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

Concerning the Nobility of my Dog published 14/11/2015

I did not want to say anything, being already on the verge of tears and aware that my tendency to cry unexpectedly was not my most appealing aspect, but I thought, even if to say so is perverse, that the estimation in which my wife held her deceased grandmother as teacher, confidant, and source of unqualified affection, had had, in my own life, its only proximate equivalent in my dog. 

By Adrian Nathan West.

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My Visit to the Gay Sex Club published 09/11/2015

‘And notice the coverings we’ve installed. That’s a heavy duty, synthetic material we can easily clean. If we had sheets or duvets, they would be ruined in an hour.’ Karl stood back proudly, admiring the room. ‘Yes, these heavy duty covers have proven an absolute godsend,’ he said. ‘You can imagine what it’s like with two men going at it sometimes.’

Writer Peter Papathanasiou recounts his first experience in a Gay Sex Club.

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Shadow in the Night: Dylan at the Royal Albert Hall published 08/11/2015


Dylan strings his songs in this interrelationship of corrosive anticipations, desire and taboo entwined, so that a luminal obscenity is not an accidental consequence but the irrevocable requirement of life escaping its dull restraint. The pleasure of losing control or of controlling the deliberate violation of a taboo are the twisted foundations of Dylan’s ecstasies. For these are voices in the grip of ethereal scandalous spirituality, voices of minds caught up with their own versions of fraudulence and lust, witnesses of what lies far out of range, distorted and off balanced players where loss is a winner in the long run, where everything has a cost and all debts must be paid. And will be. And are being.

Richard Marshall on what he heard in Bob Dylan‘s recent London concerts.

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Pasternak at Marburg Station published

Naoko Haruta LIFE 140 PASTERNAK MY  SISTER LIFE acrylic on canvas 43 x 67

Yet, poetry is the total despair of words, of the word. And it is immediately evident why a poet cannot be a philosopher. Pain has no patience. And patience wounds too deeply. Poetry is the homeopathic solution. Seek to heal the wound by wounding it, by concentrating it. Paradoxically, this gives respite. One rushes straight to the core.

Steve Light on Pasternak, poetry and philosophy.

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All the way from Gare du Nord to the Beverly Laurel Cafe published 31/10/2015

It is hard to live in a universe ruled by contingency and accident. It is soothing to speak of fate and destiny. Affective ambivalence, indecision, turmoil, emotional tumult, all take on a more bearable aspect if they are seen as subject to forces external to us, subject to external resolution–inevitably, inescapably. “What will be will be….” So too with misfortune. If an event which we would so much the more have wanted to forgo could just as well not have been, its occurrence, its having-been, cuts into us all the deeper, all the more terribly. So we speak of fate, of destiny.

By Steve Light.

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Projections on a Wall: A Hauntology published 29/10/2015


The Berlin Wall was always plural. These walls from the past become all the more complicated and even more multiplied once we begin to memorialise and commemorate them. Perhaps the pronouncement by East German leader Walter Ulbricht in the middle of June 1961—just two months before Operation Rose, otherwise known as Barbed-Wire Sunday—should have been read more like those from the Delphic Oracle. Ulbricht insisted, “No one intends to build a wall.” That was because one wall would have never been enough.

By Frank Garrett.

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dreamscape, nightmare, city: the weirded urbanisms of German expressionist film published 28/10/2015


German Expressionism had an ambivalent relationship with the city and the built environment. Expressionism rejected naturalistic representation in favour of the expressive, almost dream-like imagination of the subconscious, the repressed. Expressionist cinema’s ambivalent relationship with the city produced some of the most enduring film art ever made.

Owen Vince on Expressionist cinematic urbanism.

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Sexual Stealing published 14/10/2015


Sexual Stealing is poetic in that its form reflects its subject; it searches for a way to write the voices that are buried in full view, and subverts available genres to talk about something widely felt and intuited but not discussed. This writing assumes that writing is a form of listening, rather than expression.

Wendy Walker on the Gothic, textuality, gender, sexuality, and poetics.

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Rapture, Religion and Madness Part One: Lou Andreas-Salomé on Nietzsche published 12/10/2015

On 25th October 1912, Salomé met Sigmund Freud. She became a personal student of his, a psychologist in her own right, and she continued to correspond with him until her death in 1937. Salomé’s short autobiography Looking Back has a scant five pages on Nietzsche and far more on Freud. Perhaps she had written enough on Nietzsche. Her biography of him provoked passionate praise and equally passionate criticism. No matter how calumnious the public attacks on her, particularly from Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche during the Nazi period in Germany, Salomé did not respond to them.

In the first of a two part series examining Nietzsche’s philosophical project, writer D.A. Barry examines Lou Andreas-Salomé’s treatment of the writer.

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Dasein, Objects, and Myth: Heidegger’s Unconscious Accelerationism published 10/10/2015


Here, at an angle oblique to his own position, we want to argue that Heidegger slipped his tongue by inadvertently defending a vision of history devoid of the illusions of the past (not without a counterweighing acknowledgement of the improbability of this ever occurring in the near future; the ‘fail safe’ argument of any philosophy risking a claim to the not-yet). This vision of history is typical of the ideal of Enlightenment of which Heidegger nonetheless is openly critical. By some indications with regard to the disenchantment of the past, Heidegger could become, oddly enough, an ally of today’s left accelerationism in its attempt to revive the project of Enlightenment via a curious distortion of the past.

Virgilio A. Rivas on Heidegger and Accelerationism.

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