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Len Deighton at 90 March 24, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I’ve always been an unashamed fan of Deighton’s, albeit his politics was a fair bit more rightwards than mine, and likely yours. I think his thrillers, particularly the earlier ones, address the nature of change in British society during the 1960s and 1970s extremely adeptly. Anyhow, I just realised he turned 90 last month. So, happy birthday and many happy returns to him.

And looking at his wiki page there was this fascinating snippet:

Deighton’s interest in spy stories may have been partially inspired by the arrest of Anna Wolkoff, which he witnessed as an 11-year-old boy. Wolkoff, a British subject of Russian descent, was a German spy and next door neighbour of the Deightons. She was detained on 20 May 1940 and subsequently convicted of violating the Official Secrets Act for attempting to pass secret documents to the Germans.[7]

What an interesting story Wolkoff had. White Russian and involved in The Right Club, an effectively fascist and viciously anti-semitic organisation of anti-war supporters within the British establishment. Fairly heavily infiltrated by MI5 from the off and despite publicly disbanding many of its members wound up interned for the duration of the war.

I’m always intrigued by how that strand of reaction that Wolkoff belonged to managed to engage with national socialism which was vehemently anti-slav. Does this paper perhaps begin to give an answer to that question… hinging on the definition of Russian.

Sunday and the Week’s Media Stupid Statements March 24, 2019

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If he thinks others are doing it… it’s bad.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the Brexit shambles as far as this country is concerned is the way it has legitimised a virulent form of Brit-bashing which had almost disappeared from political discourse in the decades since the Belfast Agreement.
This could be as harmful for Ireland as in the long run as the economic consequences of Brexit.

When he does it… well that’s just fine.

Of course the stupidity and arrogance of right-wing British Conservatives and the way they first promoted Brexit and then blocked any coherent way of implementing it is as infuriating as it is astounding.

Meanwhile EH surpasses himself in the Sunday Independent today…

Back then the doyens of the Irish media did not demean unionists with tribal taunts to disguise their compliance with the con-job called the backstop.

Leo Varadkar let the DFA design the backstop to bully the Brits and unionists into a customs union, under the cover of stopping a hard border.

For an actual history of the backstop perhaps he should have read this.

Though perhaps this from EH also qualifies…

Because he’s from Sligo [RTÉ’s] Tommie Gorman covers Northern Ireland with no tribal baggage. As a result he’s trusted by both sides.

Celebrating the First Moon Landing at the National Print Museum March 23, 2019

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“To the Moon, Ireland’s response to man landing on the moon through print”

Curated by Dr Ciarán Swan.

General Information
General Admission: Free

A Letterpress Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

The National Print Museum is delighted to announce an exhibition of work by Year 2 BA [Hons] Illustration students of the National College of Art and Design.

The students are working with illustration Programme Leader Brendon Deacy and Jamie Murphy at Distillers Press to explore the fiftieth anniversary of man landing on the moon through the medium of letterpress. The students will create a limited-editioned folio of prints on the theme of ‘the moon’. From Syrian scrolls written in the Second Century AD through to poetry composed by contemporaries, ‘the moon’ has been an inspiration throughout cultural history. The students are responding to selected prose with a dynamic ‘interplay’ of typography and illustration.

Admission is free of charge.

National Print Museum
Beggars Bush Barracks
Haddington Road
Dublin 4, D04 E0C9

2001: A Space Odyssey in comic form March 23, 2019

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Thanks to Joe Mooney for bringing this to my attention, the Jack Kirby Marvel adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey, published in 1976. It sounds remarkable, something that was on the one hand closely linked to the film and novel and yet which too it in different directions entirely – not least in that it broke away from the original after some issues. As wiki notes:

In addition, the comic narrative captions describe the characters’ thoughts and feelings, a significantly different approach from that taken by the film.

Given how the film completely ignored such matters – offering a vision of the future where alienation from the technologies surrounding people, ahem, saw emotion largely absent, it’s not difficult to see how odd that would be.

This is particularly good showing how Kirby detached from the remarkably iconic design of the original – for example, the Pan American clipper which docks with Space Station Five is more like a then contemporary NASA shuttle than the sleek tail-fin-less craft from the film. That’s an odd decision to make, but the article accompanying it does make the point that Kirby was in a some respects attempting to pull the original into the super-hero comic format rather than presenting a clear adaptation. Given the importance of that iconography to the film to jettison it seems near inexplicable. Then one looks at the photo-collage panels Kirby created and perhaps the effort was to make the comic more rigorously realistic. But was that necessary, particularly in the mid-1970s?

This too has some great imagery.

Some great pieces here from Wired, the latter of which notes that Kubrick likely never saw the adaptation. Then again I have the impression Kubrick was fairly disinterested in his projects once completed.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… The Limiñanas March 23, 2019

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The Limiñanas – a French duo, Marie Limiñanas on drums and vocals, Lio Limiñanas on much else. Their first record out as recently as 2010 and now on their sixth LP (do we call them that any longer?), last years Shadow People. I have to admit to really liking them.

They’re a sort of mix and match of psychedelia, post-punk, motorik and well, possibly French pop and soundtracks (at least according to Allmusic). They also have a penchant for welcoming guest collaborators. Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre – natch, but perhaps slightly more surprisingly, or not given their sound, Peter Hook as well as Emmanuelle Seigner and Bertrand Belin, and all these on Shadow People alone (though Hook turned up on 2016’s Malamore).

It’s great stuff, by turns soft and intense, booming reverbed drums contrasting with 1960s pop arrangements, melodic organ runs with fuzz guitar and looping basslines.

Got to admit had I heard this last year it would be up there my top 20 of albums from 2018. Instant classic. Long may they continue.


Istanbul is Sleepy (feat. Anton Newcombe)


The Gift (feat. Peter Hook)


Dimanche (feat Bertrand Belin)


Pink Flamingos

By the way kudos to them for this live rendition of the Lords of the New Church’s Russian Roulette.

More on the CWI and Socialist Party March 22, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Quite an interesting piece in The Weekly Worker on the crisis in the CWI with particular reference to The Socialist Party here

As bad or worse – the Tory leadership contenders post-May. March 22, 2019

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Johnson, Raab, Rudd, Gove…

Poverty trap March 22, 2019

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One thing reading this account from a Canadian about how illness and unforeseen expenses pushed them into poverty and how the term ‘I’m broke’ is not the same as being poor, made me think yet again how crucial it is not just to have savings, but also long term access to additional resources.

I’ve previously likened it to the subscription effect – people often cannot afford a subscription because they don’t have the financial means at hand, which forces them to purchase individual copies of magazines which are, needless to say, more expensive cumulatively. That sort of hidden drain on resources impacts on those who do not or cannot have savings. And so many people cannot.

And as the piece notes, and this isn’t just applicable to Canada but to many many other places:

Let’s keep this conversation going until there are proper safety nets in place for when bad things happen and more people are pushed from broke to poor.

The fixes? The starting points are to get active, join a union, agitate, support those parties and individuals who support systemic approaches and aren’t willing to stop at the functional equivalent of plasters to systems that need to be replaced in whole or part.

12th April March 22, 2019

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The EU has handed Theresa May two weeks’ grace to devise an alternative Brexit plan if her deal falls next week after the prime minister failed to convince the bloc that she was capable of avoiding a no-deal Brexit.After a marathon late-night session of talks, the EU’s leaders ripped up May’s proposals and a new Brexit timeline was pushed on the prime minister to avoid the cliff-edge deadline of 29 March – next Friday.Under the deal agreed by May, Britain will now stay a member state until 12 April if the withdrawal agreement is rejected by MPs at the third time of asking.

Add to that some remarkable reports emanating from her address to EU leaders.

Earlier on Thursday, May had made an address to leaders described as “90 minutes of nothing”, by sources, during which she failed to persuade the bloc that she had a plan to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

But her appeal “dismally” failed to offer any answers as to what she would do if the deal was blocked by MPs again, sources said, provoking EU leaders into taking matters into their own hands and in effect taking control of her future.

“She didn’t even give clarity if she is organising a vote,” said one aide to a leader. “Asked three times what she would do if she lost the vote, she couldn’t say. It was awful. Dreadful. Evasive even by her standards.”

I’ve been critical – as recently as yesterday – of Fintan O’Toole’s articles in recent times which attempt to place Brexit in a sort of psychological context. It’s not that that is necessary incorrect, it just feels pointless. But he did have an excellent point at the weekend that this is a politician we should not feel sympathy for. She is – whatever about the broader constraints on her – an architect in no small way of her own problems.

These sort of performances only underline that reality.

Stockpiling ,Supply Chains and Brexit March 21, 2019

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Over the weekend we were on to some relatives in England, naturally Brexit was a topic of conversation. Whilst not filling the garage with tinned foods they said that they had stockpiled certain items just in case there was No Deal and even if there was a deal they weren’t sure what would happen. It was practical things like Toilet roll, tins of beans and other tinned foods, flour, sugar, candles, batteries, pasta and so on. The cousin admitted to preparing and freezing some dinners too just in case. They said most people they knew were making sure they had the basics covered just in case.
Anyone here stockpiling?

Another Brexit chat occurred with a few friends at the weekend some of who work for multinationals.
Both friends companies have been looking at their UK manufacturing operations, primarily at the supply chains for the various factories. Nobody had realised the extent of integration with Europe for these supply chains.
What has happened is this focus on Supply chains has led to multinationals having a closer look at their overall UK operations. Does the company need all the factories making a product in the UK. Could the Polish operation do it cheaper and so on. Whilst Nissan and other companies etc have hogged the news re Brexit related job losses ,even without Brexit happening there will be factory closures due to this attention given to UK operations.

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