High-Rise is not so far from reality


The new film adaption of JG Ballard’s classic 1975 novel High-Rise has been a while coming. Much like the power-cuts that interrupt life in the novel’s namesake, various attempts to translate the book for cinema have been erratic, and ultimately failed. But with director Ben Wheatley’s effort garnering positive reviews and critical acclaim, perhaps it is useful to reconsider the story’s meaning. High-Rise tells the story of Robert Laing – a middle class doctor who moves into a complex of futuristic, luxury tower blocks just outside of London. The building where Laing lives is designed to provide everything its residents … Continue reading

Beyonce and the politics of cultural dominance


I confess, I am a culturally alienated, old, disconnected 1960s and ‘70s radical trying to live and struggle for revolutionary change in a world that might have passed me by, because I cannot for the life of me understand how Beyonce’s commodified caricature of black opposition was in any way progressive. Instead what I saw was the cultural power of neoliberal capitalism to co-opt opposition, monetize it and provide some mindless entertainment all at the same time. I didn’t see opposition; I saw the imagery and symbols of authentic black radicalism grotesquely transformed into a de-politicized spectacle by gyrating, light-skinned … Continue reading

What about the Schmoo?

The much missed GA Cohen on the Schmoo: I’m going to start with a story which was told by the American cartoonist Al Capp. The story is about a creature called the Schmoo. The Schmoo was 10 inches high, something like a pear in shape and a beautiful creamy white in colour, it had no arms, tiny feet and big whiskers under its nose. The Schmoo had only one desire, to serve the needs of human beings and it was well-equipped to do so. Its skin could be made into any kind of fabric. Its flesh was edible. Its dead … Continue reading