I am a poet, critic, conversationalist, personal shopper, siren, and housemaid to the gods – at least they think they’re gods. So it said when this blog first opened in 2006. The little gods have grown up and are – as used to be said – beginning the world; the guinea pig died long ago, and I’m frankly too tired to be much of a siren; and yet Baroque in Hackney has a life of its own.
Taken from Baroque in Hackney
Vaclav Havel: Another hero disappears
You live with the common people
Schmalz overload in Westminster: three days to go
Ai Weiwei, Vladimir Tatlin, and the dream the speaks
The day after the job cuts
This is the week that is
”Audacious, bold, puissant and heroical”*
11022011: Egypt’s magic palindrome
Walk like an Egyptian, Dave…
A book at bedtime
The benefits of living in a digital, globalised society are enormous; so too are the dangers. The world has become a law enforcer’s nightmare and every criminal’s dream. We bank online, shop online, date, learn, work and live online. But have the institutions that keep us safe on the streets learned to protect us in the burgeoning digital world? Have we become complacent about our personal security – sharing our thoughts, beliefs and the details of our daily lives with anyone who cares to relieve us of them? In this fascinating and compelling book, Misha Glenny, author of the international bestseller McMafia, explores the three fundamental threats facing us in the 21st century: cyber crime, cyber warfare and cyber industrial espionage. Governments and the private sector are losing billions of dollars each year, fighting an ever-morphing, often invisible, often super-smart new breed of criminal: the hacker.* Glenny has travelled and trawled the world. And by exploring the rise and fall of the criminal website, DarkMarket, he has uncovered the most vivid, alarming and illuminating stories. Whether JiLsi or Matrix, Iceman, Master Splynter or Lord Cyric; whether Detective Sergeant Chris Dawson in Scunthorpe or Agent Keith Mularski in Pittsburgh, Glenny has tracked down and interviewed all the players – the criminals, the geeks, the police, the security experts and the victims – and he places everyone and everything in a rich brew of politics, economics and history. The result is simply unputdownable. DarkMarket is authoritative and completely engrossing. It’s a must-read for everyone who uses a computer: the essential crime book for our times.
Taken from Bodley Head
David James Smith writes for the Sunday Times Magazine for whom he has travelled around the world writing cover stories, investigative articles, reportage and profiles. He has also published a number of books, including ‘The Sleep of Reason’ (his definitive account of the James Bulger case), ‘One Morning in Sarajevo; and ‘Young Mandela’.
Taken from David James Smith’s website
Remember the fallen (£)
The secret life of a killer (£)
The secret torments of Galliano (£)
‘A marriage breaker? That just isn’t the Claudia I know’ (£)
Watching the detectives (£)
David James Smith on Twitter
Adventures in the Orgasmatron is the untold story of the dawn of the sexual revolution in America – an illuminating, startling, at times bizarre story of sex and science, ecstasy and repression. In the middle of the 20th century, the United States became an adoptive home for dozens of expatriated European thinkers, who saw this rich, young country ripe for sexual liberation. One of the most left-field of them was the Viennese psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, a disciple of Freud’s who had broken with the master. Reich’s own approach was based on his theories of the orgasm and sexual energy, which he dubbed ‘orgone energy’. Instead of the couch, he made use of a tall, slender construction of wood, metal, and steel wool, which he called the orgone box. A highly sexed man himself, Reich thought that a person who sat in the box could elevate their ‘orgastic potential’ ridding the body of repressive forces, improving sexual potency, and enhancing overall health. After World War Two, Reich’s theories caught on among writers and artists, the early adopters of the counter-culture. Norman Mailer and Saul Bellow were amongst those for whom the orgone box represented a yearned-for synthesis of sexual and political liberation, and of physical science and psychology. Meanwhile, Reich himself faced one debacle after another. Albert Einstein heard him out before rebuffing him. The FBI investigated him as a Communist sympathizer: it turned out that they were hunting the wrong man. The federal government banned the orgone box and tagged Reich as a fraud. There were claims of sexual misdeeds, and bouts of Reich’s own mental instability. This is the story of the blossoming of the 20th century’s sexual revolution, and the unshackling of a repressed society, and sex before science.
Taken from Fourth Estate
In the past decade Pakistan has become a country of immense importance to its region, the United States, and the world. With almost 200 million people, a 500,000-man army, nuclear weapons, and a large diaspora in Britain and North America, Pakistan is central to the hopes of jihadis and the fears of their enemies. Yet the greatest short-term threat to Pakistan is not Islamist insurgency as such, but the actions of the United States, and the greatest long-term threat is ecological change.
Anatol Lieven’s book is a magisterial investigation of this highly complex and often poorly understood country: its regions, ethnicities, competing religious traditions, varied social landscapes, deep political tensions, and historical patterns of violence; but also its surprising underlying stability, rooted in kinship, patronage, and the power of entrenched local elites. Engagingly written, combining history and profound analysis with reportage from Lieven’s extensive travels as a journalist and academic, Pakistan: A Hard Country is both utterly compelling and deeply revealing.
Taken from Public Affairs Books
One hundred and eight rounds of bullets. Fourteen dead. Fourteen wounded. Two sides to a story and a four-decade search for the truth…
It was meant to be a peaceful march. But on the afternoon of 30 January 1972 in the City of Derry a riot started, the army went in and firing began. ‘Bloody Sunday’ became a catalyst for three more decades of violence. In 1998 a new Inquiry was ordered. It took thirteen years. This book tells what happened when victims, soldiers, spies, politicians and paramilitaries finally appeared on the witness stand. It is about the search for truth, the hope of reconciliation and the people who still stand in its way.
Taken from Biteback Publishing
Camilla Cavendish is Associate Editor and columnist at The Times. She was campaigning journalist of the year 2009, and won the Paul Foot award, for exposing miscarriages of justice which convinced Government to open the family courts. A mother of three, she has been a McKinsey consultant, aid worker, and CEO of the trust which rebuilt London’s south bank.
Taken from The Times
Let’s all admit it: being a good parent is hard (£)
Nurse training has eroded the caring ethos (£)
Into the valley of death go our brilliant ideas (£)
Universities are hurtling towards a car crash (£)
Don’t ask me to pay for these ‘apprentices’ (£)
France defends farmers: we must save the City (£)
Camilla Cavendish on Journalisted
Camilla Cavendish on Twitter
The Jack of Kent blog is named after a fairly obscure medieval folklore hero who bested the Devil by looking at what was actually said. As such, it seemed a good name for a liberal and critical blog.
I started blogging in 2007 – my old site is here – and the Jack of Kent blog became popular for its detailed and accessible accounts of legal cases, most notably the libel claim brought against Simon Singh by the British Chiropractic Association.
My blogging at Jack of Kent and elsewhere went on to include exposing Johann Hari as “David Rose”, uncovering the email hacking by The Times of the “NightJack” blogger, publishing the WikiLeaks Non-Disclosure Agreement, publicising the “TwitterJokeTrial”, and coverage of the on-going phone hacking scandal.
I am now legal correspondent of the New Statesman and media correspondent of The Lawyer. I am a regular on the panel for the Without Prejudice legal podcasts and I am also founder and convenor of Westminster Skeptics.
I appeared as a witness before both the Leveson Inquiry and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Privacy Injunctions.
Taken from Jack of Kent’s new website
Who is David Rose?
Closing the doors at St Paul’s Cathedral
The £12m question: how WikiLeaks gags its own staff
My Trousers and Airport Security
Making an example of Edward Woollard
Reporting on a riot that didn’t happen
Arrested for filming a public council meeting
Why are we arming the British Transport Police?
The bizarre legal world of WikiLeaks
The conviction of Michael Thompson
Jack of Kent’s new website
David Allen Green blogs at the New Statesman
David Allen Green on Twitter
How is it that our favourite brands can import billions of pounds’ worth of goods from the developing world every year, and yet leave the people who produce them barely scraping a living? Is it that big business is incompatible with the eradication of poverty? And, if so, are charity and fair trade initiatives the only way forward?
In Unfair Trade Conor Woodman traces a range of products back to their source to uncover who precisely is benefitting and who is losing out. He goes diving with lobster fishermen in Nicaragua who are dying in their hundreds to keep the restaurant tables of the US well stocked. He ventures into war-torn Congo to find out what the developed world’s insatiable demand for tin means for local miners. And he risks falling foul of the authorities in Laos as he covertly visits the country’s burgeoning rubber plantations, established to supply Chinese factories that in turn supply the West with consumer goods. In the process, he tests accepted economic wisdom on the best way to create a fairer world – and suggests a simpler but potentially far more radical solution.
Taken from Random House
Established as one of the most influential political commentators in the country, Steve Richards became The Independent’s chief political commentator in 2000 having been political editor of the New Statesman. He presents GMTV’s flagship current affairs show The Sunday Programme and Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.
The man who should speak remains silent
Let the people decide. Unless we decide not to
Demanding Theresa May’s head on a plate solves nothing
The Sceptics’ rage over Europe is a proxy battle
Politicians are finally free from Murdoch’s tyranny
Can the big society work?
Steve Richards on Journalisted
Steve Richards on Twitter