White Queen: Theses on the Meaning of ‘The Queen’s Gambit’

I’m not going to recount the plot of the miniseries, as you can get that from Wikipedia or plenty of other places.  But: spoiler alerts. The Queens Gambit‘s  success has been enormous and I want to offer a few initial thoughts about it which may help explain this, as it has somehow reached a lot of people. The acting and ‘look’ of the lead -Anya Joy-Taylor – is clearly an important part of it. She even looks on occasion like some elegant chess piece come to life in a Lewis Carroll kind of way. The production values and the way the plot steers away from … Continue reading

Morbid Symptoms: COVID-19 And Pathologies In The Body Politic

by Chris Horner The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. —Gramsci Frontispiece to Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651) Does a crisis show us what we are ‘really like’? Whether it does or not, it has already been instructive to experience this one, in which our institutions are being stress tested, perhaps to destruction. As many have noted, COVID-19 is a political and economic crisis as well as a medical one. Its size and complexity can leave us groping around for the … Continue reading

The Safdie Brothers Are Saving Cinema

Before I saw Good Time, I feared for the future of cinema. Everywhere I looked there were posters for superhero blockbusters, predictable action movies and empty Hollywood comedies. Even great auteurs like Paul Thomas Anderson have slowed down. If you wanted great films, you’d better log into Netflix and watch Better Call Saul. It seemed like there was little hope of a revitalised film scene. Then I discovered the Safdie brothers. I was lucky enough to be recommended Good Time (2017) by a friend, who was attracted by its soundtrack composed by experimental musician Daniel Lopatin (a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never). This was just … Continue reading

Review: Planet Of The Humans

Extinction Rebellion - by Alexander Savin

Planet Of The Humans, or ‘POTH’ as some people are calling it, has really touched a nerve in the environmentalist movement. Not least because the documentary has serious flaws and makes some bold claims about renewables, while not really specifying a clear way forward. On the one hand, POTH presents a very depressing view of the green energy industry and the prospects for replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives like solar power. But, on the other hand, the film makes two positive claims it barely develops: 1) the world’s population growth rate is the real problem, and, 2) the population has … Continue reading

Ty Canol: Photo Essay

Ty Canol, in west Wales, is a prehistoric woodland, with living trees that are 800 years old. It’s full of lichen varieties and is mossy and very green, especially in late May, when I made my visit. There’s a nearby neolithic burial site (not pictured); it is sobering to think that the wood was there when the burial took place. The place has a special atmosphere that I’ve tried to capture.rock focus gaussain blur avenue trees ty canol 2 two tres layers blur Ty Canol 'underwater' Ty Canol pano orton tree flowers ok late tree Ty Canol Tree fave-2 Ty Canol Trees close up light Ty Canol Trees close up Ty Canol Trees into the woods brancjing eveywhere gaussian