:: Fiction

W.E.B. Du Bois and Saadat Hasan Manto: Brexit Ghosts 3 published 26/06/2016

A resistless feeling of depression falls slowly upon us, despite the gaudy sunshine and the green cotton-fields. These curious kinks of the human mind exist and must be reckoned with soberly. They cannot be laughed away, nor always successfully stormed at, nor easily abolished by act of legislature. And yet they must not be encouraged by being let alone. They must be recognized as facts, but unpleasant facts; things that stand in the way of civilization and religion and common decency.

W.E.B. Du Bois and Saadat Hasan Manto make oblique comments about Brexit.

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George Eliot and Voltaire: Brexit Ghosts 2. published 25/06/2016

George Eliot: How could a man be satisfied with a decision between such alternatives and under such circumstances? No more than he can be satisfied with his hat, which he’s chosen from among such shapes as the resources of the age offer him, wearing it at best with a resignation which is chiefly supported by comparison.

Voltaire: I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.

George Eliot and Voltaire make oblique comments about Brexit.

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Ernest Gellner and Edward Said : Brexit Ghosts 1 published

Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement. The achievements of exile are permanently undermined by the loss of something left behind forever.

Ernest Gellner and Edward Said whisper oblique thoughts on Brexit.

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What We’re Teaching our Sons (nos. 18-23) published 06/06/2016

We’re teaching our sons about philosophy.

We’re discussing logic, metaphysics, ethics and aesthetics. We’re covering philosophical methods of inquiry, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind. We’re asking our sons to consider “if there is something that it is like to be a particular thing”.

We’re on a boat trip up a Norwegian fjord and our sons are gathered on deck to listen to our lecture series. The spectacular mountains slide by as we talk about the sublime. The steel deck is wet from the recent rain.

Our sons are doing their best to feign interest, we have to give them that. They’re disappointed that there are no whales or polar bears to look at.

We’re trying to remember which famous philosopher lived in a hut up a Norwegian fjord.

By Owen Booth.

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Fleet published 01/05/2016


Malis follows the course of the stream that once ran along Flask Walk, casting a troubled glance at the Wells and Campden Baths and Wash-Houses to her left, before continuing past Burgh House, to move through a street plan defined by the imprint of vanished spas. Tall, with heavy dreads hanging down over a dress sewn with fragments of broken mirror, she crosses the road at the intersection of Christchurch Hill and Well Walk, to enter the pub she still thinks of as the Green Man.

Paul Holman‘s hybrid poetic/psychogeographic drift from Hampstead to Camden, Fleet.

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Paris 13/11: Zorn and Genet published 20/03/2016


When a man invents an image that he wants to propagate, that he may even want to substitute for himself, he starts by experimenting, making mistakes, sketching out freaks and other non-viable monsters that he has to tear up unless they disintegrate of their own accord. But the operative image is the one that’s left after the person dies or withdraws from the world, as in the case of Socrates, Christ, Saladin, Saint-Just and so on. They succeeded in projecting an image around themselves and into the future. It doesn’t matter whether or not the image corresponds to what they were really like: they managed to wrest a powerful image from that reality.

Culled lines from Fritz Zorn and Jean Genet in response to hearing Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam had admitted he wanted to blow himself up but then changed his mind.

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Paris 13/11: Kierkegaard and Akhmatova published


Do it or don’t do it — you will regret both. A revolutionary but passionless and reflecting age changes the manifestation of power into a dialectical sleight-of-hand, letting everything remain but slyly defrauding it of its meaning; it culminates, instead of in an uprising, in the exhaustion of the inner reality of the relationships, in a reflecting tension that nevertheless lets everything remain; and it has transformed the whole of existence into an equivocation.

Culled lines from Kierkegaard and Akhmatova in response to hearing that Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam had admitted he wanted to blow himself up but then changed his mind.

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WellNomore published 19/03/2016

No. Don’t. Don’t look. No. Don’t look. I don’t see her and she doesn’t see me. No. Don’t move, not an inch. Stay here. Stay where I am. Stay looking the direction I am. Don’t look. She’s looking the other way. I can see that. I can see her. I can see her back. She’s looking the other way. I know she’s there and she knows I’m here. If I don’t look I don’t see. If she doesn’t look. Wait. Soon done. See her looking away.

New fiction by Colm O’Shea, with art by Sarabeth Dunton.

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Geometry in the Dust, an excerpt published 26/02/2016

The role of animals in the city is, believe me, just as delicate a question: it takes diplomacy to understand and manage it, you can’t just open the gates of the royal menagerie and let the wildcats out willy-nilly, let out the jackdaws and sparrowhawks, the apes, the parrots, the carps and the camels, the salukis and the thoroughbreds which will constitute your patrimony. Distinction and a sense of harmony are in every circumstance vital to the accomplishment of our urban project: the royal architecture is a task that calls for a procurer’s tact, since it designates you as master of romances and meetings, it makes you responsible for all the rendezvous and unforeseen confrontations; it requires a matchmaker’s instinct, the gardener’s patience and, especially when it comes to the hen-houses, a decorator’s impeccable taste.

From Pierre SengesGeometry in the Dust, translated by Jacob Siefring.

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Dear Fire Extinguisher published 16/02/2016

I will heave and pitch you from side to side, the motion of sweeping mites and grime from a horse’s flank. I will heed the wish to act impatiently and will not rest until the curling flames have vanished and the smoke and stench have gone into the void from where they had rudely belched.

New fiction by Laurence Pritchard, with art by Sarabeth Dunton.

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