerging’ markets and in particular, China, and has unnerved financial markets around the globe. Continue reading