In the last couple of weeks a surprising sight has materialised in the middle of Liverpool: a field of poppies, swathes of red flowers densely massed against a background of green. It’s a stunning sight, but also one that is, in this glorious summer overshadowed by the storm clouds of war in eastern Europe and the Middle … Continue reading Summer in the city: poppies and a sense of foreboding
Marine Le Pen’s Front National party came first in France The European election results reveal clearly that Europe is ill (to borrow the title of an essay by Perry Anderson in the current London Review of Books). The symptoms of this illness are obvious – but what are its causes? One prescient diagnosis can be found … Continue reading Europe is ill
Recently I went along to an exhibition at the Liverpool Nordic Centre of paintings by three local artists, exhibiting together as part of the Independent Biennial under the title Sea Scapes – Land Shapes. What drew me particularly was that one of the artists whose work was on display was a former work colleague, local writer … Continue reading Vikings on the Wirral
The siege of Sarejevo began on 5 April 1992 and lasted for nearly four years, until 29 February 1996. In that time nearly 12,000 civilians were killed or went missing in the city, including over 1,500 children. An additional 56,000 people were wounded, including nearly 15,000 children. The siege, by Bosnian Serb forces of the Republika Srpska, … Continue reading The Love of Books: A Sarajevo Story
Towards the end of The Four-Gated City, the final volume in Doris Lessing’s Children of Violence sequence, Martha Quest starts to collect newspaper cuttings that reveal what, to her, are signs of an impending apocalypse: local catastrophic occurrences – the poisoning of a country, or of an area; the death of part of the world; … Continue reading The state we’re in: journal entry 1,054
Recently, Neal Ascherson spoke about Europe and its history in a lecture for the London Review of Books at the British Museum. The full text is published in the current issue of the London Review of Books, and is also available, as text or podcast, on the LRB website. Ascherson called his lecture ‘Memories of … Continue reading Neal Ascherson on the idea of Europe: past and possible future
‘The dream is over’, wrote John Lennon in 1970 after the breakup of the Beatles, disillusioned with the band, the whole sixties scene, and belief systems generally. I’m having pretty much the same feelings at the moment about the European Union as the implications sink in of the acceptance of the EU/IMF austerity package by … Continue reading The dream is over: what kind of Europe is this?