:: Nonfiction archive ( click for articles pre-2006) 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

No North West published 25/10/2014

Down the line, after a stint mentoring the craft of a new generation of indie pop acts mostly centred around Scotland’s Postcard Records and a subaltern career delivering mail for the Post Office in London, rather than the dancefloor presence of Edwin Starr it is Edwyn Collins who has given Godard’s songs their second wind on this 2014 release, a significant recapturing and re-rendering of this Camden Town Banshees support set list (Collins himself re-recorded and largely owned ‘Holiday Hymn’ from this album as a Peel Session track for Orange Juice in 1981), both producing and releasing this clearly reverent album on his own AED Records.

Andrew Stevens enjoys Vic Godard‘s Northern Soul tribute 1979 NOW!.

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The JeffCO School Board and the Pentagon’s “Vietnam” published 18/10/2014

“You can’t separate this effort to justify the terrible wars of 50 years ago from the terrible wars of today,” said Phyllis Bennis, a Middle East expert who has known Mr. Hayden since the early 1970s. “When I saw this (the Pentagon’s version of Vietnam, what the JeffCO School Board dreams of), I thought immediately, ‘We’ve got to stop this.’ ”

Alan Gilbert on the Pentagon’s Vietnam.

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The Circular Church (or Books, Guns and the Report on the Blind) published 13/10/2014

I recognise street names that I’ve gleaned from a recent reading of a biography of Borges. I first read Borges when I was eighteen: The Aleph and Other Stories. Those fictions introduced other dimensions – outside of time and in parallel spaces – not only to my conception of Buenos Aires and South America but also to London, Cardiff, New York. According to the Penguin History of Latin America by Edwin Williamson, indigenista intellectuals like Victor Raul Haya de la Torre claim that Indo-American historical space-time is not, and will never be, the same as Europe’s. But the writers of the Far South of the Americas are a lot less fanciful than those on the shores of the Caribbean where Gabriel García Marquez set his work and where Isabel Allende began writing hers. Not that I disparage an openness to chance. I’d begun a voracious consumption of Latin American literature four months before setting out on this journey and chance had already played a significant part in the books that had fallen into my hands

Des Barry’s Argentinian dérive inspires a renewed interest in Latin literature.

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Francis Plug’s Top Backstage Tips For Authors published 03/10/2014

Alcohol is absolutely essential to the public author. You cannot cope without it. No way. Once you’re in your event you’ll be able to drink white spirits, but you need to get the brown stuff in early, because it doesn’t look like still water.

Exclusive to 3:AM, by Francis Plug.

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A House Divided published 01/10/2014

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Formally, Permission attempts to be a modern twist on the monologic epistolary novel, the strictly one-sided communication between a correspondent and a silent – in this case, non-responsive – recipient. The twist is that Chrostowska claims that the entire enterprise has been a real-life experiment; that she actually sent these emails under the disguise of a pseudonym to an unnamed individual.

Terry Pitts explores S.D. Chrostowska, Permission: A Novel.

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“Not Just Self- but Social-Realization”: On John Cage’s “Diary” published 25/09/2014

The randomized program of John Cage’s “Diary” attempts, to use Deleuzian phrasing, becoming-zero, becoming-hole. What “Diary” stages is a way to live in silence, to listen and respond, to produce affect through exteriority, and locate the otherness within the self by putting one in conversation not only with other humans but with non-humanness, the flips of coins, chance operations. Cage writes: “Home begins outside. Shelter’s inside.” The chance-determined numbers that provide the program of the “Diary” function as a way out of that shelter, dropped breadcrumbs back to the home of the world.

Chris Robinson on John Cage‘s “Diary”

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Cadaqués published 19/09/2014

The city we do not know confronts us as impenetrably as a geometric volume, I think, though I know it isn’t true; as soon as the exterior assaults us we withdraw to the safety of classifications: at the very least, we know the meaning of the shifting streetlights, the purpose of the sidewalks, the words bar and café are the same the world over. After a certain age, perceptions seem to serve no purpose at all but to divest the exterior of autonomy with relation to its self-definition.

By Adrian West.

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Paul Krugman’s Philosophy of Economics, and What It Should Be published 14/09/2014

Reflexivity is everywhere: the entire monetary economy is based on reflexive expectations: think about everyone’s willingness to accept pieces of paper in exchange for goods and services. I accept your paper money because I expect everyone else will accept it, and every one else will because they believe everyone else will. The reality of money is the product of reflexive expectations. Fortunately the paper money bubble bursts only in times of hyperinflation. How much inflation is needed for the breakdown to occur? That is a matter of uncertainty. It depends on, among other things history, and people’s knowledge of that history. But it can also break down for reasons no one ever expected (consider the scenario of The Walking Dead).

Alex Rosenberg continues his thinking about Paul Krugman.

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Ignorance of philosophy, identity politics, and the cosmopolitan ideal published 13/09/2014

I hope we can remember that the neoliberal view of education is pernicious, even when it’s enlisted on behalf of the consumer demands of minorities. More importantly, the cosmopolitan impulse, which was central to the Enlightenment (and present in attenuated forms even in antiquity, especially the Stoics, as I’ve learned from my colleague Martha Nussbaum), should not be given up lightly, especially not by philosophers. Marxists, who mounted the first systematic critique of the purportedly neutral “standpoint” which prior philosophy claimed to occupy, did not abandon this impulse–their critique was in its service.

Brian Leiter goes all Dark Knight on some Jokers in Philosophy’s Arkham Asylum.

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Mapping Space in Fiction: Joseph Frank and the Idea of Spatial Form published 11/09/2014

The reader goes round and round in a labyrinth which, however, is built with a delicate symmetry. As if one was moving in a hall of mirrors, disparate themes are remembered and forgotten, objects and motifs arise and fade into the text at precise intervals that hint at a narrative design barely grasped yet deeply felt.

By Aashish Kaul.

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