If I had known how hard a 10 week trial on terror-related charges for a peaceful protest would be, I don’t know how I could have faced it. It was the support people offered from the most surprising places that got us through it.
I’m one of the Stansted 15 convicted, controversially, for a terror-related offence following a peaceful blockade of a Home Office deportation charter flight, for which we narrowly escaped prison sentences last Wednesday. We thought it might be an endurance test in the courtroom which would last as long as four weeks – but it turned out to be a gruelling 10-week ordeal that showed me just how scary it is to face the threat of state intervention into your life. … Read the rest
Fitzcarraldo Editions. You’ve seen their books about. The deep blue covers with the white text; just title and author. Or the cream white covers with blue text; just title and author. The same design for each release. Super collectable, in fact – some bookstores line them up all in a row on special shelves.
Fitzcarraldo entered the literary scene with a seismic earthquake, shaking up the slumbering ‘big’ publishers and showing them exactly what happens when you take serious risks. They threw their weight behind European fiction in translation, great works in English, and illuminating non-fiction releasing books such as Mathias Enard’s one sentence novel Zone, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Second Hand Time and Olga Tokarczuk’s international Man Booker award-winning Flights. Reading … Read the rest
Last year, I was obsessed with the internet. I spent months writing and thinking about online intimacy, a whole summer meeting nobody in person, relying simply on apps. Most of my romantic encounters took place online, many of them never crossing over to ‘real life’ at all; my phone was littered with names like ‘Richard Hinge’, ‘Simon Tinder’, ‘Sophie OkCupid’. Dutifully putting them in my phone on Friday nights, Sunday mornings, by Tuesday the conversation was dead: I had no idea who these people in my phonebook even were.
So it was a surprise to me, too, when I met someone at a party and we fell in love. There was no preamble, no holding each other at arm’s length, no weeks or months of online … Read the rest
One week every year, the tiny town of Appleby in Cumbria host the largest gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in Western Europe. Around 10,000 members of the travelling community pour into the Eden Valley to trade horses, party, gamble, meet friends, and even find love.
Increasingly, horses are being brought to the three-day fair for leisure rather than for trade, and the vast majority of visitors are there as part of a traditional family holiday. Hundreds of horses are seen being ridden around the town, washed in the river, groomed, and exercised (the best way of showing them off).
I’d known about the Appleby fair for years – it’s been around since 1775 – but last year was the first time I got to visit. It … Read the rest
Céphas Bansah works as a self-employed car mechanic in the German town of Ludwigshafen. But in his spare time, he oversees the development of his hometown – Hohoe, capital of Ghana’s Gbi Traditional Area – through WhatsApp and Skype.
“Being a king is not a profession, it is my life’s work,” says the 70-year-old. “My happiest moments are when I can help in Ghana through my efforts here in Germany.”
Technically, the Gbi Traditional Area is not a monarchy and the title Ngoryifia literally translates as ‘development chief’, an honorary position bestowed on people thought of as respectable and believed to be capable of helping an area.
For Bansah, that could be securing sources of clean drinking water, redeveloping prison infrastructure for women and young men … Read the rest
The first five minutes of this bang, and I maintained hope for it quite a long way in. But,no – I’m sorry to report that it’s a load of toot.
This is a boilerplate 90-minute action film centred around a bodyguard, but the twist is – gasp! – it’s only a bloody woman! That’s right folks, it’s that Flashdance opening sequence all over again: there’s a welder, welding away, being a man, as per usual, nothing to see here, until the welding mask comes off and – wait, what??? It can’t be… it is! It’s a WOMAN!
Spoiled poor little rich girl, Zoe (Sophie Nélisse) has just inherited her father’s phosphate mines and must hang out in a safe house in Morocco for a … Read the rest
In 1968, the Black Panther Party (BPP) stood 2,000 strong; armed not just with firearms, but a knowledge of the Constitution, state, and local laws. Initially organised to fight police brutality, the group quickly organised to institute community social programs. Leadership understood the power of the press and began working with writers, artists, and photographers to get the word out.
That year, Kathleen Cleaver met husband and wife photographers Pirkle Jones (1914-2009) and Ruth-Marion Baruch (1922-1997), and gave them unprecedented access to the inner circle of the BPP. Of the work they made, Baruch said: “We can only tell you: This is what we saw. This is what we felt. These are the people.”
The photographs – first printed in The Black Panther weekly newspaper – … Read the rest
Talking to Shelby Sells is like catching up with an old friend. Squirting hot sauce into an avocado, she spoons at it with manicured fingernails painted the same fiery shade as her Sriracha. “I’m gonna stalk your Instagram for beach pics!” she cackles, after learning that I’m calling from vacation.
Speaking over Skype from her cluttered New York flat, the 27-year-old is disarmingly open and animated. Every so often, she waves a green juice around to emphasise a point. It’s easy to see why Shelby Sells (her real name) has become Internet Famous for intimate interviews with people about sex and relationships: she’s a great talker, and an even better listener.
What’s harder to believe is that frank communication didn’t always come easily. Having grown … Read the rest
The NHS is the people’s property: it’s for the people, run by the people. Nowadays though it has become a political football (which isn’t the good type of football). Time is marching on and the Tories are dismantling things, and privatisation is very much at the fore.
The NHS is the best thing in Britain, to me it’s a place where you should be able to go for free no matter who you are. This must be saved – health should not be about how much money you have, or how important you are perceived to be. It’s about everyone being treated equally.
I doubt anyone in their right mind can say it’s perfect but, it has been mismanaged, underfunded and not been taken seriously … Read the rest