I am currently working on a series of lyric essays. Here are some that are available online or in print.
‘Ich bin einer,’ I say when my turn comes. I am one.
I’ve been here before, outside this colossal power station in Friedrichshain, just over the Spree in the old East, very near to where the Berlin Wall once stood. On previous occasions I queued with friends, the first time for three hours on a balmy Saturday night, which also happened to be the club’s birthday party. I got in just as the sun was coming up. The second time for forty minutes in midwinter, the temperature a bone-throbbing -11. Today I’m acting like a Berliner and doing it solo on an indifferent Sunday in April.
. . . Read the rest over at The White Review
‘The discount website promised a glossy five-star hotel with spa facilities, a view of the photogenic castle in the bay, and an inclusive ferry ride from Poole. This was in the days, not so long ago, when I was looking for things to do with my soon to be ex-girlfriend. We weren’t really suited, and it wasn’t really her fault, but nonetheless I was trying to make it work with the gesture of a romantic break in a place that might inspire our flagging romance.’
Day for Night is a multimedia exhibition inspired by the landscapes inhabited in the life and thought of Frankfurt School intellectual Walter Benjamin. Text, photography and film takes the viewer on a journey from the place of Benjamin’s birth in Berlin to Capri and Naples, where he spent formative episodes of his life. The exhibition ends in Cataluñya, northern Spain, where Benjamin died while fleeing the Nazis in 1940. It documents the lasting legacy of Benjamin’s work nearly 80 years after his death.
If you visit the exhibition you can pick up a limited edition free copy.
The (Dis)order of Things
‘I have often identified with Jamaica Kincaid’s question: ‘Why’ she asks, ‘must people insist that the garden is a place of rest and repose, a place to forget the cares of the world, a place in which to distance yourself from the painful responsibility that comes with being a human being?’ Why indeed? In her writing Kincaid reads the garden as a metaphor for colonisation, the way in which nature is owned, histories erased, plants moved and exploited around the globe, and she shows the way in which the formal culture of gardening is so bound with ideas of Empire. She saw, as Foucault did, that ‘the garden is the smallest parcel of the world, and then it is the totality of the world.’
Back of the Class
‘I am seventeen. I’m wearing a pastel pink outfit picked especially from Dorothy Perkins in Carmarthen. It doesn’t suit me, but I have no sense of what might suit me. I am wildly ambitious, but I don’t know how to realize this. I think this interview might somehow show me the way.’
Dinner with Martin Amis
Over at the Paris Review